The Editor (Scream Factory, NR)

The Editor 75You need to be in a midnight-movie frame of mind to really appreciate this film.





The Editor 500

Many horror fans reserve a special place in their heart for the giallo, a type of film made primarily in Italy in the 1960s and later. The genre’s greatest proponents include Mario Bava and Dario Argento, and while their films (and others in this genre) were not always great, or even good, they did tend to make an impression on the viewer. Story and character development were generally secondary to sensation, with every effort made to both titillate and horrify the viewer (lots of female nudity and graphic amputations), and madness was also a recurring theme. In addition, most were made on a low budget, and expected their viewers to overlook things like terrible dialogue, bad dubbing, awkward cuts, and bizarre lighting schemes.

The giallo films influenced more mainstream movies as well, with an obvious recent example being Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. But Aronofsky drew on giallo conventions the way Shakespeare drew on aspects of Elizabethan popular culture, using them in the service of creating a much more refined and highbrow work of art. The creators of The Editor, a 2014 film directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy, have done something different: they made a giallo about the making of a giallo. I’m tempted to say that The Editor is a parody of giallo, but the truth is that the genre is so over-the-top to begin with that it’s pretty much immune to exaggeration.

Rey Cisco (Adam Brooks) is a film editor whose career took a nosedive after he chopped off four of his fingers with a paper cutter (and this being a giallo, you get to see this scene, complete with obviously fake prostheses and lots of bright red blood), and is now reduced to working for a studio that makes exploitation horror films. When people start turning up mutilated and dead, suspicion is directed at Cisco, in part because he’s a general weirdo who is in the studio a lot (such is the life of an editor), and also because anyone with a cheesy mustache like his could be guilty of anything. The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s true to the conventions of giallo, and there are cameo appearances by Udo Kier and Laurence R. Harvey.

If you like the genre and the snake-eats-its-own-tale nature of the setup, you will probably love The Editor. On the other hand, if you have limited patience for non-ironic giallo films, this one will probably stretch your patience to the breaking point. It’s not as much fun as it should be, and while you can certainly admire the skill of the filmmakers in adhering to giallo conventions, you need to be in a midnight-movie frame of mind to really appreciate this film.

Extras include a commentary track by Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney, and Matt Kennedy, four deleted scenes, the making-of featurette “Making Movies Used To Be Fun” (51 min.), interviews with the poster artist (5 min.) and the editing lab (7 min.), and a video introduction to the Astron-6 Festival. | Sarah Boslaugh

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