Giallo, the beloved Italian horror sub-genre that served as the predecessor to the Slasher movie, continues to permeate in popular culture. Influencing auteurs from Brian De Palma to Hideo Kojima. Throwback films like Berberian Sound Studio and The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears continuing to drop within the last few years. The Editor serves as the culmination of any genre: the satire! Fittingly from the Canadian film collective Astron-6, the demented/hilarious minds behind the exploitation/revenge film salute Father’s Day and the 80’s fueled sci-fi/action parody, Manborg. Now they set their sights on Giallo and 70’s thrillers, with The Editor.
The story concerns Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks, co-writer/director), a brilliant film editor who lost his prodigious career when he accidentally lopped off the fingers on his right hand when the pressure became too much while editing. Presently with prosthetic fingers, he’s doomed to edit low-budget Giallo movies while stuck in a loveless marriage with his former starlet wife, Josephine (Paz de La Huerta) while pining for his enthusiastic assistant, Bella (Samantha Hill). When the oft-annoying cast of the film Rey is editing start dropping like flies on grey velvet, with their fingers cut off like his own, he becomes the main suspect in the killings. Inspector Peter Porfiry (Played by co-writer/director Matthew Kennedy) investigates with increased obsession and incompetence due to his own connections to the case. Hounding Rey to no end, sure either due to his own malevolence or madness, the editor is the true culprit. Now, Rey must prove his innocence… unless he actually is insane and on a murderous rampage!
The film hits upon just about every Giallo trope with blunt force strength. The killer being the atypical masked, trench-coat wearing figure with leather gloved hands. Glowing eyes in the dark. An absolutely delightful prog-synth-score ala Goblin or Fabio Frizzi. Every character seems to have a razor on them. Inexplicable sex scenes, the funniest involving Inspector Porfiry, his wife, and an anniversary cake. Political incorrectness is the norm, with women being slapped by men as casually as a high-five. Many scenes serving as well placed homages to the repertoire of Argento, Bava, and Fulci. Especially in the increasing surreality and illogical nature of the story, which in itself becomes a focus of the plot. Like Rey says, “We are all editors of our own reality” and what our eyes and ears see cannot be trusted. His editing station soon becomes a window to nightmarish visions, and every character involved without he mystery seems to have a different recollection on things…
The genre-centric supporting cast makes for a great backbone to the tale. Udo Kier appears as a succinctly creepy sanitarium doctor who describes most things as ‘weird’. Astron-6 co-writer Conor Sweeney plays Cal, the eccentric supporting actor for the film within the film. He has a large collection of knives/blades, and with each death, seems to get a bigger shot at the spotlight. Laurence R. Harvey stands out as a soft-spoken priest (Or ‘wizard’ as he’s repeatedly called by Porfiry) who knows a dark supernatural history to the world of editing. All make for players that fit different archetypes, with many acting strange for the sake of creating red herrings and clues that lead nowhere. As is typical in these sorts of mysteries.
The Blu-Ray/DVD comes packed with interesting special features. Such as a making-of documentary showing the hard work and effort that went into making such a film. As well as a short explaining the bizarre origins of one of The Editor’s posters, audio commentary, and several deleted scenes among other featurettes.
On its own, The Editor stands as a horror-comedy that can rely on eccentric characters, splatstick, and purposefully over-the-top dialogue (“It’s all so stupid, it makes me want to shoot you!”) to make a film that can be enjoyed even by casual horror hounds. The comedy is affectionate to the absurdity of the genre, and moviemaking itself. Much of the humor simply amping up the bizarre tropes and cliches to their illogical insanity. The movie is a bit more slowly paced than previous fare, but if you’re a fan of Astron-6 and Italian horror in general, the pay-offs are always worth the violent results. The Editor is a fun watch for fans, and those who are looking for a gateway into the crazy, bloody, sexy world of giallo!
The Editor comes out September 8th on Blu-Ray/DVD from Scream Factory!