Director: Dario Argento
Brad Dourif/Dr. Lloyd
Puppy dog eyes, Aura (Asia) just escaped a mental clinic (she’s anorexic) and is about to commit suicide. She’s saved by dark tanned, hot hunk David (Rydell). He brings her to lunch but loses her when two men (with youth services) abduct her and bring her back home. At home Aura’s psychic mother does a séance, weird stuff happens and to make a long story short, both her parents get their heads sawed off (by a head sawing machine…neato…I want one). Yes a killer is running rampant collecting heads. Aura is eventually reunited with David, they fall in love and both of them try to figure out who the "headhunter" is, why is he killing the people he kills and what does he do with those damn heads!!!
This is classic Argento where nothing is what it seems. The audience thinks it sees something but it’s really something else. This movie is a fascinating puzzle with all the classic "Argento" elements present. Argento seems to be in tune with everything: nature, animals, children and of course violence. One new spice added in the Argento soup, which you don't see often in his films: a love story. The love aspect is very beautiful and even though its not fully explored, the chemistry between the actors makes it happen. Argento goes sentimental on this one, the lake scene where David jumps in and frantically searches for Aura is very poignant and puts Meryl Streep movies to shame…sniff sniff…. Backed by crazy shots, a good story, mystery that would baffle "Shaggy" and the charismatic Asia Argento, this film is a sure "Argento" bet.
There’s another version out there with 7 minutes extra footage and more gore. This tamer version was red enough to satisfy me but it’s less violent then the usual Argento gorefest. Beheadings, hammer hits on the head…the basics.
Asia Argento (Aura) gives a focused performance filled with grief and desperation. You want to reach into your TV set and take care of her. Very strong actress. Christopher Rydell (David) gives a sympathetic, pleasant show and you can’t help but like him. Piper Laurie (Adrianna) and Brad Dourif (Lloyd) are both seen briefly and both ham it up, in a positive way. Its fun watching Mr. Dourif go berserk, he’s so good at it…and that "Chucky" voice when he yells…I love it.
T & A
This blonde chick shows her goodies but pales next to Asia’s breasts…the word perfect comes to mind.
What do you think? This is "Argento" we’re talking about. It’s a bit tamer than his other films but we still get crazy shots, eerie blue, orange filters, fun steadycam work, a wonderful "trippy" sequence when Aura takes a hallucinogenic berry, well done shots where you see through the killers eyes, a beautiful lake scene with the moon reflecting in it and stay tuned for the end credits, David Lynch would be proud. Argento does overdo it with the "Dourif" scene, he makes a horrifying bit funny with an overdone shot but who cares, nobody does style like Argento. He’s an artist.
Some opera, a great score and the song that plays during the lake scene (Ruby Rain by Laura Evans) slapped a lump in my throat…It's so moving.
This is Argento’s most American production. It was filmed in the states (Minnesota) and has American actors (no dubbing here). Many film buffs say that it’s his weakest film and to that I say "va fan goul". This movie has a great script, wonderful performances and the production values are top notch. I actually think that this is one of Argento’s tighter films. Just because it’s less bloody and less flashy, that doesn’t mean it’s not as good as his wilder films. So Argento was on a chill vibe when he directed this one, a man’s got to relax sometimes. It’s a different Argento but it’s still Argento. Trauma is a great film, everybody’s wrong and I’m right…period…trust me.
The man responsible for the red stuff in this flick is none other than Tom Savini (did effects for Dawn Of The Dead, Maniac…), horror effect genius and all around great dude.