MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Paz de la Huerta as JOSEPHINE JARDIN
Adam Brooks as REY CISO
Matthew Kennedy as PETER PORFIRY
Conor Sweeney as CAL KONITZ
Udo Kier as DR. CASINI
Laurence R. Harvey as FATHER CLARKE
Jerry Wasserman as POLICE CHIEF O’CONNOR
Samantha Hill as BELLA
Studio: Scream Factory
Directed by: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
BY KEVIN CARR
I have been a horror movie fan ever since I was young, and back in the 70s and 80s, I knew how difficult it was to see some of the more obscure movies that had been made. While VHS was coming into the mainstream in the 1980s, it was still rare to see a lot of movies that did not get a mainstream release.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was able to some of these obscure titles at all-night horror movie marathons put on by a local theater. Here’s where I saw the unedited versions of David Cronenberg’s early work as well as some foreign selections from Italy, China and Japan. The organizers of these events had an affinity to Italian horror films, so this is where I was introduced to directors like Dario Argento and Mario Bava.
While I was never a huge Argento fan, I have become familiar with some of his work over the years (including “Suspiria,” “Four Flies on Grey Velvet,” “Deep Red” and “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage”), and as a man in my 40s, I now appreciate these movies even if they aren’t my favorite films.
I may not be the biggest fan of giallo horror movies, nor have I even come close to seeing a majority of films in that category, I certainly have seen enough to enjoy Astron-6’s giallo tribute “The Editor.”
From a straightforward story perspective, “The Editor” is about a film editor who is left scarred after losing his fingers. He continues to work as an editor, but his best days are behind him. On the set of his latest slasher movie, a masked maniac is killing people. A police inspector suspects the editor, but there are plenty of other possibilities as well… including the police themselves.
To someone unfamiliar with the types of movies “The Editor” is honoring, this movie would likely make no sense. It takes place in the 70s, replete with all the outrageous fashions and styles. The movie is dubbed in English even though the actors also appear to be speaking the lines. Finally, the internal logic of the film is twisted and bizarre, and won’t make much sense outside of a dream.
However, to someone who has seen at least a few of these movies, it is clear this is exactly what the directors intended. “The Editor” doesn’t just pay homage to giallo horror; it is giallo horror made outside of its time. The film nails everything about the genre – including the bizarre overdubbed dialogue (originally done to hide thick accents, similar to what was seen in the spaghetti westerns), the harsh lighting choices, the dripping sexuality, the splattering gore, the dream logic and a soundtrack that hearkens to Argento’s glory days with Goblin.
I enjoyed this film more than last year’s giallo tribute “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” because it was sending up the silliness of the genre while paying homage as opposed to being so wrapped in the genre that it overdoes the self-importance. Fans of the genre should enjoy this as well.
There are really only two complaints I have, one of which is the running time. It may only be about 95 minutes long, but it still seems to drag in parts, mainly because the plot is so filled with dream logic that it plays more as a mosaic than as a traditional narrative. The only other issue I took with the film was the raw video look, which should be avoidable with the Red camera that they shot on. A certain amount of authenticity is lost without the grainy look of film from the 70s.
Still, these are entirely forgivable problems in the grand scheme of this movie’s otherwise dead-on tribute to an obscure horror genre.
While not completely loaded with bonus content, there’s quite a few tidbits in the special features menu. The hour-long documentary “Making Movies Used to Be Fun” gives an intimate look at the filmmaking process from conception to finish, including all the ugly things that happen behind the scenes. This is at least a nice substitute from a commentary, which is lacking on the disc.
Additional features fall into the somewhat bizarre and weird range, including an interview with Hook Lab, who contributed to the Goblin-esque soundtrack of the film. It’s a stream-of-consciousness delivery of the interview which is more intriguing than informative. There’s also an interview with Brett Parson, who developed one of the many grindhouse-style posters for the film, also presented in a dream-logic manner. Finally, Astron-6 included VHS “generic” film festival introduction.
Rounding out the special features are four deleted scenes, which make about as much sense as the rest of the movie (but were likely cut for time more than coherency’s sake).
Ultimately, “The Editor” is an impeccably made tribute to giallo horror films of the 70s, with a dash of body horror thrown in. To the average mainstream moviegoer, it’s going to be hard to digest, but to the fan of giallo – or at least someone familiar with the genre – it’s a hell of a lot of fun.