Carnal Violence (Torso/Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale, I) (1973) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio
Trailer-Demons 3 (The Ogre), New York Ripper
|Year Of Production||1973|
|Running Time||85:18 (Case: 94)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Sergio Martino|
Luciano De Ambrosis
Guido De Angelis
Maurizio De Angelis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.70:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
B****es, b****es…they’ll do anything to get what they want!
In the late 1970s many curious filmgoers received their first sweet taste of a contemporary anti-Hollywood horror production when Dario Argento’s Suspiria was unleashed to theatres across Australia. Audiences were mesmerized by the uncanny, sweeping camera work and shrieking soundtrack that brought his tale of witchcraft out of the nightmare realm and onto the silver screen.
Eager to seek out earlier works by this Italian master of the macabre, enthusiasts were then introduced to the urbane world of the Giallo through such Argento films as Deep Red, Cat o’ Nine Tails and Bird with the Crystal Plumage. But while Argento focused more on editing and mood, the basic elements of the Giallo rapidly evolved to suit the demands of its increasing soft core audience.
Typically, the plot of a Giallo involved a mysterious knife-wielding, black-leather-gloved killer. The face of the murderer always remained unseen as he (or she) stalked and preyed upon stunning young women. Filled with red herrings, the story’s “shock” ending revealed the killer’s identity and motive which was often tenuously linked to a childhood trauma. The narrative was driven by lavish amounts of nudity, sex and highly stylised violent murder sequences. These key devices were all luridly held together by startling camera work and striking musical arrangements.
Although fans spent a small fortune on importing uncensored, murky second or third-generation copies of films like Strip Nude for Your Killer, Black Belly of the Tarantula, Short Night of the Glass Dolls, Bloodstained Shadow and Carnal Violence, they certainly believed it was worth the expense and effort to marvel at this new form of stylishly erotic, violent cinema.
With its captivatingly sensual soundtrack, exotic location, copious amounts of female nudity and interracial lesbian sex scenes all fetishistically swathed in a thinly veiled whodunit, Sergio Martino’s Carnal Violence is a Giallo that devotees affectionately hold close to their libidinous hearts.
When a black-gloved killer goes on a slaughtering spree at a college campus, Jane (Suzy Kendall from Bird with the Crystal Plumage) and her two lesbian friends Katia (Angela Covello) and Ursula (Carla Brait) decide to chill out for a weekend in an isolated country villa. However, the killer is in tow and plans to stab them to death and then remove their body parts with a hacksaw to satisfy his disturbed psychosexual needs.
The cinematography was perverse enough to have women dismiss the film as a misogynist piece of Euro-trash on its initial release. However, most male fans were unsurprisingly titillated by the voyeuristic and exploratory playfulness of the camera. One particular scene has the roving eye of the lens peer up between the legs of young woman wearing only hot pants as she provocatively dances in a pot-induced haze to a sexy musical number.
While the first hour obligingly showcases the gorgeous women and a few gory murder set pieces, the final twenty minutes is a tightly paced, thrilling cat-and-mouse affair. Suzy Kendall is remarkable as the sweaty, de-glamourised damsel in distress attempting to hide herself from the killer who is unaware of her presence. The camera claustrophobically frames her exasperated responses while she struggles to remain quiet and unseen.
Carnal Violence is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.70:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The IMDB lists the original widescreen ratio as 1.85:1, but considering the Region 2 Italian release is endorsed by Sergio Martino and is the same as ours, I’m willing to accept that our edition is presented in the Director’s intended widescreen format.
For its age and obscurity this is a very crisp looking print. It’s only marred by an intermittent, irritating flicker around static images. This is quite noticeable on the highly detailed shelving within the country villa (59:29 and 63.58) and when a woman’s dead body appears to vibrate (61.16).
Shadow detail is very good, but the gloomy forest sequence is quite murky (19:00). However, this was most likely due to poor lighting rather than a problem with the transfer.
Black levels are deep and penetrating with no signs of low level noise.
The rich colour palette is generally bright and vivid, but red does tend to appear oversaturated.
The print used is showing tell-tale signs of wear with very small white speckles cropping up frequently, but is not too distracting.
The English-only 2.0 mix is a disappointment. The fantastic soundtrack by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis could have done with a judicious digital overhaul.
The sensual theme, which incidentally is played by Suzy Kendall on the piano and inspires a tender moment between the lesbian couple (55:46), is tainted by a horrible audio wrinkle when heard over the opening and closing credits and start-up menu. The notes suddenly go out of tune like the sourced tape was stretched or twisted.
There’s also an irritating hum embedded within the audio. It’s only really noticeable during quiet moments, but along with a number of distracting clicks and pops, it is indicative of the poor audio source.
Like Jess Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos, the soundtrack in Carnal Violence has a constant provocative presence and adds the right grammar to erotically enhance particular scenes. For example, the bongo and guitar music heard during the pot-smoking orgy sequence (16:24) is seductive, but unfortunately lacks a satisfying fullness.
Being a two-channel mono mix, the surrounds and subwoofer are silent.
The dubbed dialogue is quite bearable and the voices suit the characters. Lip movements are fairly evenly matched, but often the dialogue is soft and muffled so you have to concentrate hard on the spoken word.
|Surround Channel Use|
A series of 10 high quality window-boxed stills from the film.
Demons 3 – The Ogre (2:36)
New York Ripper (3:17)
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced Region 1 Anchor Bay release was once thought to be the definitive version of the film until eagle-eyed fans noticed that a scene during the opening sequence and some music from the soundtrack was missing.
Fans have also complained about the fact that during English-language playback on the Anchor Bay edition some of the audio was not dubbed into English, so the English subtitle stream has to be turned on during playback. Our Region 4 edition does not have an English subtitle option which suggests that we have a version that does not include these Italian-only recorded scenes.
The X-Rated PAL Kult DVD from Germany has the same audio issues as the Anchor Bay edition. The German subtitles have to be activated so the Italian-only scenes can be understood by German speaking fans. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced, but contains the following bonus features:
• US, Italian and German trailers
• US, Italian and German opening credits and US closing credits
• 10 isolated music tracks
The best and most complete version available appears to be the Region 2 Italian Alan Young Pictures release. It has a bundle of bonus features including:
• Director audio commentary
• Alternate opening and closing credit sequences
• Sequence comparison involving natural and filtered light featurette
• Photo gallery
It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.72:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Although it has both an English and Italian language option, the bonus features are in Italian only.
Overall, regardless of its faults, the best version available for English speaking fans is the Region 1 Anchor Bay release.
Carnal Violence has enough sordid charm and suspense to satisfy those wanting to be thrilled by a bit of 70s Euro-sleaze. However, it appears that we may have a shorter version than that released in other regions and our edition may be trimmed of some gore and sex scenes.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|