Trauma (1993) - Dario Argento




Director: Dario Argento
Producers: Dario Argento, Chris Beckman and David Pash
Writers: Dario Argento, Eibon Klein and Ruth Jessup
Starring: Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Piper Laurie and Frederic Forrest
Studio: ADC Films and Overseas FilmGroup
Release Date: 12 March 1993
Running time: 106 minutes
Countries: Italy and USA
Budget: $7 million


Trauma is a 1993 giallo film written and directed by Italian horror master, Dario Argento. He also served as a producer alongside Chris Beckman and David Pash. It stars Asia Argento, Christopher Rydell, Piper Laurie, and Brad Dourif. Interestingly, this is one of only two features that Argento had made in America. I had viewed the 106 minutes, 1993 VHS release copy. There is an uncut version online that looks much better.

Aura (Asia Argento) is a young anorexic European girl that had run away from a mental facility. She is found on a bridge by David (Christopher Rydell) and he offers to take he creepily asks to take her in. However, she is caught by two men and returned to the medical facility. This is all coinciding with a string of murders that start happening in and around the hospital. A black-gloved man that is killing people. Decapitating them with a special weapon. An automatic noose made with garrote wire.

This is a really well-made movie so late in Argento’s career. The violence is exploitive at times, but good. Tom Savini is behind the special effects. This would usually mean a lot of blood and guts, but it stays subdued. While it strives to be more of an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Argento stays true to his “black-gloved killer” motif. It’s still very suspenseful, but he cut a lot of creative killing scenes, including one of Savini himself getting decapitated.

Asia Argento does alright. She isn’t a natural actress or anything, but she can pull it off when her dad is behind the camera. She does a really good job of playing her part here. Christopher Rydell was an alright lead, but he was pretty bland. The writing didn’t work well with his character. Piper Laurie was a fun surprise. She was great in Twin Peaks and did well in her minimal role here. She is great with her voice. Brad Dourif does a good job too. It’s always fun to see him pop up in a random horror movie.

Trauma is a great movie for fans of noir mystery movies. It’s not a classic or anything, but it has some really good suspenseful moments. The plot is all-over-the-place, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s something you’re used to with Argento films. It’s jarring, meant to rattle and unnerve you. It succeeds. The strange and often incoherent story keeps you interested while at the same time, weirding you out.