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  Torso Who's In The House?
Year: 1973
Director: Sergio Martino
Stars: Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco, Ernesto Colli, Angela Covello, Carla Brait, Conchita Airoldi, Patrizia Adiutori, Luciano Bartoli, Gianni Greco, Luciano De Ambrosis, Enrico DiMarco, Vincenzo Crocitti
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Jane (Suzy Kendall) is an American history of art student in Italy, and has just finished attending a lecture. As she walks out of the building with her friend Daniela (Tina Aumont) she discusses how she was not entirely satisfied with the views of her lecturer, Franz (John Richardson), and though he backs his lesson up to her, she remains unconvinced. Another of her circle of friends, Flo (Patrizia Adiutori), heads off with her boyfriend in his car, and that night they are parked on a patch of wasteground getting close - but they are not alone...

Torso, or I Corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale if you prefer its mouthful of an original title, was one of director Sergio Martino's giallo movies, but tends to be thought of a lesser work than, say, All the Colours of the Dark, an earlier work. Sadly, it's easy to see why, as for most of its ninety minute running time it's a real plod through some conventions that had already become hoary old clich├ęs, with a whodunnit mystery that contains little tension because Martino and co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi seem to have picked the killer at random.

So it really could be anybody in the cast, from the nubile young actresses making up one half, to the saturnine men consisting of the other half. Well, maybe not all those actresses, because they do get killed off with some regularity, thus eliminating them from the suspects. There are attempts to be gruesome with the murders, but they are effectively scuppered by the tendency for the performer being replaced with an obvious rubber dummy when violence is done to them, that unconvincing quality not doing the story any good whatsoever.

Jane is our main character, and it is she who sees her friends killed off, although she doesn't appear to be overly bothered considering that she zooms off for a rural holiday with her surviving acquaintances at the height of the investigation. Before we reach that point, we have had to sit through some stodgily-paced police procedural business where the coppers predictably get nowhere fast, not finding any decent witnesses for a start - mind you, there is someone who can identify the killer, but his blackmail attempt sees him run over with a car for his trouble.

So far, so episode of typical crime television series with much nudity added, but then Martino wakes up from his directing slumber and manages to come up with something a little more suspenseful. This is where the holiday plotline comes in, as if all that stuff before was not really relevant and all you need to know is that there's a psychopath on the loose, and Jane's holiday turns into a nightmare for her but decent thriller entertainment for the rest of us. The scenes of her creeping round the country villa trying not be noticed by the murderer who has broken in are not bad at all, and even if it does take a man to save the day - more satisfying would be Jane taking care of herself - Torso is not the total dead loss it appears to be for the first half. Music by Guido De Angelis and Maurizio De Angelis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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