The Editor (2014)

He’ll leave you on the cutting room floor!

Back in 2012, a storm erupted in Melbourne, Australia, when five-man Canadian film collective, Astron-6’s Father’s Day (2011), was banned by the Australian Classification Board days before its Monster Fest screening, consequentially being pulled off the festival program. Now in 2014, Astron-6 are back in this year’s Monster Fest line-up with their anticipated follow up to Father’s Day, The Editor, a riotous, often hilarious, tribute to the Italian giallo pictures from the late 70s, a movement renowned by the work of directors Dario Argento, Suspiria (1977), Mario Bava, The Evil Eye (1963), and Lucio Fulci, The New York Ripper (1982). Written by Astron-6 members Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, and directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy, The Editor is set in either the late 70s or early 80s and focuses on a string of calculated murders that take place in a movie studio.

You've gotta hand it to Samantha Hill, she's got one hell of a scream!
You’ve gotta hand it to Samantha Hill, she’s got one hell of a scream!

Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) was once a distinguished film editor until the day his ego got the better of him. Attempting to cut the longest picture ever produced, Ciso, in the process, severs four of his own fingers and ultimately loses his mind in an effort to complete the task. Now equipped with an awkward wooden prosthetic and considered a ‘cripple’ by many, Ciso is reduced to editing schlocky low-budget horror flicks, whilst being held in contempt by his wife and former actress, Josephine Jardin (Paz de la Huerta). When several actors from the movie Ciso is cutting are found dead on, and around, the set, local inspector Peter Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy) is convinced that Rey is the man behind the killings, as each victim is found with their fingers missing. As the axing, chainsaw wielding, slaughter and mayhem spreads, Ciso, who is pegged as the prime suspect, must endeavor to clear his name before it becomes too late.

With its trashy, lurid and baroque aesthetic, The Editor is a truly inspired tribute to the giallo era, from its lavish production all the way to its intentionally poorly dubbed dialogue. Brooks and Kennedy visibly know their craft as The Editor melds psychological themes of madness, alienation, sexuality, and paranoia into its deliberately incoherent narrative. Iconic images of shadowy black-gloved killers, gruesome violence and large tarantulas will delight genre enthusiasts, while the film’s over-the-top gore and twisted plot should amuse newcomers to the Italian-inspired style of filmmaking. Furthermore, The Editor sports vivid colors, fetishist close-ups, perplexing framing and composition, all aiding the picture’s visually fantastic nods. Unafraid to blur the lines between comedy and thriller, The Editor is also bursting with crass dialogue, Euro-style car chases, male nudity, a bromance and all the stabbing and dismemberment synonymous with horror cinema, offering everything one might expect from a giallo flick. However, given its intentional lack of characterization and improbable dialogue, The Editor certainly won’t resonate with everyone, particularly in its attempt at mimicking the legitimately terrible giallo films; thus, The Editor is deliberately just as campy, coming across as a self-satirical venture.

'Back you Devils!'
‘Back you Devils!’

From its wardrobe and fashion, to the naked bodies walking around in the background, The Editor features a fun tongue-in-cheek cast, who believably appear to have stepped right out of late 1970’s European cinema. Adam Brooks shares an uncanny resemblance to Italian actor Franco Nero; Matthew Kennedy — complete with a phony mustache — is hilariously goofy as Inspector Peter Porfiry and Conor Sweeney — who literally bares all for his role — plays up the picture’s camp factor as the cocky actor, Cal Konitz, who is pleased with all the carnage, as each new corpse allows him more screen time in his upcoming film. Populated by an array of notable secondary players, the stunning burlesque-dancer-turned-actress, Tristan Risk, American Mary (2012), looks as alluring as ever, playing early victim, Veronica, whilst Laurence R. Harvey, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011), appears strangely comfortable portraying priest, Father Clarke. Giving the picture a sincere European flavor, Udo Kier, Blade (1998), is impeccably cast as madcap psychiatrist Dr. Casini, and relative newcomer, Samantha Hill is enthusiastic as Rey’s eager new editing assistant, Bella.

An intoxicating mix of retro inspired lounge music and nerve-jangling discord, the picture’s soundtrack, partly realized by Claudio Simonetti from Goblin — an Italian band of three whom are probably best known for their collaborations with director Dario Argento — along with Astron-6 member Jeremy Gillespie, adheres to its genre conventions, whereas the recorded off-kilter ADR is amusing without ever becoming overbearing or distracting. Sometimes surreal — the picture plays with the ambiguity of memory and perception — and other times immensely silly — clips of the fictional film being made are hysterical while hearing a ‘priest’ being repeatedly referred to as ‘wizard’ is sheer brilliance — The Editor pays homage to a number of pictures such as 1971’s La tarantola dal ventre nero, also known as Black Belly of the Tarantula, to 1975’s Deep Red, needles to say, there’s a lot going on in The Editor; Father’s Day fans, look out for an uncredited cameo by Mackenzie Murdock. Bellissimo!

If you can dodge a wrench ...
If you can dodge a wrench …

Once again, the multi-talented Astron-6 showcase their love for the golden age of old-fashioned cinema and VHS — evident in their earlier feats Manborg (2011) and Father’s Day (2011) — as The Editor is clearly more than just a simple parody. The troupe get a little more specific this time around focusing on the giallo period, either way, these guys know what their fan base are crying out to see and deliver the goods for the third consecutive time in a row. While not as impressive as Father’s Day, I firmly believe that Astron-6 have yet to create their masterpiece, although, there are moments in The Editor where the lads come awfully close.

3.5 / 5 – Great

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

The Editor is released through Monster Pictures Australia