I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale aka Torso aka Carnal Violence (1973)

regia di sergio martino
compagnia cinematografica champion s.p.a.

When you select una giallo for your viewing pleasure, you might reasonably expect a stylish (and quite possibly stylized) engagement, with at least a veneer of sleek sophistication, plus of course sex appeal and suspense and suspicious activity in some proportion. This offering from “Island of the Fishmen” regista Martino tries to achieve most of these, failing for the most part to derive much brivido, lacking as his film is in that other important category, any actual story. While it’s not uncommon for the whodunit part of these films to conclude with headscratchers, this time around the unveiling of the culprit provokes mostly confusion as to the identity of the character. Once he’s placed, it scarcely suffices to validate the operation. In addition, little is done to asperse alternate potential perpetrators, although at least one other excellent option is extant. È quello che è.

why did i watch this movie?

I’m kinda a sucker for gialli, although they often irritate me. Their air of absurdist mystery always beckons, however.

should you watch this movie?

If you’re in dire need of visions of nubile actresses either in spogliarsi or in vestaglia – or in moda 1970s chic, for that matter – you might appreciate it.

highlight and low point

Well, the title translates to “The bodies display signs of carnal violence,” and that may be my favorite thing about this flick … even though it’s kind of misleading in and of itself. What appear to be squalid ruins host some sort of bacchanal. An extended section where our unknown malefactor decides he needs to hacksaw the corpses of three of his female victims, which action was unimportant to him with prior unfortunates, is typical of this feature’s scattershot approach.

rating from outer space: c−

American Nightmare (1983)

directed by don mcbrearty
mano films limited/manesco films ltd.

Like the preceding selection, this movie features a lot of footage of strippers, but this Canadian picture manages to do so without it feeling particularly sleazy or exploitative. (Of course, the synopsis “mysterious killer preys on strippers” probably didn’t hurt with potential investors.) There’s more of a working-class focus, really, but portrayed within usually seedy locales. This viewpoint may be especially evident in contrast with the moneyed interests represented across a wide family divide. Our moody pianist protagonist doggedly pursues faint clues until he uncovers a terrible secret, which ultimately serves to mask a sociopathy masquerading as altruism. Along the way, two damaged people learn a little bit about love. WILL they survive the experience.

why did i watch this movie?

I wanted to throw another ’80s picture into the mix, and I’d been putting this one off.

should you watch this movie?

It doesn’t especially stand out, though its sociological perspective on affluence (or the lack of same) is pretty interesting, given that it actually was produced in 1981. Plus its disdain for the American ruse, of course.

highlight and low point

As is often the case in this genre, after the big reveal, you’d be best served not to think about any of the ramifications of what you’ve learned. Canadian film fans might enjoy another pairing of Michael Ironside and Lenore Zann, though the former’s role is surprisingly unimportant in the long run and the latter’s only serves to propel a plot device. And for a flick in which the main character inquires, “Did your reports tell you that she’s living in a SLUM? Surrounded by DEGENERATES?” the treatment of its sex workers and other assorted misfits or marginal types is in large part nonjudgmental.

rating from outer space: C

Ghost Ship (2002)

directed by steve beck
dark castle entertainment/village roadshow pictures/npv entertainment

“An ocean liner – where did THAT come from?” Oh, where indeed, Ghost Ship, where indeed. For honest and for true, this horror actioner seemingly was inspired by the deathless Death Ship. Preposterous though that sounds, look at the poster – I know an hommage when I see one, man. And it opens very similarly, with a lavish party on a cruise ship featuring the staff mingling with their guests, and it’s extremely familiar when they first encounter the mysterious vessel that gives the film its imaginative name. Let the record reflect that the ship itself is not a ghost. At least, I don’t think so. It is, however, inhabited by ghosts. Well, at least three ghosts, anyway. The intrepid crew of the salvage tug Alaskan Princess – wait, sorry, “Arctic Warrior” – is unbowed, however, especially after they find the crates of gold. But would you believe things don’t go smoothly, may not be quite what they seem, etc.? You’ll see the SHOCKING ending coming far ahead of its arrival onscreen. You’ll also have predicted other “twists” along the way. The thing is, you’ve seen movies.

why did i watch this movie?

Sincerely, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could it really be, I wondered breathlessly.

should you watch this movie?

To repurpose a great Lester Bangs quip, if you’ve got any sense of humor or no standards at all, you’ll love it.

highlight and low point

It can be instructive to look at both the precedents and descendants of a piece of art so as to properly gauge its lineage. Therefore, it is with great delight, nay, the utmost glee, that I now relate to you that a scene in this motion picture was unmistakably replicated in 2010’s cinematic classic Piranha 3D.

rating from outer space: c−