Torso 1973 Review

Torso 1973

aka I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale, Torso: Violencia Carnal

Directed by: Sergio Martino

Starring: Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Angela Covello

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

When I launched a SLASH above, my motivation was to focus solely on the slasher genre and not branch too far 100467outside of the category. But with the differences being so slim between those and the Italian and Spanish Gialli flicks, I decided to post reviews of the titles that were most definitely inspiration to the style of cinema that we love today.

Being that I was first captivated by Halloween, I never paid attention so much to the European exploitation features that laid the groundwork for Carpenter’s classic. This is bizarre, because I am full latin and in Spain, we consider Italians, Portuguese and Romanians our latin brothes.  As I have aged and become accustomed to a higher level of filmmaking, I have grown keener on their classy style and twisted mysteries. Sergio Martino’s Torso or I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale is one of a number of my all time favourite Giallos and holds up superbly with the features released almost forty-years after.

A maniac in a white mask has been killing girls and mutilating their bodies around a college campus. After one 5859859849843983983murder, he leaves a scarf at the scene of the crime and Dani swears that she has seen it before. Soon after, she begins receiving anonymous and threatening phone calls, so she flees with four young beautiful girlfriends to the safety of an isolated country villa. Little do they know the crazed loon has followed them to the retreat and they’re next on his list.

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. The killer turning off the lights so that he could trap his victim, launched a great set piece and the murder is bloody and ferocious. There’s 423445654444323also a morally ‘purer’ final girl who is left alone to fend off the killer and the have sex and die rule is in full effect here too.

Martino directs with a wonderful flamboyance and his lens soaks up the gorgeous backgrounds and architecture with a wide overflowing frame. Giancarlo Ferrando’s cinematography is adept and skilful, utilising lush tracking shots that glide across the screen like a ballet dancer. We get a fantastic forest stalking sequence that is tightly crafted and full of suspense. It is aided by some off- beat scoring that helps to build the victim’s desolation. The smart finale shows the mastery of a tension maestro as Jane goes downstairs to find the corpses of her friends. Of course, the killer is unaware that she is in the house, so she has to watch on in complete silence whilst he dismembers the corpses of her buddies with a hacksaw! Martino takes time to develop a pulsating atmosphere and it builds up to a pitch perfect closing scene. I liked the fact that the mystery is strong enough to keep you guessing and there is a good number of red herrings so that you won’t have picked your choice for the culprit until later in the runtime. There’s also a nice dose of the macabre as the killings are intercut with a creepy doll very similar to the one used a decade later in 84748738738382828929829Curtains.

As you can imagine by the translation from the original Italian title, “Bodies bear traces of Carnal Violence” (in Spain it is called Torso: Carnal Violence), it has a nice load of gore in its uncut version. There are throat slashings, an eye gouging, mutilation and one guy gets his head squished by a car! The effects look quite poor compared to more recent splatter, but 455433455433during the times of extreme censorship that would follow, they are gruesome enough to get it cut in most countries.

I mentioned the eye-catching locations, but even they do not come close to the looks of the cast. I must mention the voluptuous Patrizia Adiutori whose mystique green eyes give her an outstanding beauty. It’s nicely acted from a strong European cast and there’s also mounds of 75854848439393nudity for T&A fans

I am very fortunate to have some great readers and I love speaking with you all by email. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of you prefer the more modern slashers, which is because at 30, I’m a tad older than you now. I urge you all however to check out Torso as it is one of the best thrillers available and was definitely inspiration for Carpenter’s Halloween.

Sergio Martino may not have the reputation of Argento, but this is a stand out classic and should be seen and seen again. It is sleazy, but has the class to get away with it

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√


Final Girl: √√√



Posted on January 25, 2012, in Giallo, Proto-slasher, Slasher and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Torso was one of the first Italian horror films I ever saw and oh my God, it scared me to death. Even though I had already seen several of the slasher films that Torso had obviously influenced, this film just had this atmosphere of doom to it that gave me nightmares after I watched it. Thanks for a good review of an underappreciated film. 🙂

  2. Im so happy you have enjoyed this movie.
    It is so important for the future slasher genr, i really belived this was a big inspiration for future directors of slashers, the style. the setting, the killer guise.
    But this is even more evident in Mario Bava’s Masterpiece A Bay of blood, half of the murders in the movie have been (as you surely know) re-made in the second chapter of friday the 13th,
    The murder of the Young people making love was remake identically in friday the 13th, also the decapitation and so on,inlcuding the lake setting)
    If you haven’t seen A bay of blood you must see it, it’s wonderful, with great Actors, a wonderful music by Stelvio Cipriani and tons of gore.
    Still talking about Torso, there is a great atmosphere, and it is really creppy (for example when Suzy Kendall spies the killer cutting the victims into pieces ).
    I agree with you about beautiful Auditori, but we must consider also the great leading protagonist Suzy Kendall and the beloved Tina Aumont.
    And about the giallo genre, it have been Always been my favourite genre, not only among the horror movie, but among all the genre of cinema, despite the fact im 25 years old (i begin to see gialli’s movie when i was 16), for me they are uniques movies, no other country have been able to do the same thing, ever.

    • I love Bay of Blood, it’s a classic. There are some beautiful Italian and Spanish Gialli – I have not seen any countries come close to the film’s from Spain and Italy

      • I absolutely agree, one Spanish giallo i love is Los los ojos azules de la muñeca rota, with my beloved Paul Naschy, a beautiful one with a terrific setting, a wonderful sick motive behind the killings (the reason for which the murderer kills in gialli is one of the most fascinating elements of the genre, they Always created the most sickest motives, great inventive), very nice murders, and the haunting nice little music which plays every time the killer strikes.
        And you know, i learned spanish Language thanks to this kind of stuff, years ago every day after school i watched a spanish horror movie (i see the 90 percent of Nashy movies, including all the werewolfs one), at first i would undestand very little, but finally not only i enjoyed the movies, but i was also able to begin speak spanish, same things with english.
        So i really have to thank Spanish cinema.
        And about what you say, sadly only Canada have tryed to do some gialli, but they were really a few (but of good quality like American nightmare)

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