Long gone are the days of giallo cinema, a genre that really came into its own during the 70s and 80s with films like Deep Red, Tenebrae and Stagefright leaving an indelible mark on horror. While the genre has almost become a lost art in the world of film, every once in a while we see a movie that captures the very spirit of Italy’s neon thrillers. And although they are few and far between, a modern-day giallo film is a nice little treat to the genre, especially when they’re as bloody red and ridiculous as Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy’s The Editor. In it, a film editor with a wooden hand gets entangled in a web of murders in which he becomes the prime suspect.
I really want to avoid calling The Editor a parody of the genre, because while it certainly takes a jab at the hilariously stupid characters and ridiculous narrative giallo is known for, it’s more of an exaggeration of those films while still encapsulating the very spirit of them. It’s really just a giallo-inspired horror-comedy that never takes itself seriously, creating an over-the-top world with a classical atmosphere.
Infused with sex, blood and mystery, the film has so many wonderful qualities and elements that are brimming with life and shock that it becomes a surprisingly easy movie to fall for. And I say surprising only because this is one of the strangest films that we’re likely to see this year, yet it’s undeniably charming and a shit load of fun. The thing is, it’s the kind of movie that’s only going to work for a certain kind of crowd, aka the cool kids—if you can appreciate The Editor’s insanity, then you’re alright by me.
But what really took me by surprise was just how much Brooks and Kennedy really went for it. They didn’t just frame a colorful shot, cover it in blood and call it a giallo film. They literally went as far as adding the strangest, most out of place dubbing imaginable and not only did it work (somehow), it added this unexplainably awesome quality to the film that you just have to watch to understand. When giallo was really reaching its peak, it was normal for Italian films to not record an actor’s dialog properly because they would later dub it through ADR. This was because the actors in these films often spoke different languages, so it was easier to just dub them later on. The Editor, however, had absolutely no good reason to dub some of its actors… they just did it because they could, and that is fucking awesome. Hilarious, too.
And perhaps the best thing about this movie is that buried under all of its crazy elements is a batshit insane narrative that twists and turns its way through a plot that leaves a trail of intestines behind. It’s a traditional murder mystery told in the most untraditional way possible, yet it totally works. The Editor is rooted in this deliciously bloody thriller, ripe with over-dramatic dialog and arguably the dumbest detective in the history of cinema trying to solve the case. Throw in some intentional absurdity wrapped up in gorgeous cinematography and you have a weirdly entertaining slice of horror gold that’s just as bloody as it is insane.
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