TORSO (1973) Reviews and overview

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Torso is a 1973 Italian Giallo horror thriller film about a sadistic serial killer who is strangling and dismembering female students.

Directed by Sergio Martino (The Mountain of the Cannibal God; All the Colours of the DarkYour Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key; et al) from a screenplay co-written with veteran scripter Ernesto Gastaldi.

Torso is considered to be one of the forerunners of the modern slasher genre and has developed a cult following among fans of the Giallo genre.

The murder of two college students (and one’s boyfriend) leads to a manhunt for the killer, whose chief weapon is a red and black ascot to strangle his victims.

When a young college student discovers that she recognizes the murder weapon, she becomes a target of the killer and agrees with one of her friends, who is acquainted with their art history teacher, to stay at a local villa located on a nearby cliff.

However, the isolated cliffside villa offers no protection for the killer, who runs over the street vendor who he buys his scarves from and who tried to blackmail him for his silence. At the same time, a young college student who is obsessed with one of the four girls and has been actively stalking her (and wearing a similar red and black scarf) and one of the locals in town, go up to the villa to spy on the girls only to be ruthlessly killed.

The young student who invited her friend to the villa breaks her ankle and a doctor gives her a sedative; as such, she is asleep when the killer makes his way into the house and kills the girls, including the one who can identify him. She wakes up in time to watch him dismember the bodies but hides to avoid detection.

However, the killer locks the house, trapping her inside while he prepares to dispose of the body. When he realizes that the last girl is alive, he baits her into coming out of the room she is hiding in and reveals himself to her…

Slick production values, stylish direction, picturesque provincial Italian locations and a great score by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis add up to another superior giallo thriller from Sergio Martino. Torso is only marred by an unsavoury element of leering Italian machismo and the somewhat protracted finale that stretches the suspense levels a tad too long and the film then loses impetus.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
” …a standard, yet very acceptable “killer on the loose” story with about half a dozen suspects, most who are killed off by the third act. When the killer is revealed, his sadistic behavior is tied to a traumatic childhood experience, which is a common giallo ingredient. Martino’s film is a visual treat, full of pleasing European locations complimented by striking camera work.” DVD Drive-In

“Watching Torso is like seeing a ‘making of’ feature for the entire slasher category. There is so much that was definitely borrowed from this for the template and it is done here with such panache that you have rarely seen it bettered. The masked assailant stalking a love-making couple in a parked car has been conveyed a billion times since, but there’s something crisp about its authenticity here.” A Slash Above…

“The movie is rightly remembered for its intense murder scenes, but Martino really shines when it comes to staging some intricate suspense sequences. The killer savors playing cat-and-mouse with his prey and this results in some marvelous, purely cinematic stretches wherein the suspense is racked up to the maximum before Martino pays off with a tremendous shock effect.” Troy Howarth, So Deadly, So Perverse

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Torso is a remarkably effective film that would probably have been classified as a slasher if it’d been made ten years later. Luckily for us, that didn’t happen. So the film finds itself frozen in time, in 1973, a reminder of what giallo films used to be like.  Everything in the film screams 1973, from the free love, to the outfits, to the bouncy giallo score, and it is magnificent.” Screen Anarchy


Having been released on Blu-ray by Blue Underground (in the USA) and Shameless (in the UK), Torso has received a brand-new Special Edition 2K restoration via Arrow Films. Their Torso Blu-ray will be released in the United States on October 30, 2018.

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of both versions of the film: the 94-minute Italian and 90-minute English cuts
Original lossless Italian and English mono soundtracks*
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New video interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino
New video interview with actor Luc Merenda
New video interview with co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi
New video interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Sergio Martino
New video interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival Q and A with Sergio Martino
Italian and English theatrical trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais
Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Howard Hughes

  • The English audio track on the original, longer cut has some portions of English audio missing. English audio for these sections was either never recorded or has been lost. As such, these sequences are presented with Italian audio, subtitled in English.

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Cast and characters:
Suzy Kendall … Jane / college student
Tina Aumont … Daniela / college student
Luc Merenda … Roberto / Doctor
John Richardson … Franz / professor
Roberto Bisacco … Stefano / college student
Ernesto Colli … Gianni / the scarf vendor
Angela Covello … Katia / college student
Carla Brait … Ursula / college student
Conchita Airoldi … Carol Peterson
Patrizia Adiutori … Florence Heineken
Luciano Bartoli … Motorcycle guy #1
Gianni Greco … Motorcycle guy #2
Luciano De Ambrosis … Inspector Martino
Enrico DiMarco … Village idiot
Giorgio Dolfin … Slim boy in the village
Carlo Alighiero … Uncle Nino
Vincenzo Crocitti … Delivery man
Luca Bonicalzi … Truck Driver
Fausto Di Bella … John – Flo’s boyfriend
Giuseppe Terranova … Car repairman
Rosaria della Femmina … Prostitute
Ermelinda De Felice … Woman in car with Roberto
Dolores Calò … Woman with Green Dress
Renato Cestiè … Gianni / Little Kid

Filming locations:
Corcolle, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Dear Studios, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Monte Gelato Falls, Treja River, Lazio, Italy
Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Tagliacozzo, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy

Technical credits:
Aspect ratio: 1.66: 1
Audio: Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Original title:
I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale “The Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence”


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