Torso (1973) Poster

(1973)

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8/10
A great giallo film and definitely an influential work...
Nightman857 March 2006
With a title like 'Torso' one would expect this Italian horror film to either be very bloody or very lurid. In this case, it's both.

Murders at a Rome college forces a group of lady friends to retreat to an isolated house in the hills. But little do they know the killer has followed them...

While director Sergio Martino isn't Dario Argento or Mario Bava his direction in this film is pretty well done. He makes the most of a simple storyline with some lush filming locations, solid scenes of tight suspense, and an all-around attractive cast. Particularly great is the beautifully atmospheric stalking sequence with Carol in the woods, as well as the highly intense scene where Jane must hide from the killer while he dismembers one of her friends. This effort will be most entertaining to the exploitation fans, as the film has plenty of female nudity and the occasional bit of gore.

The cast is fairly decent, Suzy Kendall is the biggest stand-out though as a young woman trapped by the killer.

Over all a good horror effort that would later influence the slasher genre. Torso isn't for all tastes, but for the game giallo or slasher fan it's a great treat.

*** out of ****
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8/10
Fantastic giallo.
HumanoidOfFlesh2 October 2003
Sergio Martino's "Torso" is one of the most underrated giallos ever made.A series of sex murders shock a college campus,and four young beautiful girlfriends(Jane,Daniella,Ursula and Katia)head for the safety of an isolated country villa.Soon a mysterious black-gloved killer begins to kill them one by one."Torso" is filled with plenty of sleaze and graphic violence,so fans of Italian exploitation won't be disappointed.The murders are stylish and properly gory,and Martino has populated the film with several strikingly beautiful women,all of whom,with the exception of Suzy Kendall,take off their clothes.Martino managed to generate a fair amount of suspense,especially during the breathtaking climax as Jane and the masked murderer engage in a chilling contest of cat-and-mouse.The score by Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis is pretty effective too.A must-see for fans of Italian giallos!
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8/10
Very well made thriller
TdSmth511 January 2008
I was surprised at how well this movie was made. The direction is first rate. I saw a restored and "uncut" Danish DVD. It looked great. Although I'm not sure about the "uncut" part, as the are still images with full frontal nudity which do not appear in the movie. But there are plenty of attractive topless females. There's also plenty of violence and gore. But the story is good, too. Females are stalked by a violent psychopathic killer. They seek refuge in an isolated mansion. The police is on the trail of the killer. They story is well-written and shows the characters as having some intelligence. The only thing missing is more character development of the females. One doesn't sympathize much with any of them because we don't get to know them all that well. There's also a good explanation given for the killers motives. Overall a surprisingly good achievement.
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Not As Bad As Many People Think
eibon092 October 2000
I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale/Torso(1973) is an overlooked and stylish giallo that doesn't get any respect. A portion of the people who responded to the film with negative comments are probably the same who thought that the Scream trilogy were clever and good. Sergio Martino fills the screen with beautiful women, black glove assassain, good music, and outstanding murder set pieces. I wouldn't have like this film if the director had done an Argento copycat.

Although the video is said to be uncut, it still has the look of a movie with some scenes trimmed. One example is the first murder. Another example is the murder of the woman in the woods. What also gives the impression of a trimmed film are the sudden jump cuts in certain spots during the movie.

Suzy Kendall and Tina Aumont are stunning as the main female characters. The murder of Dani is a little shocking because the film teases the viewer with the idea that she will be the main heroine. Torso(1973) seems to be the main blue print for the plot of Prom Night(1980)(another film that deals with a person who kills because of something from the past). Torso(1973) would provide an influence on American slasher flicks including Friday the 13th(1980), Friday the 13th Part 2(1981), Halloween(1978), I Know What You Did Last Summer(1997), Maniac(1980), My Bloody Valentine(1981), and Scream 2(1997).

The opening scene is shot with some terrific camera angles. Torso(1973) is one of the top ten giallos of the 1970's. The combination of sex & violence in Torso(1973) is a prime example of the bread and butter of the genre. The scene where Suzy Kendall has to hide from the murderer is less on suspense and more on tension.

The murder scene in the woods is shot with an atmospheric touch. The musical score by the DeAngelis brothers is as good as anything by Goblin. The make up effects are above average. My favorite part are the final twenty minutes.

the story is well written by Ernesto Gastaldi who is also known for some memorable Italian flicks as The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock(Freda), The Whip and the Body(Bava), I am Sartana, Your Angel of Death(Carnimeo), and Sahara Cross(valerii). This is Martino's third terrific giallo right after The Blade of the Ripper(1970), and The Tail of the Scorpion(1971). The image and sound of the video are terrific. There are some elements from the giallo format that the teen slasher genre has yet to pick up.
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a great, very representative giallo
sinistre111128 September 2000
I'm not sure why some of the comments for this film were so unenthusiastic; I usually jump all over a slow horror film, though I don't believe this to be one at all. Anchor Bay's print is great, and the film is beautifully photographed. The scene in the muddy birch forest is alone worth the price of owning this. Sure, the standard giallo plot of a mad killer, driven to kill due to a childhood trauma is no surprise, but that's not really the point is it? This is also not a gorefest, but many great giallos are not. The very essence of giallo, as I understand it, is visual style (and extremely beautiful women) over plot substance, and that certainly defines this film, which sits comfortably in my Italian horror top 15, if not top 10.
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Excellent and very moody
floyd-273 February 2000
What more can I say? This is by far one of the best Slasher/Giallo's I've happened upon in years! Violent, atmospheric, stylish, moody and did I mention violent?

Yes violent is definitely the word, because this packs it on like hamburger joints pack in salad.... Tons! Slashings, stabbings, eye poking, strangulation, drowning, etc, etc, etc...

Don't listen to people whine about the only uncut version being Italian. I can assure you that once this bad boy starts playing, you won't care one bit!!!

"Bodies Bare Traces of Carnal Knowledge" gets a very BIG 10/10
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9/10
A slasher-giallo that is impressively tense and suspenseful
Red-Barracuda19 February 2012
Between 1971 and 1973 Sergio Martino directed a series of five astonishingly good horror-thrillers. In fact, it could convincingly be argued that in those years Martino was the premier Italian director in this genre. Torso is the final film in this sequence and while it may possibly be the least of the five it still remains an excellent entry in the giallo sub-genre. All five of his gialli had different angles that meant that they were not copies of each other. The Case of the Scorpion's Tail was a classic-style giallo that had a strong mystery element, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh added a significant layer of eroticism, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key added intense melodrama into the mix along with the plot of Edgar Allan Poe's the Black Cat, All the Colors of the Dark combined the giallo with an occult horror story; what Torso did was move the genre closer to the slasher film. To do this the movie is stripped of much of the detective mystery strand that typified the genre in the early 70's and instead focuses on the sex, violence and tension. Maybe by 1973 the Italian public were growing tired of the plethora of mystery-driven gialli? I can't say but Torso certainly marginalises this and magnifies the salacious content.

The story revolves around a group of young college women who are terrorised by an unknown black-gloved killer. The girls themselves are, of course, gorgeous. Most of them seem to spend quite a lot of time lying around semi-naked as well. So from an erotic point of view this is a film that doesn't exactly mess about. In terms of its violence it's probably not as nasty as its reputation suggests although there is the famous hack-saw sequence that is admittedly quite grim albeit not especially graphic. There are several individual stalk and slash scenes, the best of which is a sequence in the woods. This part is very atmospheric, helped also by the effective music. Its scenes like this one and the saw idea that make this one feel like a precursor to the slasher films that would follow a few years later. But the best thing about Torso is its final third. In this part lead actress Suzy Kendall is trapped in a villa with the killer at work in the same house but unaware of her presence. This extended, deadly game of cat and mouse is really expertly handled by Martino and is one of the most suspenseful sequences in the giallo genre. It is ultimately what defines this film.

Torso is yet another excellent giallo from Sergio Martino. It comes highly recommended to fans of the genre. Just be aware that it's less concerned with plot mechanics and much more on suspense and vicarious thrills. Because the final third is so claustrophobic and intense it means that the wider mystery is almost forgotten about. But if this doesn't trouble you too much and you are happy with thrills that don't trouble your brain too much then this is a quality ride.
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Creepy, somewhat slow-moving, yet still effective giallo
technicolorwasteland4 August 2002
I admire this piece of giallo cinema because of its great style and how director Sergio Martino contrasts the gorgeously beautiful Italian countryside with the bloody activities of a mysterious gloved killer. In this film, the killer is unique because he/she casts a very unique, eerie presence whenever hinted at or briefly shown onscreen, usually wearing some sort of ski mask to hide his/her face. I also like the plot revolving around the red and black scarf, and how it ties in with the identity of the murderer. The story follows a group of young, gorgeous Italian coeds frightened when their friends start dropping like flies at the hands of a brutal slasher, who likes to strangle, stab and fondle the nude bodies of his victims (another sick, effective touch which makes the film all the more nasty). Four of the girls flee to a villa in a small, scenic village to get away from all the atrocities committed on campus. Of course, the killer has followed them there and is set on killing them off one by one. This film is very perverted in ways, the killings are all sexually sadistic in nature, and the motive basically revolves around the dangerous sexual games played by the beautiful coeds. I can't say more without revealing clues which may give away the killer's identity. "Torso" is also loaded with female nudity, as the film starts right off with a wild orgy going on as the credits roll, complete with close up shots of naked breasts. There is also a slight lesbian subplot involving two of the girls, although we don't see anything that graphic at all. No male nudity is present, which is too bad, I was really waiting for one of my fav hot actors, John Richardson, to take something off, but no such luck. Again, this movie is creepily effective, well-acted, and has great photography, and even if you do find it slow-moving, keep with it, as the finale is probably the best part of the film as the heroine has to watch the killer carve up her friends, one of the most unnerving sequences I have ever seen captured on film. The music is pretty good for the most part, but at times it seems like music better suited to a porno flick. And another thing to mention is, the uncut version of this movie doesn't seem to have that much gore at all, I just figured it would since such a big deal was made about it being uncut with all the "grisly violence" finally restored. It still seems like you're watching the R-rated version. Oh, well. This is still a fun movie, especially for those who love Italian horror.
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7/10
Beautiful women save slasher flick
sean79 June 2000
In many ways this is a fairly average Italian slasher pic, but it stands out from the rest by having possibly the most beautiful women ever to have featured in this type of film.

The gore effects are extremely unconvincing, especially a pathetic eye gouging seen and a head being smashed against a wall by a car.

Apart from the poor effects there are a few atmospheric scenes, a nice soundtrack and the dubbing isn't as bad as it could be.

Overall it's a decent film and worth checking out if your into this sort of thing.

I viewed this film on the uncut/unrated DVD released by Anchor Bay.(nice picture, although a bit grainy in darker scenes)
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8/10
torso rises head and shoulders
movieman_kev15 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A killer is killing coeds and Jane (Suzy Kendall) gets stuck in a rented house with him in this VERY unjustly under-rated thriller giallo. The last third of the film when Suzy is trying to hide from the killer is worth the price of admission alone, not to say what comes before that isn't good as well. This Sergio Martino directed film could hang out with the films of Bava and Argento any day. A must for anyone who really loves the genre.

My Grade:B+

DVD Extras: International and American Trailers (one of the few times, i actually like the American trailer better)

Eye Candy: Patrizia Adiutori, Cristina Airoldi, Carla Brait, and Angela Covello all show much flesh
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7/10
A weak Martino is still a good movie
bensonmum211 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • Torso may not be the best giallo that Sergio Martino ever made, but I'll argue that it has some of the most intense moments found in any of his films. The last 30 minutes or so are as edge-of-your-seat, tension filled as you'll see. The movie kicks into high gear when Jane (Suzy Kendall) wakes-up only to find all of her friends slaughtered. But the nightmare doesn't end there. The killer is still in the house, taking his own sweet time to dismember the bodies. Jane hides just inches away from the killer. This is incredible stuff.


  • It's too bad the rest of the movie isn't as good as the finale. Sure, there are some nice scenes - the girl being stalked though the swamp - but these moments can't compare with Jane's plight at the end. The first two-thirds of the movie are reasonably entertaining, just not the best you'll see from Martino.
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6/10
Average Giallo
claudio_carvalho4 July 2015
In Perugia, a serial-killer is strangling college students. Inspector Martino (Luciano De Ambrosis) is in charge of the investigation and has a black and red scarf as the only lead to be followed. He asks the scarf street vendor Gianni Tomasso (Ernesto Colli) if he recalls who might have bought the scarf, but the man tells that he cannot remember. Then Gianni blackmails the killer and becomes his next victim.

Meanwhile the college students and girlfriends Jane (Suzy Kendall), Daniela (Tina Aumont), Katia (Angela Covello) and Ursula (Carla Brait) travel to an isolated villa to spend a couple of days together during a break from the art history classes of their professor Franz (John Richardson) that has befriended Jane. When Jane twists her ankle, Dr. Roberto (Luc Merenda) is summoned and asks her to rest. The student Stefano Vanzi (Roberto Bisacco) stalks Daniela since he is obsessed for her. Are the girls in danger in the villa? Who might be the killer?

"I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale", a.k.a. "Torso", is an average giallo. The story and the screenplay do not develop well the character and the conclusion with the serial-killer explaining his problems is very poor and disappointing. The hot team of actresses is the best in this movie, specially the gorgeous Suzy Kendall. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Torso"
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Stunning giallo - a gripping thriller
DVD_Connoisseur21 November 2006
"Torso" is a simply stunning giallo. Sergio Martino's movie has some genuine edge-of-the-seat moments, a very attractive female cast, a superb score by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis and beautiful cinematography.

While some of the special effects are a little on the poor side, the film succeeds in keeping the viewer enthralled in the plot and its strong points far outweigh any minor criticisms.

I really enjoyed this movie. It's not often that a film can keep me in suspense like this one did. Stylish, thrilling, erotic and gripping, "Torso" gives most other giallo films a real run for their money.
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7/10
Moody giallo thriller with atmosphere to burn
evildress19 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Torso" focuses on the student body at the University of Rome which is under siege by a masked sex maniac who is strangling young coeds. American-abroad Jane (Suzy Kendall) leaves with her friends to a cliffside manor located in a villa outside the city for the weekend, but unfortunately for her and her friends, the killer is on their trail.

While the plot to "Torso" is fairly substandard on paper, Sergio Martino's 1973 thriller is anything but. Although fairly "slow" by slasher standards, as a giallo film, it maintains a steady pace throughout, but the real fun begins when the girls arrive to the cliffside retreat. What could turn into a fairly by-the-numbers horror film at that point subverts expectations, resulting in a nail-biting finale with Jane hiding in the house while the killer resumes business as usual, limb by limb.

Giancarlo Ferrando's cinematography in the film is elegant at showcasing both the city life and countryside of Italy, but is even more effective in molding an ominous mood. The presentation of the ski-masked villain is particularly menacing, accentuated by wide shots that lend the film a certain sort of tension; amidst several wide shots showcasing the land and city, there is a sense that the killer could be lurking anywhere in the frames.

Throw in some above average acting (especially from Kendall), a bit of gratuitous nudity, some vicious murder scenes, and an unexpected ending, and you've got a pretty decent thriller here. The slowburn approach that the film takes may require some patience, but the atmosphere of the film and its third act really make it shine. Favorite scene? When the woman wandering in the woods is approached and murdered by the killer. The wide shot of him descending upon her among the misty trees is enough to make anyone's blood chill. 7/10.
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3/10
Bodies bare traces of carnal BOREDOM!!!
Maciste_Brother1 June 2001
Spoilers!

There's no point in giving Torso a sensible review. Torso is a hack of a movie, produced by famed producer Carlo Ponti only capitalize on the Giallo trend (gory, lurid Italian thrillers) of the 1970s, started mainly by the little gem of a movie, Bird With The Crystal Plumage, directed by Dario Argento. There's so little worth mentioning about Torso, the makers of the movie having failed to achieve anything they set out to do. The end result of Torso looks more like a big budget Herschell Gordon Lewis flick (with its inept acting, story, gore, nudity, etc) than a stylish work by Argento or even Luici Fulci. Unlike Argento movies, Torso is crass and worthless and is nothing more than cheap and boring producer's end product disguised as a giallo.

The "film" is a complete patchwork of nonsensical scenes strung together with the flimsy excuse to titillate, and it fails to do even that. For instance, during the opening credits, we see a threesome. What does this scene have to do with the rest of the story? We only learn about the meaning of that scene at the very end and if you blink, you'll miss the reason. In other words, it's completely trivial. The "story" starts with two murder scenes, which ends with three young folks being dead. Their mutual friends, 4 beautiful women, traumatized and shocked by these gruesome murders decide to go to a secluded villa, to drink, dance, sunbathe in the nude and have lesbian "sex"!!!!

Yep, that makes sense!

Funny enough, if the four babes wanted to go into hiding, as inconspicuously as possible from the killer, they totally failed as we see the women, dressed in next to nothing, attract the attention of EVERY men in the village, including the village idiot. Of course, with everyone in town knowing the girls are at the villa, the killer arrives there on the same day! As the girls enjoy their blissful rest at the villa, we are treated, amongst other things, to a "hot" lesbian scene that's witnessed by the village idiot AND the killer. With so many witnessing what goes on behind closed doors, who needs walls? The lesbian sex scene is hilarious. It's obvious the two women were very uncomfortable with the whole thing. Anyway, the killer goes after the terrified village idiot and kills him in the most unconvincing way. This scene is long and utterly pointless. So, that leaves the four hot babes at the mercy of the "psychosexual" killer! We should see tons of action with murder, mayhem, violence, more nudity, right? NAW!

Our heroine (played by a too old and bored looking Suzy Kendall) wakes up the next morning only to find all her friends butchered! What? You mean, we don't see how the three babes were killed? No protracted and gratuitous murder scenes? Eh, didn't we pay to see these type of scenes? Why did we get to see the village idiot killed and not the hot babes??? So, now our heroine is trapped in this piece of trash...eh, is unable to leave the secluded villa with the killer busy sawing the three babes into pieces (he's never done that to the other victims. This murderer has no pattern whatsoever). Wait a minute! You mean the killer doesn't know Kendall is the house? Huh? Eventually, the killer finally realizes Kendall is in the house and there's a cat & mouse bit and when the conclusion finally arrives, it is *truly* lame and the reason why the murderer is a "psychosexual" killer is unbelievably inane and laughable!

The only good things in this "film" are, first, the original title, "Bodies bare traces of carnal violence". Second, some of the music is good. And third, all the actors are really beautiful. Unless you really like Eurobabes, do not buy the DVD. It's a rental and you'll be glad you rented it.
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5/10
Beautiful women, atmospheric locations, and gruesome murders
barmstro16 April 2000
A stylish Italian slasher movie, filled with beautiful women (most of whom appear topless at one point or another), atmospheric sets, and reasonably gruesome murders. If that's all you're looking for, you won't be disappointed, but the plot is certainly nothing exceptional.
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6/10
'Yellow' slasher.
haildevilman29 June 2006
This was hyped to death as a slasher flick but it plays more as a murder mystery.

A couple of ladies spend time at a country mansion. A ski-masked creep with a large hacksaw starts killing. As far as plots go, that's it, and originality wasn't big for the writers. But in fairness, it wasn't as trite back then as it is now either.

Smoky atmosphere with some decent chase scenes. And the producers were clearly Argento fans. The scares were there, but not enough of them really. I'd say more, but I'd blow it.

This is a decent enough outing.
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6/10
Don't be ashamed, just watch it...
Robin-9711 September 2000
I don't think I'll ever be able to explain the appeal of Italian slasher/giallo films. I often enjoy the hell out of them, but it's safe to say that I don't have a prayer in hell of ever getting anyone I know to ever share my sentiments. Their negative reactions often stem from the bad acting, laughable writing and slow pacing that plague these works and the scary part is that I have a hard time disagreeing with any of their complaints. Sergio Martino's "Torso" is definitely a film for which all these negative detractors apply to, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't provide its fair share of entertainment.

It would be best to classify "Torso" as a middle-of-the-road entry in the popular slasher/giallo genre. It is certainly watchable, but is not particularly invigorating and pales in comparison to the best works of Dario Argento. While Argento's films were often plagued with more than their fair share of deficiencies when it came to script and pacing, the director had a gift for drawing one so deeply into his visual nightmares that any need to apply logic to the proceedings was non-existent. Films of this genre have to deliver truly startling sequences in order for the viewer to look past their shortcomings. While "Torso" does contain a few sequences like that (the last third's cat-and-mouse game between the heroine and the killer is especially effective), its pacing is too slack for it to be truly involving and certain elements of the film are just plain laughable. In particular, a flashback sequence to a traumatic childhood event makes for the silliest, most ludicrously funny explanation for a serial killer's behaviour that I have ever seen. But as I stated, hilarious moments like that can also be contributing factors to my enjoyment of these films. So when all is said and done, "Torso" is worthy viewing for fans of the Italian slasher genre. Enjoy it if you can, but do not worry too much if neither you nor anyone else you know understands why.
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9/10
Giallo Magnifico!!!
Coventry1 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Gorgeous girls and gruesome horror.... that's pretty much all this "Carnal Violence" has got to offer. But let this just be all I was expecting and hoping to see! Sergio Martino's milestone giallo is a prime example of everything this brilliant Italian horror sub genre represents and everything the fans adore so much. Truly beautiful girls (all with exhibitionist-tendencies!) attending a Roman college are stalked and brutally slain by a killer wearing an eerie mask and a red 'n black scarf. When a second girl is found horribly mutilated, the few remaining girls flee to a countryside villa to recover, but the malevolent butcher follows them. The plot is pretty much standard, there aren't as many twists here as in other gialli and Martino inserts a couple of authentic clichés (black gloves, broken dolls...) but there isn't a boring moment to detect anywhere! This movie is incredibly suspenseful from start to finish and the extremely violent images are somehow illustrated stylishly. Some of the make-up effects are quite staggering and especially the death of Carol (in the woods) impressed me enormously. The climax, in which the last remaining heroine desperately hides for the maniac, is amazingly compelling and it makes this movie a must for all giallo-fans. The score is breath-taking and the acting is far above average as far as I'm concerned. People that keep nagging about the supposedly "awful" dubbing should either stop watching European horror or learn Italian. The version of "Carnal Violence" I purchased was entirely dubbed in Spanish but I didn't allow this to bother me for one second. I was too occupied becoming one with the creepy atmosphere and the ravishing eye-candy. "Carnal Violence" absolutely, positively is a GREAT horror gem and it all the more proves that Sergio Martino is a shamefully underrated director. His horror movies are hard to come across, but oh so worth it!
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7/10
Welcome to the doll house.
morrison-dylan-fan15 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Despite having read a huge amount of praise for his work in the Giallo film sub-genre,I've found myself constantly putting director Sergio Martino's work to the bottom of my 'must watch' pile,due to having found his 1978 title The Mountain of the Cannonball God to be a rather disappointing film.With a poll for the best titles of 1973 being held on IMDb's Classic Film board,I felt that it was the best time to start afresh with Martino,and to take a look at his Giallo world for the first time.

The plot:

As a John and Florence Heinken start to get hot'n' heavy in a car,they spot a masked stranger staring at them.Chasing after the stranger in the woodland area,the stranger corners the couple,and kills both of them.

Thanks to Florence and John both of them being popular students at an arts university,reverberations from the attack are sent across the campus.Attempting to block the dangers from her mind,a visiting US arts student accepts an offer from leading tutor Franz to take her to an opening art exhibition.Sadly for Franz and Jane,their plans are left in tatters,when another student is discovered murdered,with a red scarf around her neck.

With a serial killer stalking the students,the police arrange a meeting,where they tell the students to be on the lookout for anyone who is wearing the same scarf that the killer left behind.Talking to her group of friends,Jane is left shaken,when one of them tells her that they can remember seeing someone wearing the scarf.Asking for advice from her tutor,Franz gives Jane and the gang keys to his villa,so that they can get away from all of the chaos taking place around them.Sadly,once they have reached the villa,Jane discovers that she is closer to getting a grip on the scarf than she ever could have desired.

View on the film:

For the screenplay of the film,co-writer/director Sergio Martino and Ernesto Gastaldi attempt to create a multi-threaded Giallo by giving an equal amount of focus to each of Jane's friends.Whilst this approach does allow for the fear that each of the characters have to be fully expressed,it also sadly causes the movie to never spend enough time on a particular character,which along with making each of the characters disappointingly interchangeable,it also leads to the mystery element feeling rather dry,due to none of the characters appearing to heavily invest in the unmasking of the stranger.

Whilst the screenplay sadly fails to build a strong sense of suspense,director Sergio Martino closely works with cinematography Giancarlo Ferrando to give this Giallo a fantastic supernatural atmosphere,thanks to Martino and Ferrando superbly using corner shots to build a feeling that the stranger could appear from thin air in the corner of a room. Emphasizing the supernatural vibes Guido and Maurizo De Angelis give the film a wonderfully creepy score,which shrieks as the killer gets close to a victim in Martino's terrific Gothic Horror villa.

Placed at the centre of the film,Suzy Kendall gives a fantastic performance as Jane,with Kendall brilliantly making the 30 minute near- silent final a truly nerve-wrecking experience,thanks to Kendall showing Jane having to plan each move she makes,as the mysterious scarf-wearing killer prepares to attack the next victim's torso.
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6/10
Above-average giallo shocker
Libretio7 February 2005
TORSO (I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Mono

Following the murder of several classmates by a frenzied sex-killer, a group of female students retire to an isolated villa until police have apprehended a viable suspect. But the maniac is wise to their deception, and he/she follows them...

This stylish, gripping giallo-thriller - the equal of anything directed by Dario Argento at the time - was co-written by veteran scribe Ernesto Gastaldi and director Sergio Martino, the latter a journeyman technician whose commercial ethos catapulted him from one genre to another within the dictates of Italian popular cinema (cf. THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH, THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS, SEX WITH A SMILE, etc.). Despite bland performances from an unremarkable cast - including Euro stalwarts Suzy Kendall (THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE), John Richardson (THE MASK OF Satan) and Luc Merenda (COSÌ SIA) - and some pretty obvious red herrings amongst the supporting players, TORSO is augmented by a number of beautifully crafted set-pieces - most notably the stalking of a young woman (Cristina Airoldi) - through desolate marshland by the masked maniac), photographed with stunning visual flair by Martino's regular DP Giancarlo Ferrando (THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL) and edited to perfection by Eugenio Alabiso (MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD).

The second half of the movie, during which Kendall becomes enmeshed in a nightmarish situation at a remote but picturesque country villa, is genuinely nerve-racking, staged with cat-and-mouse efficiency by Martino at his most inspired. Spiced with audience-pleasing elements of sex and violence which tested the limits of censorship in 1973, TORSO is a minor gem. Produced by Carlo Ponti, previously responsible for the likes of WAR AND PEACE (1956) and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)!

(English version)
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6/10
Cristina Airoldi looks delicious
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki24 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Hooded killer is slashing the young females at a college in Perugia, Italy. A group of friends go to a remote villa, only to be followed by the killer. One particularly brutal killing involves the scarf vendor being eliminated for possibly knowing the killer's identity. Another, involving Carol (Cristina Airoldi, the most gorgeous girl in this picture) stumbling off into a dark, wooded area, only to meet a violent end at the black-gloved hands of the killer, in my favourite scene in this movie. But, who is the killer?

Plenty of atmospherics, gorgeous girls, and violent bloodshed, but it is too slowly paced for me. After a good first third, I found myself bored with the second third of it, before it recovered a bit in its final third. But the ultimate fate of the killer was anticlimactic.
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6/10
Hunh? What?
baumer1 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
May be some small spoilers:

Although I believe that horror is each to his own, there are a few common characteristics that make a good horror film. Torso has a few of those elements but only some of the time. The rest of the piece is an incorrigible soft core porno film, yet when I was intrigued with the film, I was enamoured with it. This is one horror flick that had me feeling tense in many parts and for that I have to give it credit. It is unfortunate that most of the brilliance was bunched into one thrilling 20 or 30 minute scene, but better to have 20 or 30 minutes of intriguing terror than 88 minutes of sheer acrimony. (When you use the word acrimony in a review about a horror film, then not much else can be said to try and make the film sound better than it really is. And although I am not saying that I was acrimonious <or apathetic for that matter> towards this film, I am saying that there were many areas that could have been improved upon). This didn't look like it had a very grandiose budget, in fact it looked as though the producers spent parsimoniously when you take into account the lack of certain necessities like lighting, but you can have a small budget and still have an effective horror film--see Texas Chainsaw Massacre for example.

Torso begins with the murder of some college students. Many of the murders in this film are beautiful women and many of the stars are sinfully, perfect, nubile vixens that seem starved for some licentious saturnalia, seeing as all they seem to do is either sunbathe in the nude, have lesbian sex, flash their assets to the local men and run around like women in the Spanish film, When The Screaming Stops. In short, this is a typical Italian 70's style horror film. In fact, for the most part of the early going in the film, I was actually quite disappointed with the film's vacuous attempt to entertain us with scantily clad women. Although nice to look at, it did little to enhance the film. And not only that but the film did seem a slight bit abstruse at times. There were characters that came and went and sometimes they looked like each other and then other times, certain people just disappeared from the film completely. Perhaps this was done to confuse us and send us looking for the red herring, but it just confused and annoyed me more than anything.

What is good however, is the directing. The story may have been the weakest link of the film but the direction was quite well done. Sergio Martino may be an early pioneer to the slasher genre and perhaps Polanski and Carpenter and Craven really did get some of their ideas and inspiration from some of his work. There are three scenes in the film that really had me singing his praises. The first starts at a party where everyone seems to be stoned to Palookaville. One of the girls eschews some sexual advances from two hippies and wanders out into the woods alone, dazed, confused and in a cataclysmic state of oblivion. She just seems to be wandering for the sake of wandering. When she finally realizes how far she has drifted into the woods, it is too late. The killer stalks her and taunts her in some ways. The killer knows he has her and he takes his time before he slices her open. What is so laudable about this sequence is the pacing, the camera shots and the music. Music is an apodictic part of any successful horror film and this is a perfect paradigm as to why. If you took the stingers and the stalking type of music away from this film, it may not have as much credibility as it does. But as it stands, the music adds much atmosphere to the film.

Another perfectly done part of the film is the final 20 minutes in the film when our heroine, Jane wakes up one morning to find her three friends butchered. The killer doesn't know that she is in the house and she horrifically watches as he begins to cut the corpses into two pieces. She is then trapped in the house and he eventually discovers she is in there. What ensues is a tight and tense cat and mouse game that really did leave me with goose pimples. There are some excellent overhead shots, reaction shots and POV shots. If you look at any Friday the 13th film, you can almost see Sean Cunningham and Steve Miner studying Martino's agility and style with the camera.

What is not so good however is the killer and why he kills. If this film would have tightened it up a bit and given the killer a better reason to kill, then I think it would have ranked a lot higher than it does in my books. I am still giving this film a 7 out of 10, but with a more in depth analysis of this killer, then the film would have stood out even more. But all we get is a brief, half-assed explanation as to what happened to this guy as a kid and how he developed his complete hatred towards certain people. The writing certainly could have provided us with more than that.

Torso surprised me. It starts out very circuitously but finally does settle into a well done, effective entry into the Italian horror legends. Fulci and Argento are still kings of the cinema but Martino certainly makes a valiant attempt. The result is a farrago of shock, tension and some small gore. I would recommend checking this film out. It is much better than what most of Hollywood asks us to swallow. And if you can find that, then you've won half the battle. I would like to see the unrated version of this film because this did seem to be chopped and edited to hell.

7 out of 10-- A little confusing at times but worth the ride.
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8/10
Great killer in a great giallo
meathookcinema28 June 2018
When you recognise a murder weapon which could implicate a hacksaw wielding murderer who's already killed two other people, what do you do? You go to stay in a remote secluded clifftop villa with your friends, that's what! Nothing could go wrong...

This is a fantastic slice of giallo directed by Sergio Martino in 1973. It's all here- the sumptuous locales, the amazing insistent music score, the deft and stylish cinematography and direction. But, best of all, there's one of the most disturbing and iconic killers in giallo history (which is really saying something). And not only does he look great but he also kicks ass.

This film expertly builds tension with some scenes reminding me of the later Halloween. I wonder if Carpenter had seen this film before making the 1978 classic. I sure as hell hope the makers of the new Halloween film have seen this film (I bet I know the answer to that question but I'll wait until this film is released to either have my hunch confirmed or refuted).

An example of this tension within Torso would be the scene in which the lone survivor is in the villa with the killer thinking that there's no one else there. She's locked in her room but decides to try to get the key which is still in the lock on the outside of the door to fall onto a sheet of newspaper which she's slid underneath. This way she can slide the key under the door and try and free herself. But then...you'll have to watch the film to find out what happens. It's a great scene in a great film.

When it comes to giallo everyone seems to know the work of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava and for good reason. But Sergio Martino is an example of another giallo director who doesn't get the attention he deserves. This is a shame as his work is stellar. And Torso is a great 'in' for the horror fan wanting to investigate his work.
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8/10
Minor Spoiler - killer not revealed.
Bezenby12 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Sergio Martino dispenses with plot twists and mind games and delivers a truckload of boobs, gore and tension instead in what is one of the strongest Gialli you'll see, even though it's strong points have nothing to do with that genre at all.

After a mysterious, sexy introduction where two girls are having a threesome with an unknown man while someone photographs them, a ski- masked murder junky kills and mutilates one of the students at an Italian art school. The braless class of Euro-babes are baffled, and worried that this turn of events will interfere with their overly- complicated sex lives.

Not only are our group of girls having it off with fellow students of either gender, but they're also into the teachers, and a rich uncle of one of the students (who incidentally is being stalked by another student). In fact, it's the lover of the uncle who is the next victim, who is so upset about breaking up with him, she goes to some stinky hippy freak out shack, rejects the advances of two guys, then ends up getting her eyeballs poked out for her trouble. This is one of many sequences in this film that wouldn't look out of place in an eighties slasher.

The niece of the rich uncle is getting stressed out about all her friends being killed and herself being stalked and decides to go to the country with her three pals – Carla Brait and her lover, and Suzy Kendall, who when I think about it fits in with the 'final girl' stereotype from the slasher film, as she's the only one that doesn't have a sex life and seems most interested in the academic work. They all head off to the big villa on the cliff while the killer wastes the moron who thought it would be a good idea to blackmail a murderous psychopath. Also, Luc Merenda keeps appearing as a mysterious doctor who ends up in the village too.

Where this film really takes off is when the girls get to the villa. Suzy Kendall twists her ankle and ends up in bed full of painkillers when the killer arrives and murders everybody else in the villa in one fell swoop. When Suzy awakes, she doesn't know her friends are dead, but the killer doesn't know she's there either. From then on out the film's tension is raised sky-high. Try not to cringe while Suzy hides while listening to the killer cut up her friends with a hacksaw…or her futile attempts to alert the outside world that she's trapped in the villa with a killer.

One thing Martino does carry over from his previous psycho-sexual thrillers is style. This is a brutal, nudity filled film that looks like it was drawn by the old masters discussed at the start of the film. It's also well ahead of its time, with the slasher clichés almost fully in place already – especially the sex = death thing and the final girl thing. Another good soundtrack from the De Angelis brothers rounds this one out nicely.
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