|Index||4 reviews in total|
***SPOILERS*** Very well thought out murder/mystery that covers some
six years from the time that Emmaline Garrison, Lorri Richards,
suffered through.This due to the trauma of seeing her Aunt Hellen, Lynn
Bari, murdered by having her forced down under to drown in her swimming
pool at the Garrison Estate by an unknown killer. Emmaline also had to
identify the body of her friend Lily earlier that evening, who was also
murdered, at the Oakmont County Morgue. This caused her to lose her
memory of not only what happened to her that terrible night but of her
life, fifteen years, up to the time that those events happened.
Now six years later Emmaline 21 and married to her Aunt Hellen's former lover Warren Clyner, John Conte, and after extensive treatment for the trauma that she suffered because of that incident is back at the Garrison Estate to start a new life, since she forgot her old one, as young Mrs. Clyner.
Despite it's many sub-plots and red herrings "Trauma" does not let it's viewers down and the movies ending more then ties all the loose ends together to make the very complicated story plausible. You even learn a bit about architecture in the film due to one of it's characters Craig Schoonover, David Garner, who's an architect himself. Craig spots an important clue, by comparing an old blueprint of the Garrison Estate to a recent painting of it by Emmaline to what was the reason for the murders there some six years ago. There's also a sub-plot about a major financial swindle by Emmaline's husband Warren and the real reason for him marrying her that in a way runs interference to what the reason is for the murder of Lily and Aunt Hellen. Saying as much as I can without giving away significant plot-lines and clues to the suspenseful and shocking ending to the movie thats well worth the 93 minutes of your time watching this solid suspense thriller.
Made two years after the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Psycho" I really think that "Trauma" is a much better movie even though it's almost totally unknown to the movie going public today as well as back in 1962 when it was released. Unlike in "Psycho" the movie didn't have to have at the end a more or less five minute monologue explaining to the audience about the reasons of what was happening in it, "Trauma" did a very good job in the last five minutes of it's story explaining, without the help of an inserted teacher-like commentary, what were the reasons for Lily's and Aunt Hellen's murders as well as what lead up to them.
Teenager Emmaline (Lorrie Richards) discovered the drowned body of her
aunt (Lynn Bari), and as an adult returns to the family mansion as a
married woman. Eventually, she falls for the caretaker's nephew, and
remembers who the real killer was.
This was Robert Young's only directing credit, as he was primarily a writer and worked on such films as "Escape to Witch Mountain" (1975). Was he an adequate director? I would say yes. This is a gem of a film.
There are aspects of this that sort of call to mind "Carnival of Souls" and even "Diabolique" to some degree. I might be overstepping the bounds by saying this is in the same league, but it definitely deserves more attention than it has received.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
TRAUMA (1962), a quite exquisite and scary Gothic thriller, is as good
as some claim; it is one of those almost secret jewels of the genre
cinema, a true lesson of craft. The main ingredients of the Gothic
(insanity, sexuality, architecture, family secrets) are intelligently
used in a shocker directed with good sense.
The sexual overtones will, I presume, win the audiences' hearts. And in a couple of scenes there's quite a lot of seethrough, which kind of places TRAUMA not so far from the genuine _sexploitation. Scary, sharp, intelligent, ably paced, played with grit and gusto, TRAUMA shows how a shocker made on a tiny budget can successfully avoid the ridiculousness and camp.
The few resemblances with Argento's TRAUMA are that both flicks are Gothic, both have a young woman in the lead, both, as the title promises, speak about psychic damage, both use some sexuality to conquer the viewers' hearts . All these resemblances derive naturally from the common subjectwhen you write about a trauma, it befits a shocker to make it a psychic trauma, hence make the traumatized a woman, young to seem both appealing and vulnerable, therefore conjure her sexuality, and all these describe pretty accurately the Gothic's gist.
On the other hand, the differences with a 18th century Gothic novel are obvious; in aesthetic terms now, the wellmade Gothic flicks, like TRAUMA, like DEMENTIA 13, seem a lot more commonsensical than the regular old Gothic novel with its exaggerations and brouhaha and useless accessories.
Historically speaking, the Gothic revival in the cinema doesn't prove the imperishable nature of the original, 18th19th centuries literary Gothic, but, on the contrary, the fact that everything unnecessary and superfluous and exaggerated was naturally discarded.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Severely limited by lack of budget, perhaps, accounts for a story with
very few thrills and a very odd kind of "hep-cat" music score that only
rarely appears and then usually to be distracting. It's basically a
super low budget modern day JANE ERYE. But there is just almost no
sense of danger to the film and though its ending isn't what you might
expect it doesn't really all work out after it's over and you look back
and the few things that really happened. The film is never stupid and
the performances are good--seems like the lead girl deserved to make
more films after this. But saying it isn't junk doesn't make it a jewel
and most of what happens feels like filler, well done filler all
considered, but when it's all said and done not much has really
happened. It's pretty plane that the murder victim at the start is
blinking right after death, but the rest of the film is gaff free but
excitement free too. The lead character is just never really in any
urgent danger so the mystery doesn't demand it get solved or ever feel
like it's building to something awful. Various scenes cutting away from
the girl's story to the architect's office deflate things more though
the mild comic relief does work and the characters are believable, but
so what when you know nothing threatening is anywhere nearby. There
aren't many suspense of violent set pieces and those aren't very well
done and end very quickly.
MILD SPOILERS BELOW
I mean only one person dies in the whole film and scenes with "the killer" come few and far between and about the most threatening thing the killer does is knock over a painting. They usually only show the killers hand but some of these scenes are almost comical. The whole structure of the film had you sure you know what's going on to the point of saying: "Oh come on let's get one with it." It does have a surprise in store at the end but that can't redeem the too too long a time trying to set you up for the ending.
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