TRAUMA by Dario Argento

Graphic artist David Parson starts the day with a good deed by foiling Aura Petruscu’s suicide attempt. He notices that this vulnerable girl is tormented by a hidden fear of a very intense nature. Aura returns to her Romanian immigrant parents Adriana and Stefan, begging them not to send her back to the sanatorium where she was treated for anorexia. That night, during one of her séances for wealthy clients, Adriana declares in a trance that someone in the room is a murderer. She rushes out into the rain, followed by Stefan. Aura runs after them, … and stumbles upon their corpses! They have fallen victim to the maniac killer who terrorizes Minneapolis by decapitating his victims with a mechanical steel wire. Devastated, the poor child seeks out David, who in a fit of love decides to help her. They discover a photograph of all the killer’s victims, taken when they were all in the same hospital many years ago. The trail leads to Aura’s psychiatrist, Dr. Judd. In a bloody confrontation in which the heads of the victims roll in all directions, the bad guy gets killed. A happy ending… Or is it? Aura has disappeared. Will David find her? And was Dr. Judd really Hannibal the Cannibal’s demented nephew?

Last year we couldn’t screen it due to all sorts of problems between producers and distributors, but this year we finally got it. The Italian master of psychological horror, the man who is on direct dial with David Lynch, Tim Burton, David Cronenberg, and many others, is back at the festival. Dario Argento’s “Trauma” once again guarantees stylised manipulations of your emotions and fears via an omnipresent camera. Like “Two Evil Eyes,” this bizarre and visually brilliant murder story is set in the USA and is backed by an impressive cast. Besides Dario’s daughter Asia as the paranoid Aura, we find James Russo, Brad Dourif (as his usual crazy self), Frederick Forrest (“Apocalypse Now”) as Doctor Judd and Piper Laurie (“Carrie,” “Twin Peaks”) as Aura’s mother, Adriana.

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