Torso (original title: I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale (Italian: “The Bodies bear traces of carnal violence”) is an Italian giallo thriller directed by Sergio Martino. The film was shot on location in Perugia and the Italian countryside in early 1972, and was subsequently released in 1973.
Torso is considered to be one of the forerunners of the modern slasher genre and has developed a cult following among fans of the giallo genre. Torso was released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2000 and on Blu-ray by Blue Underground in a new High Definition transfer on August 30, 2011.
The murder of two college students (and one’s boyfriend) leads to a manhunt for the killer, who’s chief weapon is a red and black ascot to strangle his victims. When a young college student discovers that she recognizes the murder weapon, she becomes a target of the killer and agrees with one of her friends, who is friends with their art history teacher, to stay at a local villa located on a nearby cliff.
However, the isolated cliffside villa offers no protection for the killer, who runs over the street vendor who he buys his scarves from and who tried to blackmail him for his silence. At the same time, a young college student who is obsessed with one of the four girls and has been actively stalking her (and wearing a similar red and black scarf) and one of the locals in town, go up to the villa to spy on the girls only to be ruthlessly killed. The young student who invited her friend to the villa breaks her ankle and a doctor gives her a sedative; as such, she is asleep when the killer makes his way into the house and kills the girls, including the one who can identify him. She wakes up in time to watch him dismember the bodies but hides to avoid detection. However, the killer locks the house, trapping her inside while he prepares to dispose of the body. When he realizes that the last girl is alive, he baits her into coming out of the room she is hiding in and reveals himself to her…
“Slick production values, stylish direction, picturesque provincial locations and a great score by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis add up to another superior giallo thriller from Sergio Martino. Torso is only marred by an unsavoury element of leering Italian machismo and the somewhat protracted finale.” Adrian Luther-Smith, Blood and Black Lace, Stray Cat Publishing, UK 1999