The Editor (2014). Directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy. Zany off-the-cuff Gonzo slasher film that pays homage to Giallo films from the 1970’s and 1980’s.
In Astron 6’s masterpiece, we meet the world’s greatest film editor, Rey Ciso. Or at least he WAS the top of the heap until accidentally cutting off four fingers in a tragic editing accident.
Now his severed digits have been replaced with virtually useless wooden fingers, he’s unhappily married to a bitter, delusional unemployed actress and working on sleazy giallo pictures for a lowbrow producer. To make matters worse, Rey sometimes slips into a phantom dimension full of flying celluloid strips and clanking gears, and somebody in a black overcoat has been slashing through the cast and crew of Rey’s latest film. The only real light in this editor’s life is his assistant Bella, who is both beautiful and totally in love with Rey.
The film within a film that Bella and Rey are working on follows a tall female slasher wearing dark sunglasses and an overcoat whom injects her victims with a paralyzing agent and places tarantulas on their bodies before delivering the killing blow. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly more absurd and fantastic. For example, two police officers enter an aerobics studio after spotting a woman working out while wearing dark shades. They are convinced they’ve found their killer and attempt to pull the unfortunate woman’s face off because they think it’s a mask. They succeed, with gruesome results.
In the real world, Rey is lonely and ashamed of how far he’s fallen. His wife Josephine falls in love with the images of the actors he works with and bitterly muses about her former glory, well, when she isn’t spending Rey’s money. Their apartment is a perfect example of late 1970’s European design. It’s straight out of any early Argento film.
The actor’s voices are dubbed over with the standard “American accent” often heard in foreign films of the ’70s and ’80s. The lighting and soundtrack also perfectly capture the time period.
In Rey’s professional life, he’s surrounded by callous morons who refer to him as “The Cripple” and spend their spare time screwing each other. If you’re offended by male and female nudity, graphic sex scenes and women being repeatedly slapped, stay away. The film pokes fun at the undercurrent of misogyny that exists in these type of films.
In a typical giallo, the victims are beautiful models, beautiful prostitutes, etc. that are being punished by a sexually frustrated psychopath with a straight razor. He’s not out hunting down dudes. “The Editor” has great fun with the social mores of the time, particular in the way men interact with women.
It also contains a number of Easter eggs referencing other horror films.
Josephine is seen reading a book called “The Three Mothers” by Lilith Samael. Lilith was the First Woman to be created, but ultimately rebelled against Adam and fled to the Red Sea, where she wed Samael and gave birth to demons. Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers Trilogy” chronicles the evil of three ancient witches in “Suspiria,” “Inferno” and “The Mother Of Tears.”
Bella attempts to have Rey deflower her after professing her love, but he rejects her. She emits a crazed and totally inappropriate scream in a rather odd standing position that fans of ’80s slashers might recognize from the final scenes of “Sleepaway Camp.”
A woman who happens upon a murder victim is afflicted with “hysterical blindness” and pale irises. She looks almost exactly like the blind woman is Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond.”
But what about the gore?
It’s freaking ridiculously awesome! All practical makeup work pays off beautifully. The blood flows and splatters, various appendages are severed, faces are ripped off, hands are viciously stabbed as victims try to fend off death. No CGI bloodsplurts here folks.
The police, in the form of extremely dim Inspector Peter Porfiry, aren’t much help in solving the case. Peter is married to an actress working on the film, who is the daughter of the local police chief. He is also the former lover of the lead actor’s girlfriend, who reveals that Peter has some odd habits during lovemaking. At one point, getting ready to do the deed with his wife, Peter shatters a wine bottle and throws the pieces at his lover, then hurls a birthday cake at her neck, and finally rubs the chocolate innards all over his face while screaming at the top of his lungs beneath a gigantic portrait of a fully clothed Peter and his nude wife laying atop a tiger.
Seriously. I’m not making this up.
Peter’s investigation leads to a mental asylum lorded over by Dr. Casini, the great Udo Kier himself. Though he isn’t in the film for very long, it’s icing on the cake. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up and Peter focuses his attention on Rey, even when glaringly suspicious folks begin popping up out of the woodwork.
If you like absurdity (where did that cake COME from?), slow motion gun battles, sweet car chases, ’70s porn mustaches, incredible gore, Steenbeck editing machines, tarantulas, cursed books filled with powerful evil, chainsaws, seeing eye dogs, Udo Kier and dream logic, you’re gonna have the time of your life with this superb nonsense.