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Trauma (1978)

Review by: 
Enigma Rosso/Red Rings of Fear
Release Date: 
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Alberto Negrin
Fabio Testi
Ivan Desny
Bruno Alessandro
Bottom Line: 

A young girls body is found in a river. The victim is Angela Russo, a student at St Theresa’s private school, and a member of a group of young girls known as 'The Inseperables' .A medical examination of the body reveals that she has also been sexually assaulted before her death.
Inspector Johnny DiSalvo (the great Fabio Testi), is brought in on the case, and his abrasive style of detection soon begins to upset the teachers and pupils at the school.
The other members of The Inseparables soon begin to receive threatening letters from someone signing himself as "Nemesis", and mysterious accidents start to befall the young girls.
One is thrown from a horse after the horse has a dart fired at it, another falls down a flight of steps after tripping on some strategically placed marbles, and various other cast members are bumped off one by one.
DiSalvo meets an unlikely ally; the pre-teen daughter of Angela Russo, and together they slowly begin to piece together the reasons behind the murders. It turns out that the girls have been moonlighting for an organisation of rich businessmen, and have been attending various orgies in return for large amounts of cash and free clothing from a fashion shop owner.
At one of these orgies, one of the girls was assaulted with a huge dildo, and this event was the catalyst to the string of murders.....
Fans of Solange and What have they done to your Daughters will undoubtedly recognise the above storyline, and it will come as no surprise that Massimo Dallamano, the director of the above two films, had a hand in the screenplay of Trauma (aka; Red Rings of Fear). The stories are almost interchangeable, but this one slightly reduces the violent content while significantly upping the sleaze factor. Within the first ten minutes we see an extended locker room sequence full of naked Euro-totty teenagers taking a shower after their games lesson, and things continue in this vein for much of the film.
Fabio Testi, as Inspector Di Salvo, is absolutely superb in this film, from his dogged determination in tracking down the murderer (who I’m sure you will not guess the identity of), to his incandescent rage at the seeming indifference of the schools teachers who are more concerned about the reputation of the school than they are about the case being solved. At one stage he shouts at them, "One of your students was raped by someone with a dick this big and you’re not interested", and he then indicates with his hands a member that is apparently two foot long!!
Riz Ortolani (an accomplished Italian composer who most genre fans will always remember for his lush score for Cannibal Holocaust) provides a memorably sleazy soundtrack for this film, setting off the unpleasant proceedings nicely.
This is a much underrated film that gets short shrift from many genre fans who describe it as the weakest of the trilogy-not so in my book!!.Its far more of a giallo than "Daughters", has a virtually un-guessable murderer, doesnt stint on the sleazy sex and nudity, and has some really good performances from the main cast members(including young Nicoletta Elmi, who was in Deep Red and Demons amongst others)
The version under review is the USA release on the Wizard label, and is fullscreen. Highly recommended and not too difficult to track down, another semi-essential giallo for fans of the genre.

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