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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Midnight Movie: Torso

"It Saturates the Scream with Terror"

Sergio Martinos' grindhouse masterpiece "Torso" is packed full of everything you could want from a 70's Italian Giallo film. Bloody deaths, sex, drugs, psycho sexual killers, nudity, lesbian love scenes, and more nudity. Yes, there will be Boobs! I think this is one of the great films of the genre and is highly underrated. But aren't they all...

What I also found in Torso, was a really good "who done it?" mystery. 

Torso takes place at a college campus where a recent series of sex murders has the campus community shook up. A mysterious masked killer is murdering women and the only clue they have is a red scarf left behind at one of the murder scenes. So four young girlfriends leave to go stay in an isolated country villa for the weekend. It starts out to be a nice weekend of partying and sex, but soon turns sour when the girls and guys they've met start to drop like flies. Just when we think we know who the killer is, they get killed. Forcing us to start over again. 

For what it is, Torso is  a very good suspense mystery. This movie in comparison is no Psycho or Rope, but imagine if Alfred Hitchcock was a gorehound and a pervert. Torso would probably be the end result.

I read that Martino took the ending out of the scripts and wanted the actors and actresses to guess which character was the killer. Not one person in the cast guessed right. Rumor has it that he didn't tell them until after the film was finished.

I think Sergio Martino did a fine job of directing this film. There's a scene where a girl running though the mud in the woods trying to escape from two guys that are chasing after her. She was at a party and the guys tried to get her high and grope all over her. She puts the joint out on one of the guys chest and runs out. They were chasing her. But anyway... She is walking through the muddy woods and the killer is lurking close by. After a well filmed chase, he catches up with her. This scene is my favorite in the movie. The cinematography is very good at times. Martino seems to have a knack for capturing suspense in plot and in action. 

Torso is the epitome of a 70's grindhouse slasher, and i mean that in a good way. Though I think it is an overall good horror film. You can kill people all day long in a movie but that doesn't always make it a good horror. Of course that is what we go to see, but that thing that keeps you on the edge or your seat or that thing makes you or your date jump at a climactic scenes. That's called suspense and without it the death scenes just aren't  as scary. Then it's just violence. Even though Torso is a low budget movie, it remembered that suspense costs nothing. And if done right, it's effective. 

If your a fan of 70's Italian Giallo films from Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, then Torso is definitely worth watching!


  1. I was kind of torn after watching Torso...I thought the pacing was a bit slow, but there was definitely enough, as you say, "Bloody deaths, sex, drugs, psycho sexual killers, nudity, lesbian love scenes, and more nudity" to keep my attention. And some parts were pretty suspenseful. I love the scene when the killer puts the key on the newspaper to "help" the final girl.

    I also love your "if Hitchcock was a gorehound and a pervert" analogy and your (true) belief that suspense costs nothing and it shouldn't matter what a film's budget is.

  2. FYI: Torso's getting another DVD release this summer:

  3. Cool, I'll check that out! Thanks!