This stylish, gripping giallo-thriller - the equal of anything directed by Dario Argento at the time - was co-written by veteran scribe Ernesto Gastaldi and director Sergio Martino, the latter a journeyman technician whose commercial ethos catapulted him from one genre to another within the dictates of Italian popular cinema (cf. BLADE OF THE RIPPER, THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS, SEX WITH A SMILE, etc.). Despite bland performances from an unremarkable cast (including Euro stalwarts Suzy Kendall [THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE], John Richardson [THE MASK OF SATAN] and Luc Merenda [THEY CALLED HIM AMEN]), and some pretty obvious red herrings amongst the supporting players, TORSO is augmented by a number of beautifully crafted set-pieces (most notably the stalking of a young woman [Cristina Airoldi] through desolate marshland by the masked maniac), photographed with stunning visual flair by Martino's regular DP Giancarlo Ferrando (THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL) and edited to perfection by Eugenio Alabiso (MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD). The second half of the movie, during which Kendall becomes enmeshed in a nightmarish situation at a remote but picturesque country villa, is genuinely nerve-racking, staged with cat-and-mouse efficiency by Martino at his most inspired. Spiced with audience-pleasing elements of sex and violence which tested the limits of censorship in 1973, TORSO is a minor gem. Produced by Carlo Ponti, previously responsible for the likes of WAR AND PEACE (1956) and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO!
Sadly, despite Anchor Bay's bold attempts to compile an uncut version of the film, their print is incomplete. According to 'Video Watchdog' magazine, about a minute's worth of footage is missing from a minor scene at the beginning of the film, which is slightly re-edited from the original. All the nudity is intact, however, along with some brief glimpses of fake-looking gore. Some of the material in the English-language version - never intended for audiences outisde Italy - is presented in Italian with English subtitles, and while Anchor Bay has provided an alternate version in Italian throughout, they've rendered it completely worthless by failing to offer subtitles for the rest of the film! A couple of trailers are included.
NB. Viewers are warned that the disc contains an insert which replicates an Italian lobby card, where the killer's identity is made plainly obvious. So, try not to look at it when you first open the casing!!
1.85:1 / Anamorphically enhanced
Optical mono [theatrical]
Separate English (dubbed) and Italian (original) soundtracks
No captions or subtitles