Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Spooktacular # 8: Torso

I realize I said that gialli may not hold up perfectly in general upon repeat viewing, but this one actually managed to hold steady at about the same level of ability that I thought it had upon first seeing it. Part of that is no doubt due to how it mostly doesn’t seem to care about the required mystery of who the killer is, in favor of just giving us occasional murder scenes and filling the rest of the film with as many gorgeous women as it can fit in its running time. I for one salute them in their efforts.

The plot mainly concerns a killer who’s been murdering beautiful young women and cutting their bodies up near a university, so four girlfriends decide it’s high time they got out to a villa in the countryside until the killer is caught. Sadly, our heroine potentially knows too much about the killer, so he follows them there and wreaks further havoc. It's not the most elaborate plot, compared to some other gialli, but it serves its purposes well.

For one, it’s got an absolutely fantastic murder scene fairly early on. A woman walks away from a party, and after realizing she’s being followed, runs into a set of woods that are one of the great triumphs of location scouting. It’s one of those patches of woods where, upon seeing it, you’d never for a moment believe a series of murders hadn’t been committed there. There’s also a great bit of tension nearer the end, too, as another character has gotten locked in a room while hiding from the killer; thinking she’s finally safe, she slides a newspaper under the door and tries to knock the key out of the keyhole on the other side of the door onto the paper so she can free herself. We see from outside the key falling just off of the paper, and as she starts to pull it in to retrieve the key, the gloved hand of the killer helpfully places it on the paper so she can greet him.

See, it’s called Torso because he removes them from his victims.

This film is as trashy as they come, so it’s no wonder it was chosen by Tarantino as part of the double bill he showed all the actors in Grindhouse to get them prepared (the other film he showed was Zombie) for their roles. I wasn’t kidding when I said it flooded this movie with beautiful women. This movie has the most stunningly attractive ladies I have ever seen in a giallo, and if they spent any more time unclothed I’d probably have to tag this as porn. As it is, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable sexy thriller, the sort of film movies like Basic Instinct and Jade have aspired to be, but didn’t really match up to. If you’re in the mood for that type of film, this would be a fine choice to check out.

Rating: *** ½

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