Over the past few years, the Canadian collective known as Astron-6 has churned out a couple films that became certified cult classics: Father’s Day and Manborg. For their latest, The Editor, writers-directors-stars Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy have raised their own bar with a giallo homage that’s easily their best work to date.
The Editor nails the classic giallo tone – infused with gruesome murders, the occult, and, of course, plenty of sex – while also crafting a brilliant comedy that could stand as an entry into the very genre it’s homaging. The familiar themes of madness, paranoia, and sexual obsession are all there. Scene after scene, bit after bit are filled with details harkening back to the ’60s and 70s. From the bold music cues to the stylish fluorescent lighting, The Editor is a riotous feast for diehard giallo fans and laymen alike. This is how you do a horror spoof – take note, Wayans Bros. and whoever the hell is in charge of the Scary Movies now.
Adam Brooks plays the titular editor – real name Rey Ciso. Years ago, he was driven mad while cutting a film and accidentally sliced the fingers off of one of his hands. Now he works with a fashionable glove fitted with wooden fingers, but it’s hardly the same. “These damn wooden fingers,” he moans, while trying to light a match. At work, Rey’s besieged with criticisms from the studio’s sleazy director and its devilishly handsome wunderkind, Cal Konitz (Conor Sweeney). At home, his wife Josephine (Paz de la Huerta) resents him as she longs for stardom and a good roll in the hay.
When bodies start piling up with their fingers detached, Rey is the main suspect. The investigator assigned to the killings is Peter Porfiry (Kennedy), a man who’s “seen the darkness and lived tell the tale.” When he’s not slapping women in the face, the murder case drags him deeper into darkness. Not even a lowly wizard, I mean priest (Human Centipede 2’s Laurence Harvey), dares to discuss the secrets of the editor. As fantasy and reality begin to merge for both Rey and Peter, The Editor travels down some bloody violent and hilarious roads.
I can’t talk about the plot any further without blowing some moments that’ll shatter most funny bones. I will say that Kennedy, Brooks, and Sweeney have their comedic timing finely tuned to a sharp edge. The irreverent exchanges these three share are bitingly funny. I found myself rewinding a lot of scenes. I can’t wait until this gets wide release so kids will start quoting it all over the place. Nobody’s the straight man either, so the offbeat humor is unrelenting throughout. Pay attention once in a while to the extras floating around the background too – there’s a whole lotta funny shit going on back there as well.
And don’t get me started on the sex scenes.
While The Editor stands as a fantastic pastiche that blends familiar elements from the gialli, it also feels startlingly original. It’s bigger and better than Astron-6’s previous films (blink and you’ll miss a Father’s Day reference) and nicely displays what these guys are capable of even with the slimmest of budgets (around 130,000 Canadian , according to their IMDB page). Despite a bigger budget than their previous films, The Editor maintains their indie spirit and sensibilities while actually fitting perfectly into the genre that they’re homaging.
The Editor just had its world premiere at TIFF. Do not miss this one when it comes out or Udo Kier will drag your ass back to the asylum! Yeah, Mr. Kier plays a doctor. It’s “weird…very weird.”