The Curator of Schlock #331
by Jeff Shuster

Torso

Also known as The Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence.

Indigo, Saffron, and Celestial are working my last nerve! Celestial means well, but she keeps insisting we eat legumes every night. Saffron needs a close encounter with a bar a soap. Indigo keeps going on about the moon landing being fake. I’m going to murder one of them before the week is out.

Speaking of murder, tonight’s Giallo movie is Torso from director Sergio Martino. The movie begins with a love scene between a man, two women, and some porcelain dolls. Or maybe I dreamt that. No judgements here. Except that porcelain dolls are creepy as hell and why do you want them as part of your sexual fantasy?

I have to say, I watched this movie twice and the first half is muddled in my brain. It takes place in the city of Perugia, Italy. Murder is afoot. A man in a ski mask is killing young women because he has a psychosexual disorder. He uses a black and red foulard to strangle his victims before mutilating their bodies. The police learn of his murder weapon and ask the local foulard salesman if he’s seen some suspicious individuals buying foulards. The foulard salesman says he has not. Then the foulard salesman calls up the killer, blackmailing him for a million lira.

This was the foulard salesman’s last mistake as the killer decides to chase the guy down with his car in the middle oof the night and ram him into a wall. Then the killer pulls away and rams into him again. Does he do it a third time for good measure? I don’t remember. I think he also slits the throat of the local peeping Tom who saw something he shouldn’t.

About halfway through the movie, I figure out the protagonist is a young American woman named Jane (Suzy Kendall). Americans tend to make out pretty well in these Gallo movies or, at least, they are the last to die. Jane has been busy attending art lectures at the local university with her friends, but they all decide to go to a secluded villa up in the mountains during their semester break. Jane sprains her ankle when the milk man shows up one morning. That evening she takes a sedative as prescribed by a handsome doctor from town named Roberto (Luc Merenda).

When she awakes the next morning, all of her friends are dead! Seems they answered the door after Jane had fallen asleep and let the killer with a psychosexual disorder inside the house. What’s worse is that the killer hasn’t left the premises. Jane hides when the killer comes back inside and has to watch as he saws the corpses of her friends into little pieces. It’s obvious the killer doesn’t know Jane is in the house, but how long until he finds out? We watch as Jane has to sneak around, trying to somehow signal someone from the outside world to come to her aid. I have to admit, it’s one creepiest situations I’ve ever seen in a movie.


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.