Giallo films were murder mysteries that dominated Italian cinema that wasn’t dedicated to Spaghetti Westerns in the ’60s and ’70s. The movies featured disguised homicidal maniacs that wore black gloves and slashed away. Normally a witness to one of the early murders becomes an amateur detective hunting down the cops since the cops were inept. The best entries came from Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento with titles such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much, So Sweet…So Perverse, One on Top of the Other and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Forty years and an ocean away, The Editor revives the genre while having fun with the conventions. Astron-6 had scored a sensation with Father’s Day for Troma. Now they’ve returned proving they’re a creative force with a true cinematic flair. They spoof the Giallo while embracing it.
Once upon a time, Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) was the top editor in Rome. His hands shaped cinematic masterpieces. But then through a horrible and untold accident with a splicer, Rey lost all his fingers on one hand. He is reduced to making crummy murder flicks with his false hand slowing down the process. The good part is that he has a tempting assistant Bella (Samantha Hill) that wants to absorb his genius. Rey wishes he didn’t have a wooden hand as he fights the desire to slap her rump when she bends over to find a missing head or tail. But this isn’t a tribute to Italian Neo Realism with a focus on a one-handed ediitor coping with life. Very soon life imitates art as cast and crew get killed in various disturbing ways. Who is ruining the film? Is it secretly the editor? Police detective Peter Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy) suspects the editor since the killer is removing his victims’ fingers. But would a killer be so blatant to give away their identity so easily?
The film is great for fans of the genre. There are a few inside jokes from Argento films such a book title. There are cop gags that work better than anything in Naked Gun. The ripping off a “mask” moment is hilarious and grotesque. The comedy gets heightened since the scene takes place at an aerobics class. The inclusion of Paz de la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) as Rey’s washed up actress wife and Udo Kier (The Story of O) as the voice of sanity elevates the screen talent. There’s just so much to love and embrace on the screen. They get the small touches right including the huge blocky font type used for the credits. The soundtrack gets lost in the era with new music. They even play with the dubbing. Porfiry’s hair looks like a young Donald Sutherland. The ending wraps things up with the shocker that worked so well in the classics. It would be easy to describe this as a spoof of Giallo except it’s more like Astron-6 joined together to create the Giallo they wanted to see playing Cinema Overdrive. The Editor works on both levels. A viewer not familiar with the genre can easily be drawn into the action. The Editor cuts straight to what makes cult movie watching fun.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The colors are right for the genre including extreme lighting for the Argento effect. This has a sweet authentic feel. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Don’t get too unnerved if the lips and voices seem off. This is a tribute to the bad dubbing jobs done in Italy where they rarely had a microphone on the set. They also include a 2.0 mix. The movie is subtitled.
Making Movies Used to be Fun (51:03) documents the Astron-6 crew realizing their little joke project was turning into their next feature film.
Hook Lab Interview (7:49) allows Norman Orenstein and Trevor Tuminski to show off their soundtrack work. This is a comedy.
Brett Parson Poster Video (5:35) is a fine short film about how to get a poster made.
Astron 6 Film Festival Introduction (1:57) works for all screenings they can’t attend.
Deleted Scenes includes Nurses (0:44), Fantori Nightmare (1:29), Police Station (2:05) and
Bridge Confrontation (1:43). They really did shoot scenes with people merely moving their lips so dialogue can be done in post.
Audio Commentary with Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney and Matt Kennedy lets the Astron-6 guys reflect on going Italian.
DVD with everything on the Blu-ray.
The Editor pays homage to a genre with a film that deserves to be part of the genre.
Scream Factory presents The Editor. Directed by: Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy . Screenplay by: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney . Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Laurence R. Harvey, Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, Udo Kier. Rated: R. Running Time: 94 minutes. Released: September 8, 2015.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.