Basically Carrie by way of Patrick, Lucio Fulci’s Aenigma is in no way as bad as late-career Fulci led me to believe. Despite taking influence from many better films (Argento’s Phenomena also come to mind), this story of a girl in a coma who possesses the new girl in town to get revenge on her bullying school mates is utterly bonkers and nonsensical – just how Fulci likes it – but is a lot of fun.
Containing a slew of striking imagery and dynamic shots (look at the way the camera recedes out of the ceiling of the hospital and into a grand aerial shot of the town before settling back down at the girls school), here we find Fulci flexing his muscles a little bit. With special effects and cinematography also credited to the director, his fingerprints are certainly all over this thing. As far as the batshit meter goes, the set pieces do not disappoint.
There’s a sleeping girl who suddenly finds her naked body covered with writhing snails that end up suffocating her as well as a painting that oozes blood onto another girl. The presence of posters featuring 80s heartthrobs leads to a lot of unintentional humour, such as one instance where a girl is driven to suicide by the spectre of the coma girl appearing in front of her Top Gun poster. Rarely has the image of Maverick giving the thumbs up been used to such distressing effect.
The whole thing is a load of old bobbins, naturally, but its blurring of logic with illogic lands with Fulcian gusto. There’s enough here to render it memorable at the very least.