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Stylish, gripping giallo-thriller,
This review is from: Torso (DVD)TORSO
[I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale]
(Italy - 1973)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: 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. BLADE OF THE RIPPER, 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 [THEY CALLED HIM AMEN]), 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!