“Five friends, a love of film and a suicide pact”. That is how the introduction section of
Astron6's website begins to describe the fortunate get together of a group of young artists determined to do something different. Since they first got together at an obscure American horror film festival they've been on an endless journey to revive the long forgotten Italian style horror/mystery flicks of the 60's, 70´s and 80´s. After a somewhat odd level of success with titles such as Manborg and Father's Day, they seem to have finally hit the jackpot. And so, what at first appeared to be a silly prank has just entered a whole new level with the release of The Editor, bringing much praise and applause to this artistic collective.
And rightly so it must be said. Sure this is hardly the first time horror and comedy have crossed paths, and satire and parody has been a part of the dark genre for decades now. Yet, it has rarely been done so brilliant and elegantly.
Deeply entrenched in all of the genre's clichés, the film tells us the story of editor Rey Cisco (played by Adam Brooks himself), a legendary figure in the film business up until a tragic editing accident (yes, you read that right) which resulted in him loosing part of his hand. He continues to work as part of a Giallo Horror production company, yet he is a mere shadow of what he once was. Ridiculed and abused by everybody, including his over sexualized wife (played provocatively by Noe's Enter the void star Paz de la Huerta). His resignation to his sad fate is shattered by a series of bloody gorish murders that are taking the film crew members one by one.
A police investigation ensues, headed by the somewhat lunatic dective Peter Porfiry (played by Matthew Kennedy), as Cisco himself tries to figure out who is the culprit before he becomes a victim himself.
The plot is as simple, predictable and “Scooby-Dooish” as they come, and it is so in a sort of glorious fashion. Despite a heavy dependency on mystery and suspense, Italian Giallo films are not exactly notable for their mind twisting faculties. Simplicity was often the key to their success, choosing instead to provide a stronger focus on style over matter.
Dario Argento, one of the few that managed to go beyond such expectations, is all over The Editor, sort of speak. His influence is ever present, as are reference's to some of his best work. Brooks and Kennedy have been paying attention obviously, and are well aware of all the “tricks”. In their latest film they've replicated them all with self-confident virtuosity.
The red and pink tones, the dramatic zoom in´s, the exaggeratedly orange blood, the mysterious shadows and low lighting. Even the out of synch dubbing is there. Nothing has been left to chance. You would be forgiven for mistaking the film for a piece of cinema history, if only it was not drench in hilarious humour and satire. Undeterred by the need to do justice to the stylistic imperatives of the genre, the film-makers moulded all the stereotypes of the era with apparent ease. The sexist, sexual and anarchic aura of the 70's is perfectly captured, forcing a series of gut laughters throughout.
But most important, and the ultimate key to The Editor´s success, is the fact that at no point this is a tedious experience. Its exuberant nature could have easily have fallen on familiar traps. Yet Brooks and Matthew are careful in avoiding repetition at all costs. There are virtually no catch lines, the characters are constantly shifting and the film-maker's creativity is taken to its limits, dodging the inevitable dullness of such films.
Unfortunately, this tribute to classic horror does have a serious problem. It's lifetime seems to have been compromised at birth. Brook´s and Kennedy´s latest attempt will easily be misunderstood, and its power will only resonate amongst a tiny minority of fans of the genre. As such the film will surely struggle to go much further then it has already. At least until this ode to cult cinema becomes a cult film itself, which might just happen, eventually.
Name: Fernando Vasquez
"The Editor" by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy (USA)
T-Mobile New Horizons 2015 - Midnight Screenings