Jun 5, 2008


The films of Dario Argento are for the most part “hit” or “miss.” The “Italian Hitchcock” has been really missing over the past two decades with a series of flops and straight up shit (I.E. Do you Like Hitchcock?). Trauma (1993) is a film of Argento’s that doesn’t try to fit into any of the quality extremes of his films. This may be due to the fact that Trauma was the first film of Dario Argento’s to be produced in the United States. The “unevenness” of Trauma still does not categorize the film as another “passable” from the cinematically bipolar Dario Argento.

Trauma features a variety of head decapitations courtesy of special effects work by Tom Savini. These scenes of ultra violent (yet efficient) death echo back to the days of gruesome deaths found in Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977). I couldn’t help but think that the decapitations scenes in Trauma felt a little contrived and were an attempt by Argento to travel back to the time when he was in his cinematic prime. Nevertheless, the scenes of death are both surprising and “in your face.” Certainly enough graphic violence to keep the typical obsessed horror fiend happy.

One of the major themes and subplots of Trauma is young women dealing with eating disorders. Asia Argento’s character has a problem with bulimia. This is obvious from the get go of the film when she makes her way into a restaurant bathroom to expel her undigested food. Although eating disorders are serious problems facing young women, this whole commentary on bulimia in Trauma is quite out of place. It is if Dario Argento wants to tackle serious material but knows that he can only get a film made if it features some of his signature horror traits. Asia Argento’s half-sister Anna was supposedly the influence behind the bulimia commentary found in the film. At the end of Trauma, you can find her dancing to a black reggae group performing on a house porch. This scene is out of place unless you know the story behind it. Anna died in a scooter accident not long after the release of Trauma.

Is Trauma just one sick family home video?

Dario Argento no doubt exploited his daughter during the making of Trauma. I just don’t find it normal for a father to want to direct a topless scene of his young daughter. Asia Argento also looks very mentally out of it throughout Trauma. This is obviously pre-Scarlet Diva Asia and it is no surprise now why she has the problems that she does. I would not be surprised if Dario Argento also caused his daughter to turn anorexic during the making of Trauma. Her performance and physical appearance give off this impression.

In conclusion, if you’re a horror fan (and Dario and/or Asia Argento) Trauma is necessary viewing. Dario Argento may not be one of the most mentally sane guys, but he has no doubt made some masterpieces. Trauma is bizarre film made during a time when Dario Argento didn’t seem like he had much to offer in the way of being a filmmaker. Dario only knows what’s going on in his mind and Trauma gives evidence that its not too stable.

-Ty E

1 comment:

Lord of Filth said...

Argento is my favourite director, but this movie felt a little flat to me. I still enjoyed it to a degree, but he has made far better.

Great review