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Torso (Blu-ray Review)

Up next, and perfectly fitting for the Halloween season we have some giallo horror brought to you from the fine folks over at Blue Underground where the horror train keeps on chugging along. Giallo, for a lack of a better word, refers to “thrillers,” but the term often lends itself to the Italian way of doing things. Dario Argento’s early stuff is all horror, but with a giallo twist. Torso can be considered a giallo horror thriller. In fact, I’d go far as to say that Torso is taken straight from the pages of of the Dario Argento playbook. Will it live up to its reputation or will it be a silly knock off? Let’s take a trip to Italy and find out! 

 

 

Film 

Torso is the story of four girlfriends who all live together and attend the same school in Italy. When a series of shocking sex murders stun the local community the girls decide to pack it all up and head over to a quiet palatial estate out in the country. What the girls fail to realize is that the killer has followed them there and is on the hunt.

Torso aka Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence is a horror thriller, and one of Eli Roth’s favorite horror films of all time, but as a standlone film without the endorsement, is a pretty adequate horror film in general. All of the actors involved are all believable in their roles as hapless victims, but also as survivors. In watching Torso I could see that the director always depicted his actresses as anything but pushovers, but when it came time to letting their hair down a bit, he did so in a classy manner. Some would even go far as to say that Torso is a feminist film. I wouldn’t object to that at all. I would also say that the film is very liberal considering the times in which it is set in. Torso was released in 1973, so some of the themes covered were pretty risque.

Another thing, and this is for the aspiring screenwriters that read our site, Torso has so many red herrings that it is kind of unbelievable, because I don’t think they were actually needed, but do work really well in derailing the audience just a bit. I did figure out who the killer was, but ironically, that’s where the big reveal got kind of clunky, but it was more to do with the editing of the reveal as opposed to how it was revealed – if that makes sense.

Torso is also a bit of a technical achievement from a story point of view. There is no dialogue for the final twenty minutes of the film. This is where the emotional payoff begins, because you’re stuck with a particular character until the very end – it’s like being a fly on the wall. Don’t get squished.

There is violence towards women, and graphic violence no less, but our heroines are strong, so there’s no need to feel that this is an exploitation film. The killings are gruesome, but they serve to move the story along. No, the violence is NOT gratuitous at all. If you want to see some Dario Argento LITE, I would highly recommend giving Torso a spin.

Please keep in mind that there are TWO versions of the film on this Blu-ray. There’s the 93 minute Italian cut and the 90 English cut. I went with the full 93 cut, but in doing so, please remember to hit your subtitle button as the scenes that have been restored are not in English, so you will need the translation.

Video 

Torso is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1, widescreen. Torso is nearly forty years old, but the print used for this Blu-ray release is pretty awesome! Grain levels are healthy and consistent, and I did not detect any serious instances of scratches, debris, or dirt. Colors are bold and vivid and have some serious pop! Ignore some of the garish early 70’s fashion and you’ll be okay. Black levels are deep and contrast never runs hot. Edge enhancement is also not a problem.

Audio 

Torso is presented in DTS HD-MA 1.0 mono. It’s not a big deal, but that’s just how it is. Dialogue is clear, ambient noise is still present, and nothing overlaps. Even with it being a limited audio source I think everyone who watches will not have a problem with the audio. It is what is. Torso is presented in Italian 1.0 and English 1.0 with subtitles for both and among many others.

Special Features 

Torso doesn’t have a lot of special features, but does contain a cool interview with director Sergio Martino – the rest of the extras are your basic run-of-the-mill features. I give it the extra half star, because the interview is pretty cool.

  • Murders in Peruga – Interview with Co-Writer/Director Sergio Martino
  • U.S. Opening Credits
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spot
  • Poster & Still Gallery

Final Thoughts 

Torso makes for some excellent viewing which can also be paired up with some early Dario Argento flicks to round out the whole giallo experience. It is a grisly and somewhat gory psycho sexual thriller, but features excellent performances and a cool script. I wish there was more in terms if supplements, but the folks over at Blue Underground have blessed us with a great looking Blu-ray, so I am happy nonetheless.

 

 

Order Torso on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Torso (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Literally just bought this.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Awesome. I think you’ll like it. Watch the 93 minute cut first.