TORSO Blu-ray Review

Charlie Hobbs, Contributing Writer
Sergio Martino's Torso is a textbook example of the giallo genre film, the kind made famous by Dario Argento and Mario Bava.  While Torso may not be a Bird with Crystal Plumage or The Girl Who Knew Too Much, it has one great advantage, boobs.  I'm fairly certain that every single female character with a speaking part in Torso takes her shirt off at least once.  Normally, this wouldn't be worthy of mentioning, but it is so in your face that it's almost distracting.  Not that I'm complaining, the assets in question are admirable, but it puts a whole other spin on this film when compared to other classic gialli.  Blue Underground updates their own DVD presentation with a great looking Blu-ray that features both the original, uncut Italian language version as well as the English language edit. This is, by far, the best presentation of this film to date, and well worth picking up for giallo fans.

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. 

The Disc:

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.


Torso Extras:
- Murders in Perugia - Interview with Co-Writer/Director Sergio Martino
- U.S. Opening Credits
- U.S. Trailer
- International Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spot
- Poster & Still Gallery
- English, Italian DTS-HD Mono
- All Regions
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