Sunday, January 3, 2010
Day 294: Torso (1973) - Rank 3.5/5
I was motivated to catch this film for a couple of reasons. First and foremost was the fact that my friend Eagle decided to don the outfit of the film's killer during this past Halloween. I'd been apprised as to who he was prior to arriving at his party, but humorously enough, he wouldn't say a word (nor had he the entire evening, despite being the party's cohost). I was intrigued by the film further when I learned that Sergio Martino was at its helm, the master of the bizarre behind "All the Colors of the Dark."
"Torso" was predictable in theme in the sense that it's a slasher flick - simple and straightforward. Girls arrive on camera and clothing drops to the floor shortly before limbs do on a fairly regular basis. In fact, my boss Bryan has frequently cited "boobs and decapitation" as the two watermarks a horror film must bear to be deemed acceptably entertaining. If I recall correctly, "Torso" had those two items checked off the list approximately fifteen minutes in. But to label the entire film as predictable would be unjust, because there's no foreseeing who the killer is. The plot makes every single character in the film a red herring. And as for the ending, you would be more likely to watch Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" and say, "I saw that finish coming a mile away" more than you would here.
What struck me was how utterly bleak the film makes Italy. One of the film's victims meets her end in a bog that resembles the swamp of sadness set from "The Neverending Story." Granted, giallo flicks never make Italy look gorgeous, but having only the visual style of "All the Colors..." as a reference, I expected more of a stylistic aesthetic to be apparent. The grungy feel of the sets do add to the unpleasant atmosphere of dread that saturates the film like a languorous smog, making it a more memorable slasher piece - especially when you take into consideration that this film is considered to be the first true predecessor to the slasher subgenre of horror.
Watch the Trailer