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Trauma: Comparison (Tartan vs. Anchor Bay) 
Written by: on October 29th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, March 12th, 1993
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, T.E.D. Klein
Cast: Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Piper Laurie, Frederic Forrest, Laura Johnson
DVD released: 2002 2005
Approximate running time: 102m02s 106m14s
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 non-Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo English
DVD Release: Tartan Anchor Bay
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK) Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: OOP $19.95

Tartan’s Region 0 DVD
Anchor Bay’s Region 1 DVD

Tartan’s Region 0 DVD/Playback Frame: 768×576
Anchor Bay’s Region 1 DVD/Playback Frame: 854×480

The Film :

A sadistic killer is on the loose in Minneapolis who likes to decapitate and collect its victim’s heads as trophies. Aura Petrescu is young woman who suffers from anorexia who is prevented from jumping off a bridge by David Parsons a news reporter and former addict himself who by chance happened to be driving by. They form a friendship and when Aura’s parents fall victim to head hunting killer David helps her uncover the truth behind their deaths.


The Tartan release presents Trauma in a letterboxed 2.35:1 that preserves the films original aspect ratio. This is about the only thing they get right with this release as the colors look muted and the overall image just lacks any consistency. The Anchor Bay release presents Trauma in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Despite being anamorphic the Anchor Bay release is only just a slight improvement over the Tartan release. The colors are stronger and details are crisper still there is some problems with ghosting/blurring due to Anchor Bay making this release interlaced instead of progressive scan.  Depending on your TV setup will depend on home more pronounced the problem may be.


Tartan’s release comes with only one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio sounds muffled as dialog drowns out the music and effects. Anchor Bay’s release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo mixes both in English. Overall the audio is a slight improvement over the Tartan release as the dialog, music and effects sound more evenly balanced.


Extras for the Tartan release include trailers for Trauma (full frame) & Phantom of the Opera, Filmographies, photo gallery, Asia Argento interview (text), Richard Stanley essay (text), Trauma at the BBFC (text) and Tartan Terror trailer reel. Extras for the Anchor Bay release include the film’s American Trailer, other Argento trailers, still gallery, Dario Argento Bio, deleted scenes, on set footage shot by Tom Savini, audio commentary with Alan Jones and a 19-minute featurette “Love, Death & Trauma”.


Even though the Anchor Bay release falls way short of what the company had original promised is the superior release despite its flaws and until someone releases a definitive edition of Trauma the Anchor Bay release is the most rounded release of the films to date.

Note: Even though the Anchor Bay DVD box art says that Trauma is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 it is actually presented in an aspect ratio of about 2.35:1

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