Archive for review

Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978) Review

Posted in Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell with tags , , , on June 7, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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DEVIL DOG: HOUND OF HELL

*** Out of 5

Release Date- October 31st, 1978

Running Time- 95-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Stephen Karpf & Elinor Karpf

Director- Curtis Harrington

Starring- Richard Crenna, Yvette Mimieux, Ike Eisenman, Kim Richards, Victor Jory and R.G. Armstrong

Devil Dog is a really fun and silly made for TV movie that originally aired on Halloween night in 1978. I’ll admit to being a big fan of TV movies of the 70s and 80s and to a lesser degree the early to mid 90s. That goes for all genres and not just horror and while Devil Dog wouldn’t rate as one of the best the film does have this campy tone throughout despite being played straight. Surprisingly enough Devil Dog has a solid cast led by Richard Crenna and a bit part from Ken Kercheval best known as Cliff Barnes on Dallas (both original and continuation). If anything the only problem I have with TV films are they are often bogged down by TV conventions and production values and even some of the better ones can often have these very problems. Devil Dog again while not one of the best TV movies does have more of a theatrical look than TV and some of the flaws of the film have nothing to do with being a TV movie.

The whole concept to Devil Dog is quite absurd and the plot of the film is beyond silly; Satanists posses the body of a dog with satan and then breed the dog, which has satanic off springs. After the death of their dog, the Barry family adapts one of the puppies and soon the satanic dog begins to gain control over the family.

The screenplay by Stephen Karpf & Elinor Karpf is fairly entertaining as they take a silly concept, but yet never really play up to camp value. Characters are fairly decent actually and while the plot absurd it oddly enough works. I however learned a few things from this film; a devil dog will turn the children into sociopaths and the mother into the town slut. As entertaining as the script is the story wasn’t strong enough to fully carry the film and by the final act things get really sloppy and messy.

Director Curtis Harrington opts to play the film straight rather than go for camp value and with the absurd plot it does make for a really fun film. Pacing as fairly strong through most of the film and while Harrington attempts suspense and tension the devil dog is just too cute to ever take as a serious threat. German Shepard are big dogs and can do damage if they attack, but the dog was calm and non-aggressive and seeing how beautiful the dog is, Harrington really can’t entice much suspense. The highlight is when the dog is chasing after Betty (Mimieux) when she realizes something isn’t quite right with the dog, but the dog casually follows her non-aggressively and while this isn’t the fault of the director, but it does make for an unintentional funny scene, which this film is filled with. Also while the dog is following her it looks up and off screen probably to the trainer (what a bad actor that dog is lol). However as I mentioned about the script getting a but sloppy in the final act, the direction does as well. The final 30-minutes just seem to drag on and on; the fun factor found in the first half is gone and the film is very sluggish with some long scenes that bring about boredom. While tolerable it does hinder the film, but the first half Harrington delivers a fun paced and silly film and while some of the comedy may be unintentional I found the first half a total blast.

Overall The Devil Dog: Hound of Hell is a really fun film that’s highly entertaining, but does unravel in the final act. Despite that it can’t fully bring the film down and this again was just a lot of fun with an excellent cast. While not the best TV horror movie it is however one of my favorites.

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The Black Cat (1981) Review

Posted in Black Cat (1981) with tags , , , , on June 5, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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THE BLACK CAT

** Out of 5

Tagline- When You Hear This Cat Breathing Down Your Neck; Start Praying

Release Date- April 4th, 1981

Running Time- 92-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Biagio Proietti & Lucio Fulci (Edgar Allan Poe)

Director- Lucio Fulci

Starring- Patrick Magee, David Warbeck, Mimsy Farmer, Al Cliver and Dagmar Lassander

Released in 1981 The Black Cat is one of Fulci’s lesser known films and for those who have seen the film it stands out due to by this point of Fulci’s career he was a splatter director and this film has very little blood. When looking at some of Fulci’s films in the 70s there was some gore, but they weren’t gore films, but most weren’t getting much attention, though have since built up a cult following, but it all changed in 1979 with the release of Zombi 2. As I’ve stated in other reviews of Fulci films Zombi 2 is more than just a splatter movie as it has some great suspense and tension and a great eerie feel. The gore is outstanding and very deserving of the credit it gets, but I do feel people sometimes don’t give the film the respect it deserves. After Zombi 2, Fulci would make a string of gore films starting in 1980 and 1981 with such films as City of the Living Dead, Contraband, The Beyond and House by the Cemetery and after those films came The Black Cat, which was followed up with the New York Ripper another film with grisly gore F/X so seeing as how The Black Cat is mostly bloodless it’s sort of forgotten and those who have seen it aren’t overly fond of it.

When I first saw the Black Cat while I can’t say I loved the film I did however find it a decent watch and for the most part I enjoyed it, but revisiting the film it doesn’t really hold up for me and it gets off to a decent start, but as the film goes on it becomes a bit of a chore to sit through. This isn’t Fulci’s worst film, but it is a contender for bottom 5. Many people see Fulci as nothing more than a gore director, which is something I disagree with as Don’t Torture a Duckling, which in my opinion was his best film has very little gore, but for those who think Fulci can only direct an enjoyable film due to the gore F/X the Black Cat will do nothing to change that notion. Even if the Black Cat was the typical Fulci film of its time it wouldn’t make this film anything special since sure when it comes to his splatter flicks the gore F/X were the star and if you remove them I still think the films would be decent due to the eerie atmosphere, but if I’m being totally honest no they wouldn’t be as good, but my point is they have more than just splatter scenes going for them whereas the Black Cat has very little going for it and gore would have helped, but it would still be one of Fulci’s lesser efforts.

Inspector Gorley (Warbeck) and Jill Trevers an American photographer investigate a series of deaths in a small English village, which are seen as accidental deaths, but as the investigation continues a black cat is often lurking around during the deaths and suspicion soon falls on Robert Miles (Magee) who has the ability to communicate with the dead.

The screenplay written by Biagio Proietti & Lucio Fulci is based off the Edgar Allan Poe story, but like many other films that were based off the Black Cat have very little to do with the Poe story and one has to wonder why this film and others even bothered unless it was simply for marketing. The script by Proietti & Fulci is rather boring with a weak plot and bland characters and even the dubbing was quite bland, which makes the characters even more lifeless. I suppose the idea itself wasn’t so bad, but the execution was way off and in the end the script ends up a total bore.

As director Lucio Fulci fails at brining much to the film as the Black Cat is poorly paced and lacks any energy. Apparently, Fulci only did this film as a favor and I wouldn’t be shocked if it were true since this was kind of a lazy effort. While some of the problems can be placed on the script, but even in the scenes meant to entice suspense, Fulci pretty much fails at every turn. There is also some unintentional comedy and simply put the film is just s mess. Honestly this really doesn’t even feel like a Fulci film outside of the visual side of the film and the close up of the eyes grows tiresome and are mostly used at the wrong times. In some ways this film started the decline in Fulci’s career as after this things would only seem to get worse. I loved the New York Ripper, which came out the following year, but outside of that the bulk of his work was rather subpar with Murder Rock and Zombi 3 being tolerable and Cat in the Brain being the only worthwhile film he made post New York Ripper. As I stated this film features very little gore and the film carries an R-rating and the gore would be the standard R-rated picture of its time. The Black Cat would have been better suited if Fulci went the splatter route, but even than it might make the film more tolerable, but when all is said and done this would still be one of Fulci’s weaker films.

Another problem with the film was the score by Pino Donaggio, which while not bad doesn’t really fit with the film. Donaggio is a good composer, but some of his scores can be either poor or don’t really fit the film and this was one of those scores.

Despite having a solid cast including Fulci regulars Al Cliver, Daniela Doria as well as David Warbeck of the Beyond and Dagmar Lassander of House by the Cemetery and the cinematographer being Sergio Salvati who worked on several Fulci films including Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead and the Beyond just to name a few, the Black Cat is a rather poor film that’s often boring and lifeless. The film isn’t a complete waste as it does have some decent moments, but my advice is to skip this and go right to the New York Ripper instead.

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Final Exam (1981) Review

Posted in Final Exam with tags , , on May 17, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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FINAL EXAM

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Some Pass the Test… God Help the Rest!

Release Date- June 5th, 1981

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- R

Written & Directed By- Jimmy Huston

Starring- Cecile Bagdadi, Joel S. Rice, DeAnna Robbins, Sherry Willis-Burch, Timothy L. Raynor

Released in 1981 Final Exam despite the cult following its gained over the years is also a semi-forgotten movie and many of the reviews for the movie are sub-par. After the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th slasher films were quite the rage in the 80s and 1981 was one of the biggest years with Halloween 2, Friday the 13th Part 2, The Prowler, The Burning and My Bloody Valentine so its not difficult to understand why Final Exam isn’t more remembered. Quite honestly despite the poor reputation Final Exam has and its not without its flaws, but I think its better than its reputation and while this film may not reach the heights of the slasher films I mentioned I liked this one quite a bit and it may not be in my top 10 slasher flicks of the 80s, but to me its sort of the underdog slasher of the 80s.

The main influence on this movie was Halloween and Final Exam isn’t as scary or suspenseful as Halloween nor does it have the grisly gore F/X of the Prowler or the eerie atmosphere of My Bloody Valentine or the creative deaths like Friday the 13th. Final Exam may not have that fun factor many slasher films are known for and sure it doesn’t sound like there is much to this film, but it is a solid effort. I also think this movie stands out a bit as it doesn’t feature very much gore or nudity often featured in slasher films at the time of Final Exam’s release. During its original release and even now some cast the movie a side due to that, but what Final Exam tries to do is focus more on characters and give them a bit more to do than appear and be killed a few minutes after. The opening scene we have two deaths and than it takes until the 54-minute mark before we get another death and like the lack of gore and nudity that also is something that might turn off a lot of slasher fans. But I think all this works in the movies favor for the most part.

After the murder of two college students we shift to the nearby Lanier College as the students are talking final exams the murder shows up and sets his sights on the students of Lanier.

The screenplay by Jimmy Huston tries to avoid the pitfalls many slasher films often have and to a certain degree he manages to do that. The characters are sort of the typical that we often see in slasher films, but they also have a little more depth than we’re used to seeing. The first half of the movie does focus on the characters and while some viewers may find themselves bored with the lack of action I liked how Jimmy Huston wanted to make more of his characters and not simply have them their to add to the body count. Slasher films in general aren’t known for their characters and I suppose Final Exam isn’t all that different, but they do have a little more depth than the slasher films that dominated the 80s.

The script mixes in comedy and drama with students pulling pranks and the dramatic moments might be a little sappy in spots, but it also gives the film a little more depth than the bulk of the slasher films of the era and while this does work, but around the 30-minute mark the script does run out of steam due to the lack of plot. The 2nd half is when the action kicks in and the script becomes the standard stalk and slash screenplay of the 80s, but might work a little better due to the fact the characters are more established, well sort of works better. Overall the screenplay isn’t anything special, but I respect the fact Jimmy Huston wanted more focus on characters rather than faceless victims and while again the characters may not be all that different than we’ve seen in other films they do have a little more going for them.

As director Jimmy Huston delivers a well made movie that as stated avoids focusing on gore and nudity and shifts focus on the characters instead. While as I stated the first 30-minutes the film is entertaining, but it does begin to slow down and the pacing while never in my opinion bad can lag in spots though. After the opening murders we don’t get another one until the 54-minute mark, which will probably bore those looking for a body count film. If not for a few shots of the killer wandering the campus, which were clearly inspired by Halloween, its easy to forget you’re watching a slasher film since the first half plays out like I said more in tune with a comedy/drama.

The 2nd half is when the action kicks in and we get about 9 deaths in the final 30-minutes and while these scenes may lack the energy of other slasher flicks and the suspense and tension aren’t quite as strong as they could be, but since the characters are a bit more established it does help these scenes play out a little bit better than they would have if not for that. Final Exam may not be as suspenseful as other slasher films of the era, but again it does play out well and the final act with the killer chasing after Courtney (Bagdadi) plays out very well since the character is not only likable, but a little deeper than most final girls. Overall I think Jimmy Huston delivers an underrated movie with some decent suspense.

Some complained how the killer doesn’t wear a mask and there are several slasher films with a mask-less killer, but normally we don’t see their faces until the end like Friday the 13th and slashers like Maniac are quite different. We see mostly side shots of the killers face in Final Exam and when we do see his face its either a quick shot, hidden by shadow or something blocking his face. The final act we do see his face clearer and I think people complain because the killer here is modeled after Michael Myers and he’s the typical silent killer and normally they have a mask on. So it is a bit odd to see the silent killer and be able to see his face.

Another thing that draws mixed reaction is we never find out the killers name or motivation for why he’s killing people. I actually quite liked that; it does make it a bit more eerie since its so random. In one scene a character mentions a girl who killed herself because she wasn’t accepted into a sorority. Could that be a reason for the killings? Who knows and while I get why people disliked it, but the random nature of targeting anyone at least to me makes the film a little creepier and also standout from every other slasher flick. If anything I would say this is the Halloween connection again. Remember in the original Michael Myers has no motive other than being insane it wasn’t until the 2nd he has a reason.

At times while watching Final Exam you can see the influence it may have had on Kevin Williamson with Scream 2 and even a little on H20, which Kevin produced and did some uncredited rewrites.

Overall I enjoy Final Exam, but I clearly get why some find it boring; the suspense is decent, but not as strong as it could have been, it takes a while before the action kicks in and their zero gore. While sure it probably could have used a bit more gore, but when all is said and done I love how Jimmy Huston attempts at creating characters and not faceless victims and yeah the film is flawed and again I wouldn’t rate it in my top 10 slasher films of the 80s, but I very much enjoy this one.

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Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) Review

Posted in Strip Nude for Your Killer with tags , , , on May 13, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER

*** ½ Out of 5

Release Date- August 26th, 1975

Running Time- 98-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Massimo Felisatti

Director- Andrea Bianchi

Starring- Edwige Fenech, Niño Castelnuovo, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing, Amanda

Released in 1975 Strip Nude for Your Killer is one of the sleazier Giallos and was directed by Andrea Bianchi best known to horror fans for directing the so bad it’s good Burial Ground, which also had a good amount of sleaze. With Strip Nude for Your Killer, Bianchi focuses more on sleaze than suspense and what we get is a good film, but not without its shortcomings. I have zero problems with sex and nudity in film, but I do think too much focus was put on that and the film needed a better balance as when it does focus on suspense, Bianchi actually does a fairly good job.

The screenplay by Massimo Felisatti is your standard Giallo from the era only with more sleaze; characters are entertaining enough, but are also rather faceless and not very likable for the most part. The plot deals with a botched abortion, which leads to the death of a woman and its covered up to look like an accidental death; not long after somebody kills the doctor who made the mistake and begins to target workers at a model agency. The plot while not the strongest this genre has to offer is decent enough to carry the movie for the most part. The identity and motive for the killer is a bit out there, but also works in a weird way. Overall the script was good enough, but at times does lose direction, but there is enough going on to make up for an ok script.

Director Andrea Bianchi crafts a solid movie with some decent suspense, but a lot more effort was put into the sleaze than anything else. When Bianchi focuses on the suspense he’s actually able to put together some effective scenes, but for the most part they take a backseat to the sleazier elements of the plot. Besides this the only other film by Bianchi I’ve seen is Burial Ground, which for me is one of the ultimate so bad its good movies and as fun as the film was lets be honest it was a hack job, but with Strip Nude for Your Killer, Bianchi shows to have some talent behind the camera and while at times the pacing can be sluggish, but for the most part the film works with some decent suspense and a lot of sleaze so there really aren’t many dull moments. While I don’t mind the sleazy nature of the film at all I would have liked to have seen a little more put into the suspense and tension since when Bianchi does focus on that the film works very well. Besides some pacing issues around the final act, Bianchi delivers an entertaining semi-suspenseful and highly sleazy film that mostly works well.

What this film has going for it is some very beautiful women who more often than not are naked or wearing as little as possible. The stunning Edwige Fenech is always a joy to watch clothed or not.

Overall Strip Nude for Your Killer is a solid Giallo that while flawed has enough action and beautiful women on display to keep things interesting and while the film at times can be a little sloppy, but fans of Euro cinema should give this one a watch. This isn’t exactly Dario Argento, but its still a solid Giallo. Despite the title and even the back of the box nobody strips for the killer, but there is a creepy scene with a woman totally naked getting stalked and killed.

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My Soul to Take (2010) Review

Posted in My Soul to Take with tags , , on March 21, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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MY SOUL TO TAKE

** Out of 5

Tagline- Only One Has the Power to Save Their Souls

Release Date- October 8th, 2010

Running Time- 98-Minutes

Rating- R

Writer/Director- Wes Craven

Starring- Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Emily Meade, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Paulina Olszynski

My Soul to Take is the first movie written and directed by Wes Craven since 1994’s New Nightmare; since that movie Wes has either written or just directed so there was a lot of hype among horror fans surrounding the release of My Soul to Take, but based off fan reactions the movie didn’t really make an impact and many hail it as the worst movie of Wes Craven’s career. Craven is an interesting filmmaker and even back in the 80s he was hit or miss. It’s kind of odd how he could make such an amazing movie and follow it up with something rather poor. As a whole there are 7 movies by Wes Craven I love and I hold 5 of those movies in very high regard and if I were to take those 7 films by Craven I love I personally feel they are just as good if not better than any horror filmmaker’s top movies, but the problem with Wes is again he’s always been hit or miss and while other horror filmmakers have done poor flicks I find most of the top genre directors a little more consistent.

I went into My Soul to Take with very low expectations and the movie turned out even worse than I expected. Quite honestly this just might be the worst film Craven has made; The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (85) and Cursed were both poor flicks, but at the same time they were kinda fun at times as well, but there really isn’t anything positive I can say about My Soul to Take.

The screenplay by Wes Craven is poorly plotted, confusing with boring with lifeless characters and filled with idiotic dialogue. Certain elements of the movie kind of remind me of Shocker and A Nightmare on Elm Street and it’s never a good thing when you sort of rip off your own movies. The villain is silly and not scary in the least and as stated the characters were quite boring without a shred of depth. At the time of the release Wes Craven was 71-years old and it just seems he’s out of touch or maybe this was just a bad screenplay simple as that.

As director Wes Craven doesn’t fare any better here than with his script; his scenes lack any suspense or tension and the scenes with the Riverton Ripper are quite silly and idiotic; My Soul to Take comes 38-years after Wes Craven made his directorial debut with The Last House on the Left and it’s unfair to expect him to still be at the top of his game since as filmmakers get older they generally don’t get better and this is more common within the horror genre. But I really didn’t expect Craven to deliver such a sloppy and poor paced movie devoid of any suspense or tension. Each scene is just as forgettable as the last and worst of all the entire movie is rather boring and even when there is action as stated it’s silly and idiotic.

The performances range from ok to weak, but seeing as some of the dialogue was so horrible I’m not sure how much blame can be put on the cast. Emily Meade gives probably the strongest performance and makes a little more out of the character than the script had for her.

The negative reviews for My Soul to Take are legit and this just might be the worst film Craven has made. There really isn’t anything positive I can say about the movie. It’s boring and confusing and very sloppy. If I’m gonna be totally honest this is a contender for worst horror flick of 2010. I’m sure fans of Wes Craven will still wanna check this one out, but keep your expectations very low.

Kiss Me Killer (1977) Review

Posted in Kiss Me Killer with tags , , , on March 17, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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KISS ME KILLER

** Out of 5

Release Date- March 31st, 1977

Running Time- 99-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- David Khunne & Roland Marceignac

Director- Roland Marceignac (Jesus Franco)

Starring- Alberto Dalbés, Acosta, Alice Arno, Lina Romay

Released in 1977, Kiss Me Killer directed Jesus Franco under the name Roland Marceignac is a remake of one of his movies from the 60s and while Kiss Me Killer had potential to be a fun revenge themed crime/drama, Franco though just makes a mess of a film that’s boring visually and a bit confusing in execution. Drug kingpin Freddy Carter (Dalbés) is betrayed by members of his gang and left for dead. 2-years later, Freddy is back and out for revenge.

The screenplay by David Khunne & Roland Marceignac is poorly plotted despite an interesting idea. The characters are dull and boring and the script is just simply put a mess. Again the idea is interesting and with better writers this could have been something decent rather than the hack job it turned out to be.

As director, Jesus Franco or should I say Roland Marceignac delivers a sloppy and poorly paced film as well as a poorly shot film. The few action scenes are boring and lifeless the crime/drama part of the film is quite boring and there is no excitement to be found here at all with the story. Nothing here really works and its basically hack filmmaking. At 99-minutes the film is also way too long and it can be a chore to sit through. Kiss Me Killer like many of Franco’s other films is also a soft core porn and Franco leaves nothing to the imagination as he zooms in on and gets very close shots of a certain part of the female body. The sex scenes aren’t very erotic for the most part and are quite boring, but Lina Romay is so beautiful that the scenes are also very hot simply due to her. While some felt the soft core aspect of the film took away from the story I felt it added to the film as Franco fails at every turn with a boring and lifeless film and the sex scenes are about the only real thing of interest and again despite the sex scenes also being a hack job they work simply due to Lina Romay being total hotness.

Overall Kiss Me Killer is quite a boring and sloppy film and while I liked the idea behind the film, Jesus Franco simply doesn’t have the skill level to pull it off. I very much get the appeal of Franco’s films and there are some by him I do enjoy, but for the most part his films are quite poor (and not always in a good way) and Kiss Me Killer is just a bore of a film only really saved by the stunning Lina Romay. You’d be better off fast forwarding through the film and only watching her scenes. Franco fans might get something out of this, but for those who feel he’s hit or miss like I do will mostly be zoning out of this boring mess.

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Aenigma (1988) Review

Posted in Aenigma with tags , , , on March 12, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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AENIGMA

** Out of 5

Release Date- August 15th, 1988 (Italy)

Running Time- 85-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Lucio Fulci & Giorgio Mariuzzo

Director- Lucio Fulci

Starring- Lara Naszinsky, Jared Martin, Ulli Reinthaler, Milijana Zirojevic, Dusica Zegarac

In general it seems as most filmmakers get older they start to decline and that seems far more common in the horror genre and Lucio Fulci who was one of the best horror filmmakers had one of the biggest declines as his later work were more often than not a sloppy mess. Earlier in his career Lucio Fulci made some serious and smart films like Don’t Torture a Duckling and Seven Notes in Black and with those two movies Fulci proved he could make a film as good as if not better than any other horror filmmaker. But the problem was nobody was really seeing these movies; it wasn’t until 1979 with Zombi 2 that Fulci became a power player in the horror genre. And while Zombi 2 is noted for its gore F/X with good reason the movie like his earlier work is filled with suspense and tension and that is what most people overlook about Lucio Fulci. In his prime, Fulci made some eerie flicks that were suspense and tension filled, but again often either overlooked or people just mention the splatter F/X.

Once the 80s started Fulci was now a splatter director and his movies were often incoherent, but what they lacked in plot they made up for in gore F/X and thus the title of the Godfather of Gore was born. But to Fulci’s credit even his splatter flicks also had some decent suspense and often had a feel of eerie at atmosphere. Granted his splatter flicks weren’t as good as his earlier work as a whole, but finally Fulci was getting his due. But after the release of The New York Ripper, Fulci seemed to lose his edge. The decline started and it was a rather big drop off. I personally loved the New York Ripper, but some felt the decline started there. I personally rate that as one of his best, but in general it was all downhill from there.

To be totally honest anything after The New York Ripper I don’t really anything he made with the exception of Cat in the Brain, which was excellent and to a lesser degree I can tolerate Murder Rock and Zombi 3 due to the so bad its good vibe it has going for it at times. But even if I can tolerate Murder Rock and Zombi 3 even those were a far cry from films like Don’t Torture a Duckling and Zombi 2. Aenigma may not be the worst movie in Fulci’s career, but one can possibly make a case for it. About the only positive thing I can say about Aenigma is it does feel like a Fulci flick something a lot of his later flicks lacked. But even though it felt like a Fulci flick it wasn’t a very good one. Aenigma has often been compared to Suspiria and Carrie, but this movie never ever reaches the level of greatness as those two films.

The screenplay by Lucio Fulci & Giorgio Mariuzzo is rather terrible; granted Fulci’s splatter flicks often weren’t very well written, but yet they worked despite that. But the characters in Aenigma are the typical faceless victims who quite honestly are better off dead. They’re really annoying and totally unlikable. The plot is a total mess, while the idea isn’t a bad; a girl in a coma takes over the body of another to get revenge for the accident that left her in a coma. Problem is nothing is really explained and we get useless scene after useless scene.

As director Fulci doesn’t fare any better; each scene is poorly set up with zero suspense and no real sense of pacing. While Aenigma isn’t poorly made in general it is a sloppy film. The 80s was the splatter era for Fulci and with Aenigma he strayed from that. This movie features very little gore and this movie really needed that. While gore wouldn’t have made this movie great or anything at least it would provide something. By this time in Fulci’s career he clearly wasn’t the same filmmaker and it very much show here. Besides trying to channel his inner Argento & De Palma, Fulci tries to make this a little more Americanized and it fails miserably.

Like I stated earlier in my review Lucio Fulci really was a lot better of a filmmaker than he got credit for. Don’t Torture a Duckling is easily one of the greatest Giallos ever made and Seven Notes in Black also serves as an excellent Giallo. Some people see Fulci as nothing more than a hack who can only deliver a gore movie. I urge those who think that to give the two movies I mentioned a chance and you’ll see there’s a lot more to Fulci. I really can’t think of many good things to say about Aenigma; simply put this is just a poor movie. I’d only recommend this to the hardcore Fulci fans like myself and I’m willing to bet most won’t like it. Aenigma is made by a director far past his prime. There’s no gore and no suspense and tension. Skip this one and go back and view Fulci’s work in the 70s and early 80s, but if you must continue with his later work just skip everything after New York Ripper until you get to the highly enjoyable Cat in the Brain.

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