The giallo is a sub-genre of Italian horror cinema that is oft revered, mainly for the contributions of such legendary directors as Dario Argento, Mario Bava and even Lucio Fulci. However, for all their obvious artistry, there has always been an equal element of sleaze to them, and looking back on the idiosyncratic elements of this genre (gender politics, budgetary confines, the red herring laden almost nonsensical plots and the horrendous dubbing), some of these films can bring a smirk as much as a gasp of horror.

Astron-6’s The Editor is a film that celebrates this combination of horror and unintentional humour, able to stand as both gut-bursting spoof on, and a technically exquisite love letter to, a cinema that exists in such a unique hallucinatory bubble, the likes of which will never be seen again.

The plot finds Rey Cisco, a legendary film editor with an unfortunate handicap, thrust into the middle of a serial killer’s grisly frenzy. While editing a sleazy crime thriller film, Rey’s life is turned upside down when the members of the cast and crew are slain in horrific ways. In typical giallo fashion, everyone acts suspiciously as the red herrings stack up as greatly as the homoerotic and misogynistic undertones. When macho police detective Peter Porfiry takes the case, he focuses his attentions on the unassuming Rey, whose grasp on reality begins to slip as the forces against him move every closer.

As they have proved in the past with excellent low budget genre spoofs Manborg and Father’s Day, there is perhaps no film team in the world more capable to express bombastic parody of and a genuine affection for the material that inspired them than the Canadian collective, Astron-6. The Editor stands as their finest achievement so far, a film that perfectly lampoons the gialli, but never at the expense of these films, or more importantly, their fans.

The tongue is always firmly in cheek, and the comedic touches are ones that marvel at the faults or questionable material in the original works; there is a clear sense of fan service in not just the elaborate set pieces, but even something as simple as failed focus pull. As with their previous films, the combination of Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney in the central roles are an absolute delight to behold; they work so well in tandem, that you can feel the years of collaboration and carefully honed comic timing clicking as they play with the dated stereotypes of masculinity that abound in classic gialli, without ever sneering at them. Their energy and creativity bursts from the screen, as does all the contributions they play as the major players of Astron-6 (alongside Steven Kostanski, whose special gore effects are deliriously nasty).

Like with the grindhouse ode Father’s Day, Astron-6’s players manage to perfectly express the tones and artistic flourishes the giallo is most associated with, to create an enthralling and instantly recognizable visual world for the diehard fans. From the gothic moods of Argento and Bava, to the more stark contrasts of reality and surrealism in Fulci (in particular a blind woman whose eyes match exactly those of the iconic Emily in Fulci’s horror masterwork, The Beyond) and Martino’s work, it’s a tour de force of stylistic references, including the classic POV shots of the black gloved hands of the killer moving towards their (often exposed) victims, and even a hallucinatory sex scene that contains explicit reference to Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh.

The set design, lighting and, in particular the look of the characters (Director/star Adam Brooks’ tacky 70’s outfit and prominent facial hair conjure the image of George Lazenby in Who Saw Her Die?) are all exquisitely and meticulously constructed with knowledge and heart that is hard to be infused with geekish delight, such a deep level of reference is a joy for fans to see replicated, often with a sardonic or straight up ridiculous repositioning. Such detailed craft is reinforced by the terrific soundtrack, that draws on the synth fused rock of Goblin, the creeping strings of Bruno Nicolai, and the operatics of Ennio Morricone, creating an audio fever dream that only serves to plunge the viewer further into the vices of the Giallo world, and the joy of The Editor’s brand of celebration.

Astron-6 delivers on the promise that made their previous work so infectious with The Editor, an absolute wonder of a film that, for fans of gialli, is surely required viewing, and will only blossom with repeated viewings as the layers of its superior reference untangle like the plots of the classic giallo it so perfectly pays homage to. Ultimately, The Editor is a hilarious ode, packed with gore, unforgettable characters and most importantly, heart to go along with the brains and guts on display.

 

Frightfest Review: The Editor
A stunning ode to horror that should be seen by every genre fan
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)

About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk

  • PerfectJohn

    For someone with no prior exposure to giallo cinema, this review has guided me into its realm as smoothly as could be. I feel like I have read a literary teaser of the film, and now I really want to check it out! Great article, thank you for introducing me to new horror!