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The Saw Before SAW
on January 27, 2013
Sergio Martino takes a...ahem...stab at a giallo flick. And why not? Like most Italian directors, he's directed films in practically every genre anyway. It's not his only genre offering, but probably his best, and definitely his most well known.
A string of murders occurs on a college campus by a masked killer, and a group of female art students decide to escape the madness by taking off to a remote villa. Guess who follows?
The Italians really had this slasher thing down well before Friday the 13th came along. The murders are bloody and violent(for the time it was rather extreme, but not so much now for the typical horror fan), and there is a great deal of female flesh on display, including a lesbian scene! Whoopee!! Of course, this makes it easy to predict who will get slaughtered by the killer, as pretty much all the victims are shown nude at some point except Kendall, who naturally doesn't appear nude. The killer's identity is rather easy to figure out, but it's all about the journey, not the destination, right? In the giallo tradition, there is a heavy attempt to make a particular character seem the most likely candidate for the killer, but it's so obvious that he isn't the killer because of how disturbed and messed up they make him. And the fact that all the evidence points to him too! The last act with Kendall and the killer playing a game of cat and mouse in the villa is actually rather suspenseful at times. Like many giallos, it's stylish, and looks great.
The film's title more than likely refers to the fact that the killer likes to cop a feel on his victims after he murders them. Tasteful.
It may not quite be Argento, but Torso is required reading for the giallo fan.