RINGS OF FEAR (1978) Reviews and overview

 

‘No girl can ever feel safe…’

Rings of Fear is a 1978 Italian/German/Spanish giallo thriller directed by Alberto Negrin from a screenplay co-written with Marcello Coscia, Massimo Dallamano, Franco Ferrini, Stefano Ubezio and Peter Berling. The movie stars Fabio Testi, Christine Kaufmann, Ivan Desny and Jack Taylor. Italian title: Enigma rosso and also released as Red Rings of Fear and Trauma.

This was the third entry in a triptych of schoolgirl-themed giallo/krimi murder thrillers initiated by director Massimo Dallamano‘s What Have You Done to Solange? and What Have They Done to Your Daughters?

Plot:

When the brutally violated body of a teenage girl is found wrapped in plastic, Inspector Gianni Di Salvo (Fabio Testi) is drawn to dark deeds at an exclusive girls’ school where the attractive members of a group called the Inseparables are being targeted with sinister letters and murder attempts by a killer using the name ‘Nemesis’.

Following up a clue found in the dead girl’s diary, Di Salvo discovers that anyone could be harbouring deadly secrets as he untangles a web of sex and homicide…

Red Rings of Fear was released on Blu-ray on April 10, 2018, via Doppelgänger Releasing and Scorpion Releasing. It has been newly remastered in high-definition from the original negatives and is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Both the English and Italian (with English subtitles) audio tracks are on the disc, plus audio commentary by film critic and historian Nathaniel Thompson

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com

Reviews:

“As even Nathaniel Thompson seems to admit in his appealing commentary, you might be hard pressed to argue that Enigma Rosso is a defining giallo, or even that it’s much above average within the rather broad quality parameters of that genre. Still, it has some appealing elements, including a kind of slyly devious performance on the part of little Avelli as Emily.” Blu-ray.com

Enigma rosso features all the staples of the subgenre, from handsome camerawork to creative murders to lurid sleaze to a jazzy score by Riz Ortolani (Cannibal Holocaust, Don’t Torture a Duckling). The killer’s identity is implausible and their motive convoluted, neither of which is uncommon for the genre.” Broke Horror Fan

“It’s provocative, with a rough, sleazy quality that is more pronounced than other films of its ilk. It marks it as a film that isn’t the best example of the giallo genre, but certainly one of the more interesting entries…” Cinapse

“There may have been six writers contributing to this film, but the end result is lacking in depth or nuance to an alarming degree. Coming across as a hodgepodge of the two previous films in the trilogy, What Have… Solange and Your Daughters, this film combines sex rings and teenage abortions with motorcycling patsies and sprinkles them over the by-now-standard schoolgirl shagging shenanigans.” Giallo Reviews

“As a giallo it is especially successful, the central mystery unravels nicely and, for once, the denouement came as a real shock – and made perfect sense in retrospect. It echoes the classic gialli of the early 70’s – despite the fact that it looks a little old fashioned when compared to what was coming out of America at the time…” Hysteria Lives!

“This is a much-underrated film that gets short shrift from many genre fans who describe it as the weakest of the trilogy – not so in my book!! It’s far more of a giallo than Daughters, has a virtually unguessable murderer, doesn’t stint on the sleazy sex and nudity, and has some really good performances from the main cast members…” Horrorview

” …it’s better cast and acted than much of its ilk. Fabio Testi in particular brings considerably more gravitas and charisma than his lead role requires. It also features such novel turns as murder-by-marbles, interrogation-by-roller-coaster and a pretty kicking jazz score, but you’ll mostly remember the sleaze.” Ira Brooker

“It’s creepy and titillating and, as it never lets on to the double-crossing ways of young girls, manages its fair share of shocks and snares with which to hang its audience by.” Reel Reviews

“The plot meanders along aimlessly at points, the ending only leaves you with more questions. But still these Italian crime thrillers have a life all their own.” The Terror Trap

“A dire cheapo thriller which relies on confusion for suspense, schoolgirl nymphets for titillation, and Fabio Testi’s five o’clock shadow for a sense of adventure […] The denouement is just about discernible from the surrounding detail – abortions, arson, art forgeries – but hardly worth waiting for.” Time Out (London)

Main cast and characters:

Fabio Testi … Inspector Di Salvo – What Have You Done to Solange?

Christine Kaufmann … Christina

Ivan Desny … Inspector Roccaglio

Jack Taylor … Parravicino – Wax; Pieces; Female Vampire; et al

Helga Liné … Miss Russo – The Mummy’s Revenge; The Loreley’s GraspHorror ExpressNightmare CastleHorror aka The Blancheville Monster

Silvia Aguilar … Virginia Nardini – Night of the Werewolf

Taida Urruzola … Franca

Tony Isbert … Max van der Weyden

Fausta Avelli … Emily Russo

Albertina

Fabián Conde … Mr. Mandel

Brigitte Wagner … Virginia

Carmen Carro

Ricardo Merino … Paola’s Father

José Nodar

Tony Valento … M. Sataro

Cecilia Roth … Salesgirl

Release:

The 1979 British cinema release by Bordeaux Films International was censored by the BBFC (reduced to 80m, 26s). The movie was mutilated even further when re-issued on VHS in 1987 by Drumfire/In-House Movies as Virgin Terror (cut to 79m, 07s). The original 1983 British VHS releases by Video Shack and VFP (both titled Rings of Fear) were both uncut but in poor quality, pan and scan versions.

In the USA, the film was released as Trauma on VHS and DVD.

Image credits: CinapseGiallo Reviews

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