What’s your favorite Fulci movie? Wait, there’s a difficulty. What’s your favorite Fulci movie that is not either Zombi 2 or a part of the unholy trilogy? Before I watched Aenigma for the first time today, I might have said that I didn’t really mind Sodoma’s Ghost all that much, or that at least The Psychic pretty much made sense. Or that anything has to be better than The Black Cat. But now, and I think you can see where this is going, I’d have to say Aenigma.
Looking like the test tube baby of Patrick and Carrie, Aenigma is the sad tale of Kathy (the chick up there on the poster who appears to have Coolio’s hairstyle), the girl everyone hates for undetermined reasons at St. Mary’s College. St. Mary’s is totally in Boston, and not Italy. Her classmates, who act more like middle school girls than college women, play an awful prank on her. Then she runs into traffic, gets hit by a car, and ends up in a coma. Then she possesses a new girl at school, Eva, and psychically kills a bunch of bitches.
I know they’re all gonna laugh at me for saying this, but the prank was really cruel, and all I could think when it happened was, “Poor baby.” I feel like my own horror movie education means that I need to teach my kid (who I don’t let watch this crap yet) that if the mean kids all of a sudden start being nice to you for no reason, don’t go anywhere with them, because you will end up embarrassed and have to kill a bunch of bitches! I might say that I don’t know how many more of these prank/revenge movies I can handle, but on the other hand, I was really looking forward to seeing the pranksters in Aenigma die horribly. And die horribly they do.
The thing that might hang people up with this one is that even Eva doesn’t kill people with her hands, so maybe it’s not clear why Kathy even needs to possess her. But once you see the over-the-top set pieces, you will understand why I’m defending this movie. A naked girl is killed by choking on hundreds of snails who make growling and slurping noises, for God’s sake! Snails which appeared in her bed earlier in the day, but disappeared when she went to get help, even! And the mirror image of the aerobics teacher, who helped with the prank, steps out of the mirror and strangles him while he’s posing and waiting for Eva to show up. You can’t ask for more than that.
So what is it about the rest of Fulci’s output that does not appeal to most people? I’ll grant that this one did not have the usual caliber of soundtrack music, and that Dardano Sacchetti’s name is missing from the writing credits. But other than that, the difference seems to be that Fulci’s only great when he’s taking on the end of all life as we know it, and less essential when dealing with just one murderer. What do you think?