Torso/Blu Ray Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Along with Mario Bava's Twitch Of The Death Nerve, Torso would be a main influence on the 80s slasher films. The film's opening credits play while an orgy takes place in the background. This erotic event plays an important part in the story which is revealed later. The nastiness begins when two university students making love in a car are murdered by a masked man who strangles his victims with a red and black scarf that's later found at the scene. This soon leads authorities to a local street vendor, Gianni Tomasso (Ernesto Colli) who sells the same kind of scarves, although when questioned he explains he doesn't have any ideas as so many people come and go. While attending a party, a girl named Carol becomes the next victim of the deranged maniac when she encounters him in an eerie fog filled forrest. The only person left who might be able to help solve the crime is school student Daniela (Tina Aumont) as she thinks she spotted a man wearing the same patterned ascot in town one day. Meanwhile Dani has her own problems in the form of her ex-boyfriend Stefano (Roberto Bisacco) who harasses her and continuously tries to rekindle their relationship. Stefano is clearly troubled and he takes his frustrations out on a local prostitute. Dani later receives a phonecall from the killer himself explaining she better not talk to the police about what she knows or else. Her touchy feely Uncle suggests she go away to the family's villa in the country to escape Stefano and the tense atmosphere of the city due to the killings. Dani decides to heed his advice and invites three of her school chums Jane (Suzy Kendall), Katia (Angela Covello) and Ursula (Carla Brait) to join her. Meanwhile, the mysterious killer brutally runs over Gianni in his car after being blackmailed to keep his identity a secret. He then follows Dani and her girlfriends to the cliffside villa. While the gals have a fun, carefree vacation at the fortress like home, the psycho-sexual maniac lurks in the shadows waiting for the right time to strike and when he does it becomes a grisly mess. A hacksaw is employed at one point to help dismember his victims which he disposes nearby.
Like the best kinds of gialli, TORSO's ultra creepy content is beautifully staged, photographed and directed. The various red herrings placed throughout keep you guessing as to who the killer really is from beginning to end. It appears that almost all the male characters in this movie are sort of sex obsessed so it could be any of them. From Luc Merenda's doctor who leers at the women to Dani's Uncle to Stefano. Even the local citizens are obsessed with Daniela and her friends after they glimpse them riding out of town on a tractor. Although it is primarily known for its unrelenting graphic violence, the Hitchcockian suspense of the last half of the movie is superbly done. It truly keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you holding your breath the entire time. Along with The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of The Scorpions Tail, Torso remains one of Sergio Martino's finest efforts in the genre.
Blu Ray Review
PICTURE: Presented in (1:66:1) Widescreen. 1080p Hi-Definition - This restored transfer looks especially gorgeous. Artifacts have been removed and the image gleams as though it was filmed recently. The interiors and scenes set in and around the Italian town of Perugia are really spectacular to see with such clarity and richness. It brings all of cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando's work right back to life with a vibrance.
AUDIO: DTS English & Italian Mono 1.0
SUBTITLES: ENGLISH - FRENCH - SPANISH
MURDERS IN PERUGIA: Interview With Co-Writer/Director Sergio Martino - The Italian genre master recollects his entry into filmmaking, working on TORSO and his views on the movie today.
INTRODUCTION BY DIRECTOR ELI ROTH - US OPENING CREDITS - THEATRICAL TRAILERS - TV SPOTS - RADIO SPOTS - POSTER & STILL GALLERY
THE FINAL WORD: This Blu Ray release is a bit light on extras but it certainly makes up for that with the film itself which has been completely revitalized by Blue Underground. It is another welcomed addition to home video for fans of classic European genre cinema.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. He is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life.