Torso (1973 film)

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Original 1973 poster
Directed by Sergio Martino
Produced by Carlo Ponti, Antonio Cervi
Written by Ernesto Gastaldi, Sergio Martino
Starring Suzy Kendall
Tina Aumont
Luc Merenda
John Richardson
Music by Guido De Angelis
Maurizio De Angelis
Cinematography Giancarlo Ferrando
Edited by Eugenio Alabiso
Distributed by Joseph Brenner Associates (theatrical, dubbed)
Release dates
  • April 1, 1973 (1973-04-01) (Italy)
  • November 8, 1973 (1973-11-08) (USA)
  • March 20, 1978 (1978-03-20) (Japan)
Running time
92 min (uncut)
85 min (cut version)
Country Italy
Language Italian (U.S. release dubbed into English)

Torso (original title: I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale) (Italian: "Bodies bear traces of carnal violence") is an Italian giallo horror directed by Sergio Martino. The film was shot on location in Perugia and the Italian countryside in early 1972, and was subsequently released in 1973.

Torso is considered to be one of the forerunners of the modern slasher genre and has developed a cult following among fans of the giallo genre. Torso was released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2000 and on Blu-ray by Blue Underground in a new High Definition transfer on August 30, 2011.


The murder of two college students (and one's boyfriend) leads to a manhunt for the killer, whose chief weapon is a red and black ascot to strangle his victims. When a young college student discovers that she recognizes the murder weapon, she becomes a target of the killer and agrees with one of her friends, who is friends with their art history teacher, to stay at a local villa located on a nearby cliff.

However, the isolated cliffside villa offers no protection from the killer, who runs over the street vendor who he buys his scarves from and who tried to blackmail him for his silence. At the same time, a young college student who is obsessed with one of the four girls and has been actively stalking her (and wearing a similar red and black scarf) and one of the locals in town, go up to the villa to spy on the girls only to be ruthlessly killed. The young student who invited her friend to the villa breaks her ankle and a doctor gives her a sedative; as such, she is asleep when the killer makes his way into the house and kills the girls, including the one who can identify him. She wakes up in time to watch him dismember the bodies but hides to avoid detection. However, the killer locks the house, trapping her inside while he prepares to dispose of the body. When he realizes that the last girl is alive, he baits her into coming out of the room she is hiding in and reveals himself to her.

The killer is the art history teacher that the final girl had befriended. He is revealed to be insane and anti-woman, stemming from a childhood incident where as a kid, a friend of his stole a young girl's doll and placed it near the edge of the cliff. He would only retrieve it if the young girl let him see her naked crotch; she reluctantly agreed but at he stood over the edge of the cliff to retrieve the doll, the young girl freaked out and screamed, causing him to lose his balance and fall to his death. This led to him to believe all women are lying whores that use men and cause them nothing but death in the process. He reveals to his female student/friend that the first two victims were students of him who seduced him into a three way and then blackmailed him with the knowledge of the affair. He then killed the rest at the villa to cover his tracks and reveals that his scarf was the opposite color scheme of the male student he killed: black on red instead of red on black. However, as he begins to kill the young woman to ensure his crime spree is never exposed, her boyfriend shows up and after a struggle, kills the teacher.



Torso was released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2000 and on Blu-ray by Blue Underground in a new High Definition transfer on August 30, 2011.

Critical reception

PopMatters gave it a 7 out of 10 rating,[1] while Slant Magazine said it "pales next to director Sergio Martino's more inventive sleaze-thrillers (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark)".[2]

Alternate versions

  • The uncut version has been released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in widescreen and runs a couple of minutes longer, however the footage is in the original Italian having never been dubbed in English. The Blu-ray released by Blue Underground contains both the uncut Italian version and the shorter, English cut.
  • The film was heavily cut for its UK cinema release, and the 1993 video version also suffered 50 secs of BBFC cuts. The cuts were fully waived for Shameless Screen Entertainment's 2007 DVD release.

Alternate titles

  • Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence
  • Carnal Violence (Europe, English title)
  • Los Cuerpos presentan señales de violencia carnal (Spain, TV title)
  • Die Säge des Teufels (West Germany)
  • Torso (USA)
  • Torso: Ölene-ölüme- Kadar seks (Turkey, Turkish title)


  1. Bill Gibron (28 July 2009). "Thrills, Italian Style: Torso (1973) and The 10th Victim (1965)". PopMatters. Retrieved 17 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Fernando F. Croce (28 July 2009). "Torso". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links