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Amanda Knox and the 70's Film "Torso"
There are some stunning similarities between the Amanda Knox case and the storyline to the 1973 horror/suspense film “Torso” (IMDb- Torso (1973)). However before discussing these similarities I must state that I believe Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to be completely innocent of the crime they are accused of. The forensic case against them is far from rock solid with the problem of DNA contamination being a very real issue. As the Knox defence team have always maintained it is highly likely that Rudy Guede had acted alone as he has never denied his part in the murder and has a history with the police of burglary and being caught carrying a knife. You have to ask yourselves what the most likely scenario is; that Rudy Guede was acting alone and was seeking to burgle the villa on the very night of the month when students gather their monies together
to pay the rent, or that Knox and Sollecito let Guede in through the front door for a drug fuelled sex orgy that resulted in murder as the prosecution in the case had maintained?
Let us recap on some of the key facts of the case. Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Meredith Kercher were all students at the university of Perugia, Italy. Knox and Kercher lived in the same villa overlooking the town. Amanda Knox was a foreign exchange student from America who had come to Italy to increase her language skills. The chief prosecutor in the case against Knox and Sollicito, Giuliano Mignini, had also worked on the notorious Monster of Florence case where a serial killer in the 70’s and 80’s had stalked the countryside surrounding the city of Florence taking the lives of young lovers. Among some of the bizarre claims made by Mignini during the Knox case was that somehow or other the murder of Meredith Kercher was connected to the Monster of Florence case. If you think this last claim sounds particularly crazy, in Italy it apparently makes perfect sense; the public and press alike are hooked on conspiracy theories and have an endless appetite for them.
And now to the plot of the film "Torso": a serial killer is on the loose in the town of Perugia, Italy. He is targeting students at the university of Perugia and the authorities at the university are quite concerned about this. The chief character in the film, Jane, happens to be a female American exchange student attending the university. The first female victim of the serial killer also happens to have the first name of “Florence”. The killer also uses the same modus operandi as the Monster of Florence in that he strikes in the countryside surrounding the town and spies on young lovers before first taking out the male to then turn his attentions on the female whom he mutilates with a knife. In both the film and in the actual Monster of Florence case, the killer makes a threatening phone call warning a witness not to speak out about what they may have seen.
A scene from the film. The students gather in the Piazza IV Novembre, the main square of Perugia.
If this wasn’t enough there are other spooky correspondences between the Amanda Knox case and the film. In the film the female students retire to a lonely villa overlooking the town and the killer follows them there. When the killer strikes at the villa one of the students escapes the onslaught because she is confined to her bed having injured a foot. This curiously echoes the circumstance that Meredith Kercher was alone in the villa with all the other students being out on the night in question. Also in the film the last survivor in the villa is locked in and knowing that the killer will probably return, makes efforts to conceal evidence of her still being in the house so as not to be discovered. In the Amanda Knox case, Knox and Sollecito were accused of arranging evidence to make it look like a burglary had taken place and also Meredith Kercher had been locked in her room at the time she was murdered.
The female students retreat to a lonely villa overlooking the town below to escape the panic at the university.
You have to ask yourselves what the chances are that this is all just pure coincidence? If in a completely different case of serial murder it was found that a film had been made some time previous in which the same modus operandi had been used by the fictional killer and in almost the exact same locality, people would inevitably ask questions. Indeed it is recognised that there have been actual cases where people have been inspired to carry out killings based upon the storyline of a film and have copied the film. So could the Monster of Florence himself have been inspired by the film “Torso”?
The Monster of Florence case is an extremely bizarre and controversial one itself. So many innocent people have been accused of being the Monster and either arrested or tried only to be later released. In total over the years four different people have been convicted of the crimes only to be either later released or otherwise vindicated. Even though the last killing was in 1985, a suspect in the case was being tried as recently as 2008 only to be found not guilty through a lack of convincing evidence.
Giuliano Mignini, the chief prosecutor in the Amanda Knox case and who also worked on the Monster of Florence case, meets members of the press.
Giuliano Mignini, the chief prosecutor in the Amanda Knox case, made the rather bizarre claim that the Monster of Florence killings had been carried out by Masons who were seeking body parts for sacrifice in their various ‘satanic rituals’ (groundreport - Giuliano Mignini, Ersatz Napoleon Chasing the Devil). Indeed because of some of the wild statements Mignini has publicly made accusations have been voiced in the US that he is mentally unstable (BBC News - Kercher prosecutor 'not unstable'.), however as stated previously such wild theories seem to be the staple diet of the Italian press and public alike these days and it is not just Mignini who peddles stories like this.
It is interesting that in the film “Torso” the lead character of ‘Jane’ is played by the British actress Suzy Kendall even though the film was originally shot in Italian before being dubbed into English. One of the other actresses in the film, Tina Aumont who played ‘Danni’, was also of American descent. In the film it is revealed that it is the students’ professor who is carrying out the killings and he is doing this because he has become the subject of a sexual blackmail plot by the first two female students he killed. The professor is also mentally imbalanced because of a trauma he experienced as a child in which he witnessed a friend fall to his death from a cliff.
Another scene from the film. It was the professor who was the killer all along, seen here talking to some of his students as they leave the university.
In conclusion we have to ask ourselves, does “Torso” represent a film which became true and ended up influencing real life events? Did the individual responsible for the Monster of Florence killings watch the film and copy what he saw and then twist around the two locations of Perugia and Florence through the name of the first female victim which happened to be ‘Florence’? Did hysteria resulting from the Monster of Florence case combined with shocking scenes from the film which is both set and filmed in Perugia, prejudice the trials of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito causing a miscarriage of justice? It is very much an open question but at the very least we have to acknowledge that the resemblance between the storyline of the film “Torso” and the Amanda Knox and Monster of Florence cases must be more than just pure coincidence.