Rings of Fear (1978)

rings of fear poster 1978 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Solid giallo

Rather generic and cliche story

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Rings of Fear

Studio:   Daimo Cinematografica

Genre(s):   Mystery/Suspense/Horror

Release Date(s):   August 19, 1978 (Italy)

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

red rings of fear enigma rosso fabio testi

I will solve this crime…oh yes, I will solve it!!!

A murder has occurred at a girls’ school and the police must find the murderer of Angela Russo.  Inspector Johnny DiSalvo (Fabio Testi) has his suspicions and his target is a group of elite, popular students called the Inseparables.  When the Inseparables themselves begin to die, DiSalvo must find out who is killing the girls at St. Theresa’s.

Directed by Alberto Negrin, Rings of Fear (sometimes Red Rings of Fear) is an Italian-German-Spanish giallo film.  The film has multiple titles in addition to Rings of Fear including Trauma, Virgin Terror, Enigma, or Enigma Rosso.  The film loose ties to the film’s screenwriter Massimo Dallamano’s films What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974) that have similar plots which are sometimes known as the School Girls in Peril trilogy.

red rings of fear enigma rosso motorcycle scene

Danger lurks around every corner

You feel a bit dirty watching Rings of Fear.  It is frequently available in multi-packs and is in the public domain (I actually watched it as Trauma).  The movie does have a style and a look and it is always good to see giallo from directors other than Dario Argento who is the more popular giallo director in the United States.

Giallo movies have a strange sleeze factor, mixed with mystery, and wrapped in slasher horror.  Rings of Fear is no different in that sense.  You have an investigator who pulls no punches…kids and women aren’t treated any differently in questioning than a common criminal and dirty plot involving a sex ring in a girls’ school.  The killings and the deaths are kind of extreme and it does make it watchable for fans of horror.

red rings of fear enigma rosso roller coaster scene fabio testi

It is no fun to ride the coaster with you!

Fabio Testi is the leading force of the movie.  As the abrasive detective, he has a majority of the screen time and makes the most of it.  He is faced by a bunch of classic stock giallo characters that block his way through the truth, but he powers through them to the solution…no matter who gets in his way.

I like giallo visuals which are usually pretty grim and graphic.  The movie has some over-the-top deaths tied to the mystery of who is the killer.  It is pretty standard in the Italian horror looks and with so many cheap copies of the movie floating around, it is a bit hard to find a clean copy where you can see the visuals clearly.

Rings of Fear might not be the best giallo, but it is a decent entry in the genre.  There are so many tropes in the movie but the genre is made up of tropes in many ways.  For fans of giallo, it might be fun to watch a new movie, and the movie will probably hold the interest of someone who is a fan of horror.

Related Links:

What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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