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Editor, The

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
Scream Factory
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Adam Brooks
Matt Kennedy
Adam Brooks
Matt Kennedy
Paz De La Huerta
Bottom Line: 
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I love me a good giallo film. They’re just the right mix of violent, sexy, and downright insane, and the ones done right (Sergio Martino’s amazing Torso, Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plummage, Mario Bava’s hypnotic Blood and Black Lace) account for some of the best examples of suspense cinema. The bad ones, however, are still entertaining as hell, and, for the most part, and usually make up for their shortcomings with glorious amounts of skin, gore, and outrageous antics. With their origins in the pulpy yellow paperback books that serve as the sub-genre’s namesake (giallo is Italian for yellow, in case it wasn’t obvious) the films almost always follow the rules set forth in their print progenitors, with overly-macho leads, seductive-yet-submissive beauties, and convoluted plots teeming with red herrings, themes of adultery and/or perversion, and, of course, the greatest motivators of all, greed and revenge.

Of course gialli films are something of an acquired taste, and even the most ardent supporters will freely admit that the sub-genre’s head-scratchingly-silly plot twists, occasionally terrible dialogue, and slavish devotion to style over substance will certainly alienate some viewers. This is precisely what makes them such excellent candidates for parody!

Enter Astron 6’s The Editor!

Rey Ciso (co-director Adam Brooks) was once one of Italian cinema’s most sought after editors; a magician in the cutting room, his work was the stuff of legend. One tragic day, however, Rey’s life was changed forever when, during the editing of what would be his masterpiece, Rey lost all of the fingers on his right hand, and, subsequently, had a nervous breakdown that doomed his career. Now, years later, and fitted with a clumsy wooden prosthetic, Rey ekes out an existence cutting together low-budget exploitation films to support himself and his mercurial wife, Josephine (Paz De La Huerta).

When one of the actors in the film Rey is editing is brutally murdered and found with the fingers of their right hand severed, Rey is, of course, the chief suspect, and becomes something of an obsession for lead detective Peter Porfiry (co-director Matthew Kennedy) – a macho, misogynistic cop with an unhealthy sexual appetite and a penchant for slapping women. Rey, meanwhile, begins to have visions of the killer, and also starts to receive various bits of evidence in the guise of raw film footage of one of the murders – things he hides from Porfiry for fear that it will only make him look guiltier.  Rey’s assistant editor Bella (Samantha Hill), who has an unrequited love for the embattled editor, is convinced of his innocence, and hatches a plan to catch the killer in the act.

The Editor is not only one of the most impressive and effective horror parodies I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, it’s also one of the most visually arresting films I’ve seen in years. I mean, as funny and dead-on a satire this film is, it’s every bit as beautifully lensed, lit, and framed as some of its subjects best offerings! It’s got the theatrical, candy-colored lighting, gorgeous and atmospheric cinematography, and the set and costume design is so accurate that my wife – who had no idea I was watching a film made in 2014 – walked into the room and exasperatedly asked me “what stupid Italian movie” I was watching. When I told her it was a brand new parody made in Canada, she actually sat down and watched the rest of the film with me, absolutely floored by how much it looked like the real deal. I also noticed she laughed quite a bit, which I found especially interesting (insulting?) as she absolutely detests gialli movies. While I initially had had my doubts as to whether or not The Editor would be as effective on those of us who don’t worship at the altar of Bava, watching my wife laugh at the intentionally terrible dubbing, hilarious sex scenes, and gleefully over-the-top violence made me realize that both gialli enthusiasts and those who thoroughly dislike Italian horror in general could peacefully coexist and find much to love about this movie. Whoulda thunk it??

The Editor comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory, and is presented in an absolutely gorgeous 2.35:1 1080p transfer. As I already said in the review, this is a really beautiful film that’s saturated with a virtual Crayola box full of colors, and the transfer handles it all wonderfully. Being a digitally shot feature made to look “aged” in post processing, The Editor manages to look vintage while still retaining that digital sharpness and clarity that makes for some exceptional displays of fine detail, which, given the genre’s propensity for extreme close-ups and depth of field tricks, are readily apparent throughout. The accompanying 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track is rich and full, and really services the excellent soundtrack (which features Claudio Simonetti among others!), while dialogue has that “canned” quality fans of 70s Italian horror are intimate with.

Bonus features include a very entertaining commentary by Brooks, Kennedy, and writer/co-star Connor Sweeney (who plays the unstable actor Cal Konitz), as well as a lengthy behind-the-scenes documentary called Making Movies Used to be Fun, which features interviews with cast and crew, and delves into the story behind the making of the film.  

Also included is an interview with Hook Lab composers, Norman Orenstein and Trevor Tuminski, a short jokey interview with the amazing artist, Brett Parson (aka Deviant Art’s own blitzcadet), and a collection of deleted scenes.

While I wasn’t sure if The Editor would work for anyone outside of the giallisphere, seeing my wife’s reaction makes me confident that the film will entertain anyone who is at least familiar with the many conventions (and, for some, shortcomings) of Italian horror. Brooks, Kennedy, and Sweeney absolutely nailed it, here, with a giallo parody that is obviously the work of people who love the genre despite its...ummm… eccentricities, and have crafted a film that is as visually stunning as it is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s also kind of good giallo in its own right, which was a totally unexpected bonus. The Editor gets my highest possible recommendations!



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