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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Aenigma aka "Ænigma" [Blu-ray]
(Lucio Fulci, 1987)
Review by Gary Tooze and Colin Zavitz
Theatrical: A.M. Trading International S.r.l.
Video:88 Films / Severin
Region: FREE (both) (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:29:12.347 / 1:29:17.435
Disc Size: 42,343,716,620 bytes / 32,592,983,006 bytes
Feature Size: 27,801,163,776 bytes / 24,032,636,928 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 30.01 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 12
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case / Black Blu-ray Case
Release date: March 13th, 2017 / August 25th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 / 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1775 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 1775 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz /
1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -27dB
• Aenigma: Fulci and the 80s - Feature length documentary looking at the twilight period of Lucio Fulci’s legendary career. Featuring interviews with Claudio Fragasso, Antonio Bido, Michele de Angelis, Massimo Antonello Geleng, Antonio Tentori (1:16:32)
Italian Opening and Closing Credits (6:50)
• Trailer (3:00)
Special Thanks (1:38)
• 4-page liner notes essay by Dr. Calum Waddell
Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, Author of “Splintered
Visions – Lucio Fulci & His Films” and Mondo-Digital’s
Description: "When a group of popular kids at St. Mary's College play a cruel prank on the unattractive school weirdo, Kathy, they leave the poor girl in a permanent coma. When beautiful new girl Eva (Lara Lamberti, A Blade in the Dark) arrives at the school she's given Kathy s old room and it isn t long before strange occurrences are afoot and bodies are piling up. Kathy has possessed Eva and is using her as a pawn in her quest for bloody revenge.
Lucio Fulci was always the low-rent cousin of Dario Argento and his works seem to go tattily where Argento had broken ground. Aenigma is fairly much a copy of Argento’s Suspiria (1977) – a near plotless film about a series of outlandish novelty deaths occurring in a girls’ boarding school. Fulci borrows the same set-up here and as rationalisation, this has been bizarrely married to the premise of Richard Franklin’s Patrick (1978) about a coma patient who psychically reaches out to exact revenge from a hospital bed. (Patrick is a film that seems to have had a following in Italy, which also produced Patrick Still Lives (1980), an unauthorised sequel).Excerpt from Moria located HERE
This latter Fulci film takes Stephen King’s design of Carrie and puts an Italian spin on things. Made just one year prior to the Fulci film Touch of Death, Aenigma showcases the downward spiral of Fulci as the bigwig maestro of the Italian Horror industry he once was. Though his filmmaking years prior to his death still provide some great movies such as the brutal horror black comedy Touch of Death, or even the gory A Cat in the Brain, one can only sit and watch the end of a horror legend through Aenigma. Notably a lesser horror effort from Fulci, can Aenigma still hold its own next to some of his more notable directorial projects?
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Aenigma gets a new transfer to Blu-ray from 88 Films, cited as "Restored in 2K From the Original Camera Negative". It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. It offers both the English and Italian versions - seamless (exact same transfer.) The 1080P supports blandish colors but decent detail, notable in the close-ups (plenty of eyeballs,) via the 1.66:1 frame. It's very clean but not particularly dynamic. This Blu-ray exports a consistent HD presentation although can look flat through most of the viewing.
Severin's new Region 'Free' Blu-ray of Lucio Fulci's curiosity "Aenigma" arrives in a one-disc package sporting a high bitrate on a dual-layered disc. This is described as "scanned in 4k from the original negative for the first time ever in America". When compared to the previous 88 Films release, Severin shows more in the 1.85:1 frame, typically opening up the sides of the image, with occasionally less info on the bottom of the frame. The widescreen compositions seem to have better symmetry and framing. Another significant boost is in the contrast, with much deeper blacks and a blue-leaning. Though some shadows now show somewhat less detail, the previous (88 films) image almost looks overlit (this is a horror film after all, hence my preference for the darker shadows). Colors seem to be slightly less yellow tinted, showing a wider range of blues, greens, and reds. Flesh tones become more natural losing the orange hues of the UK 1080P transfer. Severin is the clear winner here, though some may prefer the brighter 88 image finding the Severin saturated.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both English and Italian tracks on the Blu-ray of Aenigma offer uncompressed liner PCM transfers. The DUB'ing is obvious when utilized and the effects quite bold packing some surprising power now and then. The score is by Carlo Maria Cordio (Pieces), plus the annoying repetition of Douglas Meakin's inappropriate Head Over Heels (misspelled as "Head Over Meels") that, at least, sounds clean via the uncompressed. There are English subtitles for the Italian track and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE Blu-ray disc.
Severin replace the linear PCM English and Italian audio tracks, opting for 24-bit DTS-HD Master options. I don't notice too much of a difference here. There are English subtitles for the Italian track as well as SDH subtitles for the English version, which is a welcome addition to this Region 'Free' Blu-ray from Severin.
There is a significant bonus feature on 88 Films' Aenigma Blu-ray - the feature length, 2017, Italian (with English subtitles) documentary, directed by Eugenio Ercolani; Aenigma: Fulci and the 80s looking at the twilight period of Lucio Fulci’s legendary career. It features interviews with Claudio Fragasso, Antonio Bido, Michele de Angelis, Massimo Antonello Geleng, Antonio Tentori and others and fans will relish the varied content. There is also an original trailer and the Italian opening titles and closing credits.
Severin has loaded their Blu-ray release of Lucio Fulci's "Aenigma" with some desirable extras. First up is a screen specific audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of “Splintered Visions – Lucio Fulci & His Films” and Mondo-Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson. The two have a natural repartee, taking turns giving the film loads of contextual information, especially with regards to Fulci's career (his health was failing at the time) and other Italian genre cinema of the time. "Italian Aenigma: Appraising Late Day Fulci" is an almost 40-minute piece reflecting on director Fulci's late period work. This well produced video features interviews with Fulci regulars and horror/genre critics and authors. Notable appearances from Mikel J. Koven, Calum Waddell, John Martin, Kim Newman, Allan Bryce, Brett Halsey, Ottaviano Dell' Acqua, Antonio Tentori. "Writing Nightmares" is an interview with screenwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo. Mariuzzo discusses how he got into the business (almost on a whim) as well as working with the rather idiosyncratic Fulci. Also appearing on this new Severin Blu-ray are the film's English and Italian trailers, as well as the Italian Credits sequences.
88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray
While Fulci's "Aenigma" doesn't crack my top-5 Fulci titles, it is well worth a look for fans of the late director. His later work suffered due to his poor health (and certainly lack of funding) though I still have a soft spot for some of these bizarre features ("House of Clocks" being a particular favorite, though I realize this opinion is shared by very few). Severin's visuals certainly outshine the previous 88 Films disc in most respects, though oddly the 2 releases share different yet equally desirable extras. Worth the upgrade for Fulci completists, otherwise you could always just hang on to your old 88 Films Blu-ray disc.
March 28th, 2017
September 29th, 2020
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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