Aenigma (1987)

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.