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The Editor | Blu-ray Review

The-Editor-coverDirectors Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy, two of the five partners from the Canadian film production company Astron-6, have reunited from their 2011 effort Father’s Day (a feature co-directed by all five members of their collective) for The Editor. Another reconstitution of vintage genre cinema, this time around they satirize the more ridiculous elements of the once popular giallo movement of film, those Italian thrillers often dubbed in English which gave rise to horror auteurs like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino, Emilio Miraglia, Mario Bava, and a host of others.

Incredibly silly but with enough moments of bloody gore to appeal to audiences who might have no idea exactly what Brooks and Kennedy are aping, the film is filled with charmingly deliberate jabs at unintentionally ridiculous flourishes from a bygone era. While its own narrative is so over-the-top it’s almost not even worth recounting, the film is fun, fast paced and filled with its own original visual gags.

A once admired film editor, Ray Ciso (Adam Brooks) suffered a horrific accident which left him without fingers, replaced with a wooden prosthetic hand, drastically altering his film splicing skills. At the beginning of a new era in the early 80s, Ciso is forced into working at significantly reduced rates on trash films, left to support his once celebrated actress wife Josephine Jardin (Paz de la Huerta) on his meager salary. On the set of the new feature he’s editing, however, someone has begun murdering principal members of the cast, ruthlessly cutting fingers off the corpses, making detective Peter Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy) suspect the slumming editor. But several other crew members have something to gain as the body count grows.

Though The Editor has quite a few incredibly bloody sequences, it’s most entertaining when played as straight up comedy, such as an episode of hysterical blindness striking a woman following her discovery of two corpses on set. “Women’s eyes weren’t meant to see such things,” explains a doctor. Brooks and Kennedy aren’t so much playing with expectations but magnifying them, such as the deliberately clunky sound design, whereby actors’ voices are laughably altered, men reduced to monotonous baritones and women as vacuous ciphers.

The screenplay (co-written by Brooks, Kennedy, and Astron-6 member Conor Sweeney, who stars as the latent homosexual co-star who gets bumped up to male lead at the death of his co-stars) plays with the misogynistic tendencies of the genre, and expertly nails visual stylings, evidenced by blindness, nightmares, corny deaths (a face being ripped off in the film-within-the-film is impressive), and hopelessly convoluted plot twists.

Posters of famous giallo titles, real and made-up, are littered throughout the background, though curiously Brooks and Kennedy chose a more demure title for their homage. However, the inclusion of genre star Udo Kier, who appeared in one of giallo’s cornerstones, Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1976), and Paz de la Huerta (apparently she’s happier with her image here than the equally goofy Nurse 3D) certainly solidifies the film’s camp reputation (not to mention the inclusion of Lawrence R. Harvey, star of the last two Human Centipede installments).

Disc Review:

Shout/Scream Factory presents the film in high definition wide-screen 2.35:1. The title never received a theatrical release in the US (it premiered in the Midnight Madness line-up at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival), so at least it gets this proper home entertainment release, featured as a DVD and Blu-ray combination. Several special features are also included.

Making Movies Used to Be Fun:
This near hour long feature is a behind-the-scenes documentary of The Editor, as the filmmakers discuss the origins of the project. Cast members, such as Udo Kier, discuss their involvement, as well as the significant make-up effects that went into the film.

Several featurettes are available, include a conversation with Hook Lab and their soundtrack for the film. The musicians discuss working with the Astron-6. Cartoonist Brett Parson is on hand for a five minute segment on the poster art, while a mock film festival template intro for Astron-6 is also included.

Deleted Scenes:
Four deleted scenes, about eight minutes or so footage all told, are also included.

Final Thoughts:

Those unfamiliar with the type of film being parodied may feel lost, but even so, The Editor is silly and entertaining and filled with a passionate admiration for the films it’s modeled after.

Film Review: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆
Disc Review: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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