Review Date: March 10, 2000
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 3/21/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
On a college campus in Italy two girls are brutally murdered - both found nude and cut open in the chest. The local police ask the students for help in identifying the killer. Fragments of a red scarf were found in the victims fingernails which the police have managed to narrow down to a very particular scarf, which they believe the killer owns. The police want anyone who has seen some wearing such a scarf to report them to the police immediately. Dani (Tina Aumont), a student by the college, swears she has seen someone wearing that scarf before. To further cement her suspicion she receives an anonymous phone call from someone threatening her life if she keeps trying to recall who she saw wearing that scarf.
Fearing for her life, Dani, at the advice of her uncle, heads up to an isolated country villa for safety. Accompanying her are friends Jane (Suzy Kendall), Ursula (Carla Bait) and Katia (Angela Covello). Once they arrive they begin to settle down and relax for the night. The next day Jane twists her ankle while falling down a flight of stairs and is ordered bedridden by the local doctor. While out getting some sunshine at a nearby pond, Dani believes she sees Stefano (Roberto Bisacco), a man who she thinks may be the murderer, lurking in some nearby bushes. None of the others see it and tell Dani that she is just worked up over everything that has happened.
Later that evening, as the girl begin to settle in for the night, the buzzer rings at the front door. At the door is a knife yielding madman with a the dead body of his latest victim. Who is this madman? Can the girls survive long enough to find out?
Torso was a fairly good movie. The plot is pretty standard - kill beautiful women with large breasts, have the women do stupid things in order to get killed, and of course, keep the killer's identity secret until the end of the movie. I'm not going to talk about the killer at all, as I could easily spoil the movie by mentioning the slightest thing. At first I didn't like giallo films such as Tenebre, but they have begun to grow on me lately. There's a good amount of killing, gore and mystery in the movie that I think most fans of giallo films (e.g. Tenebre) will enjoy, as I did. One word of warning - while similiar to Tenebre, it's not quite on the same level in terms of gore - the murder scenes aren't nearly as graphic as they are in Tenebre (sorry, no axe in the head in this one!). But keep in mind that Torso was done almost 10 years earlier, and that Tenebre is from Argento, so one has to have more expectations from an Argento film!
Bravo, Anchor Bay! This is one mighty impressive transfer. I was shocked when I discovered this film was from 1973. Lets start with the aspect ratio - Torso is presented in is original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 is is anamorphically (16x9) enhanced for widescreen TVs. The image is crystal clear throughout the entire film. I spotted one slightly grainy scene during a night scene towards the end of the film. The colors are solid and flesh tones appeared accurate. Almost no blemishes in this print, but I did notice one scene at the very beginning of the film when the girls are in the lecture hall - there is a faint vertical line on the screen that appears for 3 or 4 seconds. Of course, that's just being picky, but that's a reviewer's job. Still, for a 1973 non-studio film this is a superb transfer. Excellent job, Anchor Bay!
Presented in Dolby Digital Mono the audio to Torso is fairly standard - clear and audible with no distortion heard. An effective score is so important for this type of giallo film and Torso does indeed have one. It helps to create a tense atmosphere during the murder scenes and I found it to be quite pleasing to listen to.
On a side note, some of the scenes contain English dialogue with Italian subtitles. The reason for this, as noted on the back of the packaging, is that some of Torso's English soundtrack was either never recorded or lost.
Not too much on this disc in terms of extras. The extraordinary transfer more than makes up for it, however. Included on the DVD are a US and foreign trailer. That's it, folks.
Don't let the lack of extras get to you. Anchor Bay has done a terrific job on this title in the visual department. I'm extremely impressed. After all, when it boils down to it, the most important factors on any DVD are the audio/visual presentation of the movie itself. Any extras are just fluff to help entice you into buying it (don't get me wrong, I love fluff, but if I had to choose one or the other it would be a/v quality). Definitely worth a rental, but a safe bet is that you're going to want to add Torso into your collection.
Movie - B
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B+
Supplements - C
- Running time - 1 hour 32 minutes
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital Mono - English
- Dolby Digital Mono - Italian
- International Carnal Violence trailer
- U.S. Theatrical Trailer