Friday, February 15, 2013

Trauma (1978)

The other night I thought it was high time I dug into the VHS shelf and check out a title that I had not had a chance to watch. I tend to pick up titles and place them on the shelf with the good intention of watching the film as soon as I can. Well time escapes many times and the viewing winds up happening in the not so distant future. Among my VHS collection, my 50 titles on the Wizard label are by far my favorite. Many times I find that some of these titles are pretty good and live up the lurid artwork adoring the oversized box. Trauma (1978) happens to be one of them.

Fabio Testi = Badass
 Trauma (aka Virgin Killer aka Enigma Rosso) stars the great Fabio Testi, who starred in such great Italian films as What Have You Done To Solange (1972) and Lucio Fulci’s Contraband (1980), portrays no nonsense Inspector Gianni Di Salvo, who is investigating the rape and murder of a young girl, her body wrapped in plastic and dumped in the river. Di Salvo soon turns his attention to three friends of the dead girl who call themselves “The Inseparables”.  As Di Salvo digs deeper, the clues and suspects start to pop up and eventually lead him to a schoolgirl prostitution ring.

As is usual with these Italian Giallo films, the end results and storylines are a bit confusing but you can’t beat the stylized camerawork and 70’s Europop/Discoesque musical score (provided by Riz Ortolani no less!). You also can’t beat Fabio Testis’ acting and character. The man doesn’t beat around the bush when trying to get his point across during the investigation when he delivers the line “Somebody with a cock this big raped Angela Russo and threw her in the river!” Classic Italian scriptwriting that makes you shake your head in disbelief while also forcing you to give the writers credit for writing it!

Another stand out scene is with Di Salvo and Michael Parravicini (Jack Taylor) and a roller coaster. Parravicini is terrified of rollercoasters and Di Salvo uses that fear to force information out of him. After the harrowing experience which leaves Parravicini a sweaty mess, Di Salvo exits the car but forces Parravicini to stay and tells the operator he wants to go again! A wicked sense of humor portrayed by Di Salvo and delivered excellently by Testi. 
"This is for those horrible Franco films you starred in!"

Huzzah for shower scenes!

As with any Italian production there is no holding back on the nudity and sex. We are treated to a school girls shower scene and an orgy flashback sequence that reveals how Angela Russo was murdered. Is this the only reason to check the film out? Not by any means. If you are a fan of Giallo films by directors such as Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi or Sergio Martino, then you will certainly enjoy this film. Alberto Negrin does an outstanding job on this one and keeps you guessing all the way to the end.
I’m not sure if the version I watched was cut or not but I think it’s one of the longest US releases out there. The film can found under Trauma, Virgin Killer and Red Rings of Fear. Good luck finding this one!

"No really I don't have an uncut copy on DVD either....I swear!"


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