Torso (1973) movie poster

director Sergio Martino
viewed: 07/03/2017

It’s easy to see why Sergio Martino’s Torso is so notable a giallo and proto-slasher. Interestingly, it’s not so much the gore but rather the way that the violence is played out, setting up ideas that would transform into the slasher tropes, while in its own way keeping a foot very firmly on the traditional giallo landscape.

It’s a world of mass misogyny, though it would take a closer reading of the film for me to glean exactly where Martino falls in his agreement or disgust with such a thing. The open sexuality of the post-1960’s has given license to perverts to leer and grope, expectant that all women are there for the taking…and if not: hack ’em up! The misogyny of the backstory of the killer is so bizarre and absurd that it’s almost inherent parody.

Sergio Martino’s films I’ve seen have ranged broadly in quality. Torso seems the most complete and significant. Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) was also good, but The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) and Island of the Fishmen (1979) were much less so. Maybe more of his gialli were worth seeing. I guess I’m still constructing a sense of him as director.

And Perugia, Italy? Amazing city.