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Aenigma
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Aenigma More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Worth a look for Fulci fans, really....

7/10
Author: leathermusic from United States
13 November 2005

I am not surprised to see mostly negative reviews for Fulci's 1987 "Carrie" inspired "Aenigma". It does not stand up to his late 70's/early 80's gore epics that you all are familiar with. But wait, let's remember that Fulci is still visually inventive in 87, with lots of great camera moves and flair. The man knew how to tell a story, folks. He may have been a jerk to his colleagues, but what a great craftsman. He was trying to make a US style teenager quasi slasher popcorn movie here, a lighter less horrifying type of deal. I think it should also be said that this was well cast. The beautiful college girls each play their roles with unique personalities, something you won't find in most US films of this type. The geeky girl in the red dress is a hoot, and so is the famous snail scene. Best of all is the English new wave/pop sappy romance song that sets up the audience perfectly. It's an interesting and engaging story, even if it is clearly inspired by Carrie. And unlike so many other horror films, the ending is rewarding, logical AND suspenseful. I still haven't seen a Fulci film that I don't like, and this is no exception...check it out!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Screenplay by Stuart Hall

7/10
Author: Bezenby from United Kingdom
15 August 2014

At a school for wayward girls that would give any British/Australian TV presenter/entertainer from the seventies a stroke, a prank has gone way, way wrong. Cathy, the weirdo daughter of the weirdo cleaner, has been set up on a date with Fred, the gym instructor (more on him later). After being given a horrendous eighties make up job by her two 'friends', to the tune of horrendous eighties song that wouldn't be out of place on a Bowie album from the same era, she sets out with Fred, who puts the moves on her. What Cathy doesn't know is that everyone else at the school, and their boyfriends, are all listening in and shortly chase her around in their cars, causing her to be run over.

Now in a coma and because this is a Fulci film, we get to see Cathy's spirit float above a model town (with some leftover model buildings from The New Gladiators – I wonder if Fulci kept them in the same cupboard as Jared Martin, who stars in both films). She decides to possess the body of new pupil Eva, who's goal in life is to shag as many men as possible. There's about six other actresses playing pupils in this film but for the life of me I can't remember any of their names.

Eva's first port of call is Fred. Now, he's not in the film long, but he's worth a mention. Fred is the gym teacher for the school, and he loves to date the pupils, slap them on the arse, give them leg massages, tell the pupils that they're fat, and inadvertently cause them to get run over by cars. So Eva sets up a date with him but doesn't quite get there as his reflection comes to life and strangles him, as they tend to do.

Basically, Fulci at some point has watched both Carrie and Patrick and thought "Me too!" Cathy is now possessing Eva, and causing the deaths of all involved in her accident. At one point Eva throws a hissy fit which brings her to the attention of Doctor Jared Martin, who of course is also Cathy's doctor, and they hit it off.

So the rest of the film plays out like you'd expect, with those girls all meeting their demises in various surreal ways (death by snail, death by a statue coming to life in an art gallery after a picture comes to life and stabs itself, raining blood on one of the girls, a run of the mill falling out the window gag), until Eva's family show up suddenly and take her home, causing Jared to go out with yet another one of the girls. This doesn't make Cathy a happy camper.

What surprised me after watching Aenigma was how it wasn't a pile of crap at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it! Judging by how ill Fulci looks when he makes his usual cameo, I'm surprised he managed to make something that has an actual storyline (see Manhattan Baby for the opposite of this). Sure, it's your run of the mill late era Italian horror, but the snails, art gallery bit and completely original storyline if you haven't seen Patrick make it worth a watch. It's got all the visual trademark's of our Lucio, and looks pretty good in general. The fake heads look…faker than usual, but that seems to go with the low budgets. Seriously, see the fake head in Red Monks for a further example of the decline in fake head quality.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

All of them will experience the cruellest ,goryest, and most suffering death ever!

5/10
Author: mouni la marde (paolo clara) from Mtl - Canada
20 September 1999

In coma in the local hospital, Kathy is dying. Her spirit, seeking vengeance, reacts and takes possession of the body of a beautiful young student, Eva, new at the college. Then, begins a bloody crusade of revenge on all students that have made fun of her in the past. With the (in)famous Snail attack, that reminds a lot of "the beyond". I'd give this one 6 out of 10.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Ugly duckling becomes ravishing slayer.

6/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
6 December 2005

Judging by the amount of other user-comments and their content around here, this "Aenigma" (love the alternate spelling!) is a lesser known and thoroughly hated Lucio Fulci film. Well sure, it's not a patch on his earlier work but still it remains a remotely enjoyable bloodbath with some inventive killings (the snails!!) and an appealing cast of young & sexy schoolgirls. The story, although highly unoriginal, is easy to follow, unpretentious and fast-paced. Black sheep of Catholic girl's dorm Kathy is involved in a near-fatal car accident after a prank with the school's gym teacher. Shortly after, a new and extrovert girl makes her entry in the dorm but her mind seems controlled by the comatose Kathy. Through Eva Gordon, Kathy and her spiritual mother see a chance for revenge, starting with the death of the insufferable macho gym teacher. Fulci keeps the gore under control this time and focuses more on the brooding atmosphere. "Aenigma" features some beautiful camera-work, although admittedly, the same camera angles are often re-used several times. The girls' acting is extremely hammy and it's a good thing they all all look so cute, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult to struggle yourself through the movie. Nothing spectacular or special, but it certainly isn't terrible, neither.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Unique atmosphere.

7/10
Author: casso from Moscow, Russia
18 January 2000

I've seen several movies made by Fulci. And this one is the least terrifying and scary among the others I've watched. For me it was much more easier to watch "Aenigma" then, for example, "Black Cat" or "House by the Cemetery" (which are, of course, the must seen ones). Nevertheless it has everything a good horror movie should have. I really like it, especially the ending, which shows brilliant work of camera and music together. This movie is an example of Lucio Fulci remarkable capability generated from his very own vision of reality to create the unique mood and atmosphere.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Carrie from Boston.

7/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
25 January 2012

A young girl called Cathy has a prank played on her by the other students at the college she attends.In fleeing from her tormentors she is knocked down by a car and in hospital subsequently falls into a deep coma.Deep in her comatose state she finds that she is able to transcend her physical body and possesses at will a new student at the school Eva.It's time for supernatural revenge on people who tormented Cathy."Aenigma" is one of the lesser-known horror flicks made by Italian Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci.It has some creative and bizarre kill scenes including death by snails and gruesome decapitation via window.The plot of "Aenigma" rips-off "Suspiria","Carrie" and "Patrick" but the film is stylish and enjoyable.Still if you are into gore and over-the-top violence you may be a little disappointed with "Aenigma".7 pranks out of 10.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Bad hairdos and horrendous dialogue

4/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
16 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Italian gore-man Lucio Fulci directed his infamous quartet of zombie movies (ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS, THE BEYOND, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY), he got something right. Something clicked and these films became classics to the sweaty collector of video nasties, even if they were classics for all the wrong reasons, but of course there is always something irresistible about watching actors covered in flour eating people.

However, ever since then, Fulci churned out bad film after bad film, and the magic just wasn't there anymore. AENIGMA is one of Fulci's lesser items, a diabolical mixture of the then current slasher trend (something we now view with contempt) with some vague, insubstantial supernatural overtones. AENIGMA begins predictably, with a school prank going wrong (bringing to mind Cropsy's accidental burning in, er, THE BURNING), leaving a strange, bug-eyed girl in a coma. Forget CARRIE, this girl is seriously weird! Just her appearance is enough to send shivers down my spine. From the hospital bed she directs violence (think PATRICK) to those all around her, possessing a 'beautiful' girl and then murdering off the perpetrators of the prank one by one in a string of absurd death scenes. The plot also manages to drag in the setting of SUSPIRIA too, although the girl's school here lacks the atmospheric terror that filled Argento's movie. While Argento filled his school with frightening claustrophobia and nightmarish suspense, Fulci fills his with bad hairdos and horrendous dialogue.

Bookended by bad pop songs (although there is a small bit of nice organ music), full of incredibly cheesy clichéd dialogue of the "what a hunk" kind (all delivered straight-faced, and all the more funny for it) and a prime example of bad film-making - in one instance the screen goes black for more than five seconds in between different scenes, which gives you some idea of the general incompetence all round. The acting is uniformly bad, and nobody, nobody registers on the sympathy scale (always a bad sign, I mean there aren't even any animals to sympathise with here). The only amusing person is the 'retarded' cleaner who bears an uncanny similarity to Martha from THE BEYOND, although I'm sure that's only coincidental. One ageing bloke is apparently irresistible to the girls, once again distancing this film from reality as far as possible.

As usual with these kind of bad pictures, the variety of death scenes is the only reason worth watching this film for. Well, that is if you have to watch it, as it's an experience I wouldn't recommend unless you're a really big fan of horror films and you know what to expect with this one. A gym instructor is killed when his reflection comes out of the mirror in a startlingly original moment (although this brings back horrifying memories of the previous year's AEROBICIDE, and was actually done better in EVIL DEAD 2), while another bloke goes THE BOGEY MAN route of being decapitated by a window (a sight that always cracks me up - seeing an actor with his head stuck through a window, and then the next second a bouncing, rubbery thing which is supposed to be that same guy's bonce bouncing around outside!). A girl falls a short distance and apparently breaks her body, while a doctor has a dream about having sex with a young girl, and then being bitten and scratched to death by her in probably the most hard to stomach moment of the film (literally encapsulating the mix of sex and violence prevalent in the modern horror movie).

In another dream sequence, a girl finds her dorm full of decapitated corpses, while in the most artistic moment of the entire thing, a lost girl in a museum is strangled by a statue which comes to life. Before this, we see a priceless painting bleeding, and this moment is the one, true, creative image in the whole film. The standout death this time around though (obviously inspired by the spider attack in THE BEYOND) is death by snails, totally ludicrous of course, but definitely a first. A girl, asleep on her bed, is enveloped by the sticky slimy snails, and there is something deeply unpleasant with this attack, as it pushes much the same buttons as SQUIRM and SLUGS. Unfortunately, this is the one so-bad-it's-good moment in a mediocre, below average movie. If you want a good Fulci film then go for a zombie one - after all, at least he was liberal with those guys. And don't ask me what the hell the title means either - I have absolutely no idea!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Awful

1/10
Author: pasolini20 from France
24 April 2005

OH MY GOD !! ***************

Kathy is a poor Carrie-like who gets humiliated by her "friends" and had a car accident. Her spirit possessed a new schoolgirl and gets his revenge of the bad guys !

The first 10 minutes are hilarious (especially the song "Head over Meels"...with that "Dream come true...")... The rest of the film is like a TV movie, quite boring and absolutely not scary... Don't miss the appearance of the ghost on a Tom Cruise poster... Anyway, it's a great film to watch with friends, beer, pizzas...

The french dubbing sounds to be made very quickly, Kathy's voice sounds like a man !!!

love it...

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

If the snails crawled into her mouth, did they also crawl up her....?...

4/10
Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
4 February 2006

...ehr, nevermind, I guess I'm a sick puppy. And it seems that I like tormenting myself too, 'cause last night a strange urge encouraged me to re-watch AENIGMA. I first saw it 6 years ago, or so, and thought it was rather bad. And now, 6 years later, guess what? It's still bad. From the moment the opening credits come on you know it can't be good: very bad 80's pop music and a girl that's putting make-up which makes her look even more ugly. Anyway, the story isn't exactly original: Ugly girl gets to be the victim of a prank by fellow-students and ends up in a coma. But her soul roams free, occasionally possessing the new girl in school and killing all the ones involved in the accident.

Welcome to the 80's world of college-cuties: smoking in dorm-rooms with Sylvester Stallone & Tom Cruise-posters on the wall. The acting's really bad all the time and the sound editing's rather sloppy too. But the directing isn't really too bad. There are a few nice camera-moves and two fine top-shots of the school and the hospital (which do look like miniatures, by the way, but still nice). Are there any more reasons to watch this flick? Well, ehr... maybe: the death-by-snails-scene (kinda gross), the museum-sequence, a decapitation, and... a bizarre sex-scene in a dream with our leading-girl biting chunks out of the love-doctor.

But there isn't much gore actually, considering Lucio Fulci made this. The movie itself never gets really boring due to the deaths and frequently intercut freaky shots of the creepy girl in a coma, but the ending seemed like they just (literally) pulled the plug on this movie. It really hurts me a lot to flunk a Fulci-movie, 'cause I'm a fan of some of his movies. Can't bring myself to give AENIGMA less than 4 stars though, because it still feels like a Fulci-movie. If you're only an average horror-fan, you should avoid this movie 'cause this is for Fulci-fans only.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Ænigma

6/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
18 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Bizarre, corny, but reasonable entertaining Fulci rip on "Carrie" takes the premise one step further. The unfortunate victim of a college prank gone terribly wrong when those who humiliated her caused poor Kathy(Mijlijana Zirojevic)to walk out in front of a moving car, she lies brain-dead in Intensive care on life-support. But, even in these terrible conditions, the need for revenge drives Kathy's vengeful spirit to possess the host of nervous-breakdown beauty, Eva Gordon(the simply gorgeous Lara Naszinsky who I wished would never leave the screen she's so easy on the eyes)into eliminating those who caused her harm. When each murder is about to be set-up and executed, Kathy experiences violent emotion which bewilders Dr. Robert Anderson(Jared Martin, who many might remember from the short-lived, but great, "War of the Worlds" series)whose in charge of her care. Kathy should not be experiencing anything in her worsening state, so when she, all of a sudden, shows signs of aggression after such states of silence it doesn't make sense in a clinical way. Meanwhile, we come to understand that the methods used against each victim stems from their own dreams, with unusual results. The gym instructor's own reflection attacks(he's quite an egomaniac for whom Kathy adored and the major culprit in the dirty prank that went awry)him, one student is attacked by snails(!), one girl is attacked by a Greek statue(!), another girl can not escape a room where the vision of her boyfriend beheaded remains on the bed(she falls to her doom in a state of panic from the dormroom window), and Dr. Anderson himself experiences a grisly dream where his new lover, student Eva, chews chunks of flesh from his torso and mouth.

When Eva is sent away after too many violent temper tantrums and rebellious-type behavior(said to perhaps effect the other female students, in a negative was, that attend the St. Mary's Boston college), her lover Anderson starts a relationship with Jenny(Ulli Reinthaler). The doc sure loves the student body..yuk, yuk. So we see the wrath of Eva/Kathy, who escapes from her asylum home, as she confronts Jenny attempting to find Anderson's office. Will Jenny escape where others failed? While I'll be the first to admit that this flick makes little sense whatsoever, it sure has the same visual energy Fulci had a talent for expressing even with the hokiest of story-lines. The bizarre nature of the crimes against the victims is enough(..although most aren't that gory)to warrant at least one viewing. Good electronic score. Hilarious dated foot-note..you'll notice lots of posters featuring popular heroes and movies at that time(Tom Cruise/Top Gun poster, Sly Stallone/Rocky III poster, etc)in the 80's, I'm guessing Fulci added to give his Italian flick a more "American feel."

Kathy's mother, the maid of St. Mary's, seems to have a red glow in her eyes and she plays a heavy role in either stopping the carnage or letting it continue. Either way, she understands that her beloved daughter is on the rampage.

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