Dario Argento, David Pash (executive), Andrea Tinnirello (executive) for ADC Films, Overseas FilmGroup
directed by Dario Argento
starring Asia Argento, Christopher Rydell, Piper Laurie, Frederic Forrest, Laura Hohnson, Dominique Serrand, James Russo, Ira Belgrade, Brad Dourif, Hope Alexander-Willis, Sharon Barr, Isabell O'Connor, Cory Garvin, Terry Perkins, Tony Saffold, Peter Moore, Lester Purry, David Chase, Jacqueline Kim, Rita Vassallo, Stephen D'Ambrose, Bonita Parsons, Gregory Beech, Kevin Dutcher, Kathy Quirk, E.A.Violet Boor, Les Exodus, Onesmo Kibira, Innocent Mafalingundi, Charles Petrus, Lance Pollonais, Fiore Argento, Ric McCloud
story by Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Gianni Romoli, screenplay by Dario Argento, T.E.D.Klein, additional dialogue by Ruth Jessup, music by Pino Donaggio, special makeup effects by Tom Savini
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Illustrator David (Christopher Rydell) saves young and anorexic Aura
(Asia Argento) from killing herself by juming off a bridge - and as a
thank you, she steals his money ... but she doesn't get far as two cops
pick her up and return her to her parents (Piper Laurie, Dominique
Serrand), who in turn want to send her to the Farraday Clinic she
escaped from - but not before holding a seance. The seance goes somehow
wrong though, and both Aura's parents are killed and she sees the killer
make off with their heads. Aura is taken in by the police for questioning,
but since the cops then want to hand her over to Doctor Judd (Frederic
Forrest) from the Farraday Clinic, she takes off, and since she knows
noone else in town, hooks up with David again - who soon falls for the
girl, much to the dismay of his girlfriend (Laura Johnson), who soon
enough calls the clinic to take her back again.
Since David knows there
just has to be something wrong with the clinic, he charges to the rescue -
and not a minute too early, since the killer of Aura's parents also pays
the clinic a visit and has started killing and beheading people.
and Aura now want to find out what's really going on, and in a photo they
find within the belongings of a killed nurse of the clinic, they find
pictures of all the victims of the killer so far and then some ... but
when they try to track down those on the photo still alive, they always
seem to come a heartbeat too late, and the (decapitated) bodies just start
piling up like nobody's business.
Ultimately, one night David finds
Doctor Judd leaning over Aura in her bed, and he manages to chase him off.
but during the getaway, Judd's car crashes and he dies - and in his trunk,
the severed heads of all the victims can be found - so the case is closed,
Almost, thing is, right then and there, Aura disappears, leaving
David nothing but a note that she has rejoined her mother - which he
interprets as a suicide note, even if her dead body is never found. But
eventually, David runs across Aura's mother who's still very much alive,
and who has actually comitted all the killings herself ... and it is not
long before she has David and Aura locked in a cage and prepares to kill
them as well - when a boy from the neighbourhood actually kills her with
the contraption she has used to decapitate her victims.
But why did she
You see, all of the woman's victims were somehow involved in her
son's death at birth who knows how many years back because of
experimenting with a new drug, and then they managed to cover it up, too -
and now she figured it was payback time.
Trauma is not a
bad movie as such, it's a visually accomplished murder
mystery/serialkiller movie (or giallo, if you may) that might leave
something to be desired plotwise but offers some graphic gore scenes (not
too many though) and quite a few suspense sequences, with Pino Donaggio's
music resembling Bernard Herrmann's scores for Hitchcock. At the same time
though, Trauma is not one of Dario Argento's better films, it by
and large lacks the outrageous setpieces Argento has become famous for,
its plot is just a little too contrived for an Argentop flick while at the
same time, it's not exciting enough, and Christopher Rydell is one of the
weakest leads he has ever worked with.
The one real sensation of Trauma
though is young Asia Argento playing the 16 year old anorexic (while being
hardly any older in real life at the time), who gives an amazingly mature
and compelling performance - and she is the one real reason to watch the
movie despite everything!