Plot: What’s it about?
It seems as though all schools have an outsider and at St. Mary’s, the outsider is Cathy (Milijana Zirojevic) and while he tries to fit in, it just never works. Her classmates always harass her and play cruel pranks on her, but their latest prank will prove to be the worst one ever. Cathy has a date with a popular boy from school, so she dresses up and puts on makeup, all the touches to look her best, as she really likes this guy. But as the two of them start to make out, she has no idea that several other cars are parked nearby, all of whom can hear what she’s saying as she’s being romanced. Once the truth is revealed, Cathy runs away and is chased by the cars, but when she runs through an intersection, she is run down by an oncoming vehicle. Now in a coma, Cathy is no longer subject to her classmates torture, but she is by no means done with them, as she wants some revenge in the worst way possible. Cathy might be in a coma, but her mind still has some powers and she uses them to settle the score with her former classmates, even taking over the mind of schoolmate Eva, in an effort to cause maximum chaos. But as she takes vengeance from her comatose state, will anyone be able to figure out the truth about the murders?
I am always pleased to see new additions to Image’s Euroshock Collection, especially when films by Lucio Fulci are involved. This is by no means his best or most popular work, but I am glad it has been given a release here, as Fulci fans will appreciate the chance to check it out. This is sort of Fulci does Carrie, as we have a story of a teen outsider who is always abused by her classmates, but soon decides to take some serious revenge. But this is no clone, it uses a fresh approach and includes lots of new twists, including some very cool death scenes, as we’d expect from Fulci. I really like Aenigma and I know a lot of people don’t, but as with most of Fulci’s films, this one is hit and miss with even horror fans. I was impressed by the visuals and atmosphere, which had the usual Fulci trademarks and that’s good news, since he is a master of the genre. The eerie atmosphere in some scenes is very well crafted and the usual penchant for close ups of eyes is present, as fans will have expected, no doubt. Aenigma has all the things we could want from a Fulci movie (visuals, atmosphere, gore) and it might not be his best effort, but fans will not want to miss this release. I am not surprised by Image’s lack of effort with this disc, but I think given Fulci’s high profile in the genre, they could have put together a better package than this.
I have to admit, I counted the days until this release, as I do for all Lucio Fulci releases, as I simply love his films. His name is well known in the horror circles, but his movies often divide even their ranks, with most of the people on the negative side. Fulci has a few gore laden flicks that win over the horror crowds, but most find his movies to be slow and incoherent, although I don’t feel that way in the least. I admit Fulci uses a slow pace at times, but that is to enhance atmosphere and tension, which in his hands, is usually an effective tool. In Aenigma, Fulci is able to include some very cool death sequences, but also a well made storyline and characters (as far as horror movies go), so both sides are well covered here. Other films directed by Fulci include Demonia, The New York Ripper, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, Zombie, and The Smuggler. The cast here includes Jared Martin (Westworld, The New Gladiators), Lara Naszinsky (A Blade in the Dark, Red Sonja), and Milijana Zirojevic (When Father Was Away on Business).
Video: How does it look?
Aenigma is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. As many of their Euroshock Collection titles have been given anamorphic treatments, I am unsure why this one has been overlooked, but it is a real shame. The image is watchable to be sure, but should have and could have been much better, had Image put a little more effort into the visual presentation. The print used has frequent defects and looks worn, but the problems are usually small ones, so I doubt anyone will be let down there. The image here is also on the soft side, which means colors are a shade muted and contrast is a little light, though nothing to be overly concerned about, by any means. This is probably the best edition of Aenigma we’ll see for a while and as such, I can’t recommend against it, but I wish Image had created an anamorphic transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is about as basic as you can get, but it seems up to the task, so I have no real complaints. The materials seem clean and have aged well, with minimal hiss and the elements never become thin, which is good news. The music sounds clear and well presented, while sound effects are in top form, as far as mono allows, that is. The dialogue sounds good on a technical basis, but the dubbed voice acting is laughable, to say the least. But once you focus and learn to overlook the bad voice performances, this track is more than sufficient.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials, not even a theatrical trailer.