Folks, I’m a slave to the cut-out DVD bin. Any time there’s a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal in the used bin; you’re damned skippy I’m gonna take full advantage of it. Often times, I’ll get two really good movies out of there but will struggle to find that ever-elusive “Free” movie. But like most consumers in America, when I hear that word “Free”; I have to buy. It’s desperate times like these where I usually wind up picking the single worst solitary film in the whole bin.
Case in point is Trauma.
The reason I picked Trauma up was because it had a big ass eyeball on the box. None of the names in the cast sounded familiar but that prominent peeper dead center on the box sold me. I don’t know about you, but any time you see a horror DVD with a giant eyeball on the cover, it just screams “BUY ME!” Especially when it’s “Free”.
Before I go any further, I should tell you that this Trauma is not the Dario Argento flick from ’93. Nor is it that Colin Firth movie from the ‘00’s. It’s a black and white Psycho cash-in from 1962.
And it has no giant fucking eyeballs in it!
Emmaline lives in a big mansion with her elderly crippled socialite auntie. One night she sees a murderer drown her aunt in the swimming pool. That traumatic experience causes her to be stricken with an extreme case of amnesia.
Years later, Emmaline winds up marrying her aunt’s old boyfriend. Ew. He moves her back into her aunt’s old house, hoping that the location will jump start her memories. Naturally, this old skeezy geezer just wants poor little Emmaline’s money. He’s got to be the murderer… Right?
It’s fitting that Trauma is all about amnesia because after you watch it, you’ll immediately forget everything that happens in it.
You know, when a movie is good but slow-moving we politely call it “deliberately paced”. When it sucks and it’s slow-moving we disparagingly say its “dull as Hell”. Trauma falls into the latter category.
The thing is; the set-up of the film is rather well-done. The opening scenes, though talky, are moody and I really dug the Corman-esque title sequence that utilizes a lot of hand drawn sketches. And even though the plot was derivative (you’ll notice shades of The Screaming Skull as well as Dementia 13), it had potential.
Once Emmaline strikes up a friendship with the caretaker’s studly nephew; the flick spirals out of control. Then the film becomes nothing more but one long pointless repetitive dialogue scene after another. It’s here where Trauma takes a trip to Snoozeville. Population: This Movie.
If the long boring dialogue scenes don’t put you to sleep, just looking at the film will. The black and white print is washed out and fuzzy looking and makes the movie look like a Playhouse 90 episode from the 50’s. The DVD box says it was released in ’62, but it looks a helluva lot older than that. The flick runs an impossibly long 93 minutes, but even if it was say, 63 minutes, it still would’ve been too goddamned long.
Friends, this movie is the cinematic equivalent of being on the telephone with the cable company. It starts off with a lot of talk. Then it gets stuck on hold for what seems like an eternity. Then, everything gets wrapped up way too fast and after it’s all over, nothing is resolved and you question why you even bothered in the first place.
Trauma was the only film directing credit of Robert M. Young. After then, he went on to have a lengthy career as a television writer. He also had a hand… pardon the pun in writing The Crawling Hand too.
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