DirectorAdam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy
Release Date(s)2015 (September 8, 2015)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: B
While the days of lampooning and paying homage to horror films of the past have run their course, you’d think that there wouldn’t be all that much left to tinker around with. Luckily, some new ideas float to the surface from time to time, such is the case with The Editor.
Most folks are aware of the giallo subgenre because of the popularity of the films of Dario Argento, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any Italian horror filmmakers who haven’t dabbled in it at some point in their career. Despite most of these types of movies managing to make their way across the Atlantic, they’re still somewhat obscure to the mainstream. They typically feature nonsensical plots about someone stalking and killing people in very graphic and violent ways, most of the time without any knowledge of the killer’s identity until the climax of the film. Meanwhile, police inspectors, private investigators, and news reporters look for clues as to whom it is, with red herrings being thrown out ad infinitum. Giallos also have a definitive style that sets them apart from other thrillers and horror films: POV shots of the murderer, deeply saturated color palettes, the aforementioned use of graphic violence, and heavy-handed hard rock/disco soundtracks. The Editor is a kind of broad summation of all of this.
Me trying to make some sense out of the plot of The Editor would pretty much miss the entire point. All you need to know is that it’s about a low-life film editor who is being accused of murdering many of the folks who are being slaughtered on the set of the movie that he’s currently working on. Meanwhile, a take-no-prisoners police inspector is avid to prove his guilt. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. What’s left is a series of scenes, dialogue exchanges, plot devices, and outcomes that don’t really make a lick of sense... that is, unless you’re unfamiliar with giallos.
The biggest problem I had with The Editor while watching it was its length. It’s only a little over 90 minutes, but at a certain point, it loses steams and begins to miss the point of what it was all about in the first place. Then again, parody in the YouTube age may make most accustomed to it in shorter bursts. The intention of the movie is not to be an effective horror/thriller, but more of an over-the-top, comedic homage. You could get a more comprehensible movie out of this, but again, it would defeat the purpose. It’s highly-stylized with its tongue planted firmly in cheek, and taking a knife to it almost feels like a waste of time.
One thing’s for sure though: The Editor is an excellent piece of parody filmmaking. There are plenty of laughs to be had, especially if you know the subgenre well enough, as well as the various nods to giallos of the past. It never manages to rise above parody and be its own thing, but what it gets right, it gets really right. I also don’t feel the need to critique the performances as they’re appropriately unhinged. There’s plenty of carnage, laugh-out-loud performances, copious amounts of nudity, and ridiculous dialogue. If you’re into that sort of thing, or just giallos in general, you’ll find plenty to like in The Editor.
As for Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release, it features a very healthy presentation of the film. It was shot digitally, which could be a detriment because if you’re going to a parody a film genre of this vintage, you maybe should go all the way with it. On the other hand, it still looks quite excellent. Because of the erratic nature of the film’s cuts and “splices,” it’s not a full-on clear picture. Like the material, it’s highly stylized, but what is on hand is still quality. Image detail is through the roof, especially considering how deep the blacks are, and how much shadow detail can be seen. Because of how sharp it is, close-ups can tend to reveal some of the phoniness from time to time. The color palette also features very robust and highly stylized colors, especially (as you might have guessed) reds, but also browns, blues, and greens. Contrast and brightness levels are also quite satisfactory. For audio options, you get English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD soundtracks. Since being as accurate as possible is important when paying homage, the 2.0 track is probably the way to go, but the 5.1 track has plenty to offer as well. Dialogue is very clean and clear, although because of the style, out of sync for a better part of the movie. Sound effects and score (the latter featuring the involvement of the great Claudio Simonetti of Goblin) also have plenty of room to not just breathe, but give the surrounding speakers plenty of bombastic opportunities. There’s also plenty of dynamic range, as well as some surprising low frequency activity. It’s a top-notch presentation, overall. There are also subtitles in English for those who might need them.
There’s also a decent amount of extras that are worth digging into, including an audio commentary with the filmmakers and stars of the movie Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, and Matt Kennedy; a Making Movies Used to be Fun featurette; an Intimate Conversation with Hook Lab About The Editor; an interview with Brett Parson about the film’s poster; the Astron-6 Film Festival Introduction to the film; and four deleted scenes.
The Editor isn’t perfect on all sides, but the look of the film, the nods to other films, and the overall style are really what count in a movie like this, and it’s all done splendidly well. I don’t think I would recommend it to non-giallo fans though. I think you have to know the subgenre a bit in order to get in on the jokes properly. But judging by the box art alone, it should be clear that you’re in for a good time with some good filmmaking to back it all up. And Scream Factory’s release of it makes it a package worthy of your time.
- Tim Salmons