TORSO Blu-ray Review
A series of sex murders shock a college campus, and four beautiful young girlfriends head for the safety of an isolated country villa. But as they succumb to their own erotic desires, their weekend of pleasure becomes a vacation to dismember at the hands - and blade - of the lecherous maniac.
Directed by Sergio Martino (MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD) and starring Suzy Kendall (THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE) and Tina Aumont (SALON KITTY), this Euro Horror chiller was originally released in America with much of its controversial violence removed by censors. Now freshly transferred in thrilling High Definition from the original negative, TORSO is presented in both its Uncensored English Version and Full-Length Italian Director's Cut for the first time ever!
Sergio Martino's film mines the primordial brain, mingling sex and violence in a very explicit way, more explicit than most, even, and creates a very visceral reaction in the viewer. We are attracted and repulsed in equal measure by the images on screen, titillated and shocked alternately throughout the film's run time. Torso uses sex as a primer for violence, he softens up the victim and the viewer by showing the women in their most vulnerable state before sacrificing them to the other primal urge of the human species, the urge toward violence.
One thing that is striking about Torso is the complete competence shown by Martino, especially in these days when adult thrillers and gory horror films are often dirty and dingy. Torso is neither, much of the film takes place in broad daylight, an unusual setting for a giallo, even in 1973. However, the setting doesn't detract from the film's impact, in fact, it brings us even closer to every character, victim and perpetrator alike. Martino's ability to fling a red herring onto the set and watch everyone dive for it is impeccable. This goes for character and viewer alike. We are constantly kept on our toes by the skillful misdirection employed by the director, and just when you think you might be catching onto something, there are boobs, and the mind goes blank.
Torso is a remarkably effective film that would probably have been classified as a slasher if it'd been made ten years later. Luckily for us, that didn't happen. So the film finds itself frozen in time, in 1973, a reminder of what giallo films used to be like. Everything in the film screams 1973, from the free love, to the outfits, to the bouncy giallo score, and it is magnificent.
Blue Underground's presentation of Torso goes far beyond anything we've seen before. The image is bright and colorful, there is loads of detail, and minimal print damage. The film doesn't show a whole lot of grain, but it also isn't hideously marred by DNR, perhaps only mildly touched. The DTS-HD MA soundtrack is sharp and clear, the dialogue is crisp, and the soundtrack sounds great. Overall, a great edition of a film that deserves to be seen this way. God bless the independent home video distributors for keeping these films alive.
The only major extra on the disc is an eleven minute conversation with Sergio Martino about the making of this film and a little bit about the rest of his career. Apart from that we get a brief introduction from Eli Roth, who praises Torso to high heaven, and a collection of trailers in English and Italian. Oh, and the English language dubbed version is also included.
Blue Underground's all-region Torso Blu-ray is a great way to see this film, if you've only seen the DVD, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. It is unlikely to be bested anytime soon.