Torso AKA Carnal Violence (1973)

One day she met a man who loved beautiful women... But not all in one piece.
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Torso AKA Carnal Violence - One Day She Met a Man Who Loved Beautiful Women...But Not All in One Piece

With a tagline of "When Whores Meet Saws" and a bright yellow cover promising the "finally uncut" version drawing in horror fans like moths to a light bulb, the expectation that Torso AKA Carnal Violence (I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale) would contain more bush and gore than the 2000 presidential elections is in the bag. Unfortunately the cover lied and, although there is an abundance of baby-feeders, the gore is superficial and un-shocking, the violence isn't very violent and the character development, even of the killer, is minimal making for a very nondescript Italian slasher movie. The movie tries to inject an element of giallo with the mystery of the red and black scarf and the cunning twist that the scarf was black-on-red not red-on-black (gasp). Due to the coarsely thrown together plot and the lack of anything really exciting the movie comes off as a cheap boobie thriller worthy of late night Hallmark channel rather than an "uncut for the first time" example of nastiness.

A series of brutal killings soon become the water cooler conversation at a college campus full of art students studying what seems to be the aesthetics of the lady milk pillows. Fearing that they might be next on the killer's trip down mammary lane, four luscious and scantily clad beauties decide that they will be safer in a secluded and isolated villa on the edge of a cliff. Obviously misunderstanding the psyche of the average serial killer, the boobilicious babes soon begin to suspect that not all rapists live in fear of secluded areas containing promiscuous women.

What follows is a stalky slashy affair with lots of screaming, lots of nudity and a rather shallow mystery element. The uncut constituent must be nipple shots and the unnecessary hippie sex disco as the occasional carving of mannequin like cadavers is very unconvincing and not worthy of being cut to protect the innocent. The much hyped saw scenes are probably the highlight of the gore but dismemberment isn't as much fun if the victims are already dead. The killer's obsession with poking out eyes, due to some childhood trauma involving a doll, provides some horror relief but overall the bloodbath is quite tame and over with quickly.

The motivations of the potential victims are irrational and the majority all meet their demise at the same time whilst the main heroine sleeps. Whereas the director Sergio Martino was probably aiming for a massive shock when most of the cast was found destroyed in a few minutes, a concept which is an original idea, this turns out to be a quite disappointing and unshocking waste of a potentially disturbing scene.

Torso is a mediocre thriller that would appeal to men in denial of their love for pornography but does little to inspire horror lovers and lacks the direction to make an enthralling mystery. The concept has the potential to make a rather sordid and disturbing piece of Italian cinema but the lack of focus throughout builds up no emotional attachment to any of the participants in the game and therefore no concern as to whether they live or die. The killer starts of as a rather menacing psycho in a white balaclava with the potential for anti-hero respect but this concept isn't emphasised enough through the carnage so there isn’t even a memorable killer to inspire any nightmares.

I'm possibly being overcritical of the hidden merits of the movie but the cover hyped me up for shocks, disturbance and damsels in bountiful amounts of distress, enhanced with mountainous pleasure orbs (special thanks to The Afro Film Viewer for that one), bubble-butts and shaggy, uncombed seventies baby-cannons. None of this was delivered which left a rather unremarkable thriller and undisturbed sleep.
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Categories: Italian Horror Movies
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