A one-time (and now one-handed) master film editor toiling in the cinematic sweatshops of 1970s Italy becomes the prime suspect in a series of brutal murders.
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★★★★★ review by Jim Drew on Letterboxd
"The Editor, a 70s Italian giallo-inspired comedy in which a one time (and one-handed) master film editor becomes the prime suspect in a series of brutal murders."
The above synopsis sounds like my perfect film to be honest. I'm very keen on the Italian sub-genre of leather glove clad murderers, incredible soundtracks, 'interesting' plotting and much more besides. That this film is made by no-budget masters Astron-6 probably made this one of the most-anticipated movies for me in recent memory.
It lives up to internal fevered hype.
Adam Brooks plays sadsack editor Rey Ciso, a film-cutting maestro reduced to working on genre pictures after an unfortunate editing accident. Rey's psyche spirals downwards just as bodies start to pile up. Suspicion naturally falls on him as Matthew Kennedy's detective Peter Porfiry investigates. Impossibly masculine, Porfiry serves as a further depressing figure for our poor protagonist. 3rd Astron member Conor Sweeney appears as 'actor' Cal Konitz, again displaying high levels of manhood (in more ways than one) that cannot help Ciso's fragile mindset.
While this is an extremely devoted stab at mimicking these films with many a reference to different Argento or Fulci films, The Editor is still infused with the broad and sometimes hyper-weird comedy beats we expect from these guys. One of the most repeated style of gags is the gentle mocking of both the macho posturing and the troubling misogyny often flaunted by the Italians in this era. It is very very funny and you question yourself for liking these films. But when they so brilliantly ape the lush cinematography, the tense scary music (Claudio Simonetti joins the gang!) and the bloodletting, you're reminded why you do.
This modern habit of making films appear retro with their looks or their sound has broken into the mainstream the last few years and shows no sign of slowing down. But nobody quite does it like Astron-6. The craft is finely tuned and you don't even need to squint to kid yourself that it could be the real thing.
★★★★½ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd
Astron 6 <3 <3 <3 How can I not love the hell out of those guys?
The Editor is a horror comedy that makes fun of Giallo and Italian Splatter movies. The references are pretty easy to discern and this lack of subtlety keeps those references from being too obscure; I am not an expert on giallo, so it was actually great that I could get the jokes and recognize which movies and directors they are making fun of. In addition to their spot on sense of black comedy, there are great characters, the synthwave soundtrack is perfect and the whole visual style is awesome, even better than Father's Day. I might even raise my rating in a second view with subtitles on!
★★★★½ review by Jeremy Milks on Letterboxd
Hard to describe how much I loved this. When you can seamlessly incorporate scene recreations of both New York Ripper and Hitch-Hike into your plot and then top it with a climax that's a direct homage to Argento's Inferno, you have my full attention. A lot of people don't like self-aware throwbacks (in this case a parody), but this is how you do it right. It's made even more obscure by being totally devoted to referencing Italian horror and exploitation, meaning this had no chance to make any money or find a wide audience. The old cliche about a "labor of love" applies here. The directing team of Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy made 2011's nasty Father's Day, which I really liked but this is on another level. Other direct references I could make out: House By The Cemetery, Tenebre, Videodrome, The Beyond, Murder Rock, Zombie, Suspiria, Black Belly Of The Tarantula and probably dozens more. A horror nerd's buffet.
★★★★ review by The Spork Guy on Letterboxd
After waiting for this to come out for so long, slight expectations had begun looming over Astron 6's newest cinematic venture. A few things even happened during its delayed release to shake those expectations up a little bit: "Nurse 3D" had come out and completely wasted the career of Editor star Paz De La Huerta, and the whole over-the-top 80's revival comedy had become the most common trend since mustache beer rings were in 2010, making the top selling point of this film fit in rather than stand out. I now knew what I was up against when viewing this and I'm quite happy to say that it still didn't disappoint regardless. "The Editor" is a Giallo inspired murder mystery revolving around the life of a film editor at a dingy horror film studio. Having a reclusive and depressing life to call his own, the whole loner in society labile makes him a prime target to be a murder culprit.
This stylish who-done-it doesn't just showcase tons of great practical gore effects and erie lighting set ups for the shock alone. Having Astron 6 behind the wheel, you can also expect lots of... well I don't know if you can call it comedy, but laughs. The laughs are there alright. Throughout the film, there about 4 instances in which the film either cuts to a flashback or spontaneously shifts tone mid-scene, thus entering into an indescribable and unexplainable sequence of complete off the wall randomness. Don't get me wrong, these trademark Astron moments are hilarious, but just know before you watch this that not everything makes sense in their world. Not at all. But it's also the little things such as this that truly make their film stand out from the crowd, at least to the extent it needs in order to survive amongst heavyweight contenders like "Kung Fury".
If you enjoyed "Berbarian Sound Studio" for its atmosphere and/or point of view from a post production artist's perspective, this film should tickle that same fancy. I loved the production design, dark humor and references to the greats like Lucio Fulci. Also, it scores further points for knowing it doesn't need to add CG film grain in order to make it a throw back to Grindhouse era shock and terror. It's time for that gimmick to die. Astron 6 is rather disliked by quite a few these days, but hopefully this will be a slight shift toward a revitalization of their careers, taking work a little more seriously while growing in subtle talent. I look forward to seeing their future work and hope that it all releases on time for now on, cause I'm selfish with my time like that.
★★★★★ review by Hentai Cop on Letterboxd
After seeing this for the second time this weekend I'm confident in saying that this is a masterpiece and without a doubt the best film of the year. Astron6 have done it again, and this definitely their strongest effort so far.
Matt Kennedy and Adam Brooks have perfectly captured the spirit of gialli films and their passion is on full display in The Editor. The film follows the titular editor, Rey Ciso, who is suspected of committing the murders of the cast and crew of the film he is working on. The films plot recalls great gialli, such as Cat in the Brain, while the look of their on plays homage to everything from House by the Cemetery to The New York Ripper. Astron6 perfectly captures the lighting of gialli cinema, with the bright saturated colours, and the camera movements are spot on, with lots of snap zooms and suspenseful uses of camera depth and negative space.
The authenticity doesn't end there though, as the film was recorded without sync sound, as were all Italian films of that period, which means that the dubbing and Foley work here is perfect. An early scene in which Tristan Risk scares her costar has such perfectly authentic dubbing that it would be indistinguishable from something by Argento (it made me nostalgic for when I first saw Suspiria). It's shocking how authentic this film feels.
And of course Astron6's trademark style of humour is on full display, although perhaps less absurd than their short films or Father's Day. Every joke landed for me, and seeing this with an audience was great--everyone was very vocal and laughed a lot at the assortment of strange and sincere jokes. As parody this film works perfectly, since the film makers are clearly very serious about the genre and want to show respect for it. The parody elements mainly focus on the typical tropes, including the misogyny on display in gialli (lots of gags involve slapping women).
Not only is the movie funny though; the story is brilliant and relies heavily on intertextuality. The whole plot mirrors the film that the editor is working on, Tarantola, and the smallest details are referenced as the film goes on, with lots of parallels between the film's reality and the film within the film (the actual film is even edited by Rey Ciso/Adam Brooks). In details are further references to the classics, including a Three Mothers book, and these small details add a lot to the atmosphere of the film and its sincere appreciation for classic gialli. There are some great action and suspense sequences, set to brilliant scores by Claudio Simonetti, Jeremy Gillespie, and other great artists (all of which was composed for the film). The ending is also unexpected and fantastic.
Astron6 are by far the most interesting film makers happening in genre film right now. If you aren't following their films, then you're missing out big time. The Editor is a masterpiece, their best film so far, and it needs to be watched in a theatre.
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