There’s a fine line between imitation and inspiration, but the distinction is irrelevant if the project is executed with care. Admiring someone else’s style or talent and aspiring to replicate a fraction of their success is a worthwhile endeavour. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. In film, homages and references are common as masters of cinema set the standard for techniques and aesthetics in particular genres. The team at Astron-6
has made a name for themselves embracing formerly popular movie types and The Editor
is their latest project, recalling giallo cinema.
Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) was once one of the most respected editors in the business, but a film-cutting accident that claimed four of his fingers has left him struggling. Now he’s stuck working long hours on a trashy Italian horror production, while attempting to reconcile with his estranged wife (Paz de la Huerta). Circumstances are further complicated when someone begins murdering the film’s cast and the investigating detective (Matthew Kennedy) puts Rey at the top of the suspect’s list since the killer is similarly maiming his victims. Pressure to complete the movie while there’s still enough actors to finish it causes Rey to become unstable to the point that even he’s no longer certain of his innocence.
In addition to co-starring in the picture, Brooks and Kennedy also co-wrote and directed their tribute to the American slasher predecessor. The duo don’t stray from the giallo tradition, packing their film with bloody murders and excessive eroticism. Each death is accompanied by copious amounts of blood that sprays and flows in unbelievable quantities. Gratuitous sex scenes are sprinkled throughout the film, including a bizarre fetish session between the cop and his blind wife. Not stopping there, the filmmakers incorporate numerous other elements to match the genre’s aesthetic. The picture looks dated and is often lit with a red light to skew the image, and the soundtrack consists of a pulsing, electronic score. In addition, the voices are dubbed in spite of having English-speaking actors, recreating the effect of watching the poorly transferred original Italian films of Dario Argento and Mario Bava.
The film’s murder mystery plot is the foundation of a giallo picture, providing the basis for the rest of the elements to thrive. However, Brooks and Kennedy also add their own flavour of absurdity to the script. The detective character is grossly inept and often caught flirting with rather than questioning the witnesses. Likewise, Rey’s marriage is a farce ruined by his wife’s impractical expectations and definitions of manhood. Conversely, the hypersexual new leading actor is presented as a model of masculinity and ego.
One of the group’s best looking films, the effects remain practical which adds to the classic appearance of the picture. And a cameo by Udo Kier, horror icon and repeat Argento-collaborator, is the cherry on top of this homage to one of cinema’s most bizarre yet fascinating genres. This thoughtful satire
was programmed at the Fantasia International Film Festival
Directors: Adam Brooks
and Matthew Kennedy
Starring: Paz de la Huerta
, Udo Kier
andS Laurence R. Harvey