TORSO (1973)
posted 00/00/2011

Directed by:
Sergio Martino

Starring:
Suzy Kendall ... Jane
Tina Aumont ... Daniela
Luc Merenda ... Roberto
John Richardson ... Franz

Country: Italy
Runtime: 92 min
Original title: I corpi presentano tracce di
violenza carnale

AKA: The Bodies Presented Traces of
Carnal Violence
     
   

When you think about great giallos you usually think of Argento, Fulci or Bava but there are many other great Italian masters that have crafted fine films in this subgenre. Make some room for Sergio Martino’s smart and stylish giallo: I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale (1973), better known as Carnal Violence or simply Torso in the states. Martino’s other noteworthy giallos (which I must track down and review) include: The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Tail of the Scorpion (1972), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), and Murder in the Etruscan Cemetery (1982). I first became aware of Martino through his film The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), which is reviewed on this site.

The story is fairly simple. A couple of murders shock a college campus. The only lead the police has is that the killer may have worn or been in the possession of a red and black scarf. Jane, Daniela and two other female friends head up to a mountain villa to escape from the tension for a while, but the killer follows them. The film takes place in Italy where everything from the scenery to the women are beautiful. The cinematography is excellent in almost every way, taking advantage of the gorgeous settings in the city and the country, where the villa is. The lead female characters are breathtaking and flirtatious. The audience is seduced by the sexy women and the violent killer.

There are so many great scenes to study and enjoy that it’s hard to focus on just a few in this short review. I will do my best to share with you some of my favorites. Carol’s death scene is great. It starts when she is at an orgy party with some people, in an out-of-the-way building. She’s probably medicated, for she lets two guys undo her shirt and fondle her breasts (which are excellent) while she smokes a cigarette. When one guy wants to pet her between the legs she burns him with the cigarette and heads outside. She walks through the swampy forest to lose the men in the dusk. She is half naked and barefoot as she wanders deeper into the woods. In an eerie second she spots the masked killer watching her from a distance. She starts to run and the killer follows. She falls into the mud several times. The killer finally suffocates her by pressing her face down into the mud. The chase is shot beautifully.

SPOLIER ALERT!!

Another scene of awesomeness takes place in the remote villa towards the end of the film. The killer has just slaughtered three girls in the house and trapped Jane inside. He locked the door and the windows have bars on them. It’s interesting because Daniela was the main character and she got killed! Now Jane must play a deadly game of hide and seek with a smart killer! The murderer thinks there were only three girls in the house. Jane has the advantage and carefully plans an escape. The cool thing is that while in town the killer overhears a conversation and realizes that there is another girl in the villa. He heads back and things get very interesting. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the last twenty minutes.

Your probably wondering about the sex and gore. Well the thrill of hunting young sex kittens is the heart of the movie; the subtle relationship between predator and prey. Almost every scene is charged with erotic or violent tension. The blood is minimal but it’s there. There is plenty of nudity and a few sweet lesbian scenes thrown in. How can anyone not like this movie?

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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