I have been a fan of the Italian giallo subgenre for 30 years since my
initiation into it was precipitated by my first viewing of Creepers (1985), the severely cut version of Dario Argento’s Phenomena, my personal favorite film of
his. Subsequent viewings of films by
both Mr. Argento and his mentor, Mario Bava, as well as Lucio Fulci, Lamberto
Bava, Luigi Cozzi, and Michele Soavi solidified a love for the putrid and the
fantastic, and anyone who has seen these movies knows how delightfully
entertaining they are: off-kilter camera angles, ludicrous dialogue, and what
writer Todd French referred to as “a maddening narrative looseness” are present
in these films in a way that they are absent in other genres. There is just nothing like an Italian giallo film. With all of the mock horror films that have
been made going back to 1981’s Student
Bodies and the later, more contemporary and successful Scary Movie parodies, it was only a matter of time before someone
took on the giallo. Quite honestly I am surprised that it took as
long as it did.
Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks, who looks a lot
like Franco Nero in 1977’s Hitch-Hike
and also co-wrote and co-directed the film) is a film editor who actually cuts
movies on celluloid. Once a great editor
who worked with top-level directors, he suffered a tragic accident which cost
him four fingers and has been relegated to cutting movies with wooden
substitutes that look like they might be sound-designed by Jack Terry (John
Travolta) in Brian De Palma’s Blow Out
(1981). In fact, The Editor, which was shot in the summer of 2013, starts out much
the same way that Blow Out does, with
a movie-within-a-movie concerning a stripper who is accosted on her way home
from work (a nod to 1982’s Tenebre
when Ania Pieroni is attacked by a vagrant). There is a lot of blood as you can well imagine, and when the action
moves to the editor, we see a sad and decrepit man whose young, attractive female
assistant has the hots for him for some reason. His wife is a former actress who is beyond her prime and takes out her
frustration on him. If all of this
sounds depressing, it’s not, as the film is actually quite humorous in that
it’s a send-up of giallo films. If you are a fan of these movies to the same
extent that I am, you will recognize the obvious tips of the hat (or strokes of
the blade) to Mr. Argento’s Inferno
(1980) and Mr. Fulci’s New York Ripper
(1981). There are also myriad instances of silly dubbing (another staple of giallo), gratuitous nudity, and the
sound of the actors and actresses voices coming off as too theatrical and
forced. This is all deliberate as a
tongue-in-cheek salute to these movies that we love so much.
Now, unfortunately for Rey, someone is
killing people off all around him. Naturally he is the prime suspect, and a rookie detective (played by
Matthew Kennedy, who looks like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, who also co-wrote and co-directed
the film – do you see a pattern here?) is after him almost every second just
trying to pin the crimes on him. And
what would a giallo send-up be
without Udo Kier?
There is a conscious effort on the part
of the filmmakers to pay homage to the cinematography of this once great,
bygone era. The movie-within-the-movie
possesses a color palette that would do Luciano Tovoli and Romano Albani proud
as it harkens back to 1977’s Suspiria
and 1980’s Inferno respectively. The film is beautiful to look at in every
respect. Even the poster art is
gorgeous! It comes with a reversible
cover and I prefer the image on the inside which just screams “the 80’s”.
There are an abundance of extras in
this collection, and I appreciate the fact that Shout! Factory has done a
DVD/Blu-ray combo on this title. I
highly recommend The Editor for those
with a love for these films. The extras
Movies Used to Be Fun
(51:03) is a funny and entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Editor and reveals that most of the
people in front of the camera are also some of the people behind the
camera. Conor Sweeney, like the
aforementioned Brooks and Kennedy, contributed to the script.
(7:11) sits with Norman Orenstein and Trevor Tuminski in a comedic look at
their musical contribution to the film.
Parson Poster Video
(5:35) chronicles the agony that the poster artist endured trying to create the
film’s poster. Oh, the humanity!
Film Festival Introduction (1:57) is an annoying piece better left unviewed.
collection of several scenes cut from the film.
audio commentary with Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney and Matt Kennedy. I would advise you to watch the film first as
this contains many spoilers. It is also
a lot of fun to listen to.