M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Five of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2014 and going through September 30, 2015. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Released on September 8, 2015. Available On Demand, digital download, and Blu-ray/DVD! Also streaming on Shout Factory TV!
THE EDITOR (2014)
Directed by Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
Written by Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney
Starring Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, Matthew Kennedy, Paz de la Huerta, Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey, Tristan Risk, Sheila Campbell, Jerry Wasserman, Samantha Hill, Brent Neale, Lance ‘The Snake’ Cartwright, Jasmine Mae, John Paizs, William O’Donnell, Mackenzie Murdock
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
After dazzling me with the off kilter awesomeness of MANBORG and FATHER’S DAY, I was afraid the talented writers/directors/actors at Astron-6 were hanging up their funny and going a more serious route from what I saw of their newest feature THE EDITOR’s trailers. But this love song to all things Giallo is a tune set to a wonky beat as the film doesn’t so much as make fun of those Italian gore/mystery noir films of the 70’s as much as it just tells a goofy tale surrounded by what made those films so distinct in the first place.
The film follows a washed up film editor named Rey Cisco (writer/director Adam Brooks) who suffered a tragic editing accident which left him fingerless on his editing hand. He now wears four wooden fingers in a glove in order to look normal, but he relies heavily on his assistant Bella (Samantha Hill) to be his hands and cut the films for him. Forced to work on low budget films, Rey finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery when someone murders the film’s star and leaves him with stubs for fingers just like Rey has. Detective Peter Porfiry (co-director/co-writer Matthew Kennedy), who happens to be married to the film’s star Margaurite (Sheila Campbell) and also happens to look like a young Donald Sutherland as one character points out, is on the case to solve the murders. Meanwhile, second-billed actor Cal Konitz (co-writer Conor Sweeney) is lapping up the opportunity to step into the role of star of the film. The expansive cast also stars Paz de la Huerta as Cicso’s sultry and conniving wife, HUMAN CENTIPEDE II’s Laurence R. Harvey as a priest with information about the ancient mystical history of editors, the legendary Udo Kier as a shrink looking to hospitalize all of them, and AMERICAN MARY’s Betty Boop Tristan Risk as one of the stars who is most likely not going to survive the film. Who is doing the killing? Who lives? Who dies? Eventually, after much goofing off, the mystery will be solved.
The beauty of THE EDITOR is how is straddles the line between being a serious film set in the Italian Giallo 70’s and a farce of those same films. Those films were melodramatic to the nth degree with ultra-machismo sensibilities, dubbed voices, and reactions that are way over the top and beyond. So the antics that go in on THE EDITOR aren’t really that far off from the way those “so bad they’re good” Italian movies from the 70’s actually played as. Most likely and obviously given the authenticity of the film, the folks behind this film feel like super fans of this genre of filmmaking as they are spot on with the gritty and Grindhousey way things were filmed, the overly-complicated plot twists, the obvious red herrings, and clichéd actions and dialog. While this film is absolutely outrageous at times, for a good long time, this film could play off as an unearthed gem from the seventies if no one were the wiser it was a farce. It’s this authentic method with which Astron-6 tells this story with attention to deep focus, layered action in the foreground and background, the color palette of deep crimsons and blues, stiff acting, bad dubbing, and the gratuitous gore and nudity that makes it all the more entertaining and fun.
Everyone, from the lead members of Astron-6 to the smaller roles given to key genre greats do a fantastic job in THE EDITOR. Brooks, Kennedy, and Sweeney bounce off of one another as if they’ve been acting out these antics for years with comedy timing that is impeccable. But add in creepy Lawrence Harvey who is dubbed a wizard, though he plays a priest and a pouty Paz De La Huerta and the ante is upped. Seeing these bigger named stars appear in this film with the goofballs of Astron-6 make it feel like these guys (most deservedly) have finally hit the big time. While FATHER’S DAY and MANBORG have indie sensibilities, with THE EDITOR, these filmmakers have reached a new level of hilarity, madcappery, and blood-drenched mayhem.
Loaded with gratuitous nudity, raunchy and ridiculous sex, uncoordinated action sequences, and sopping wet gore, THE EDITOR is a film you watch with your horror-appreciative friends with massive amounts of beer and a bellyful of laughs just waiting to escape. If you’re not familiar with Italian Giallo films THE EDITOR is paying homage to, first, I recommend you go out and check out as many of those films as you can as they are most definitely awesome. You can start with Argento and Bava and then move on from there. I could see this film falling flat for a lot of folks who have not experienced this type of cinema before. But if you’ve seen even a few Italian Giallo films from the 70’s and 80’s, you’re going to get a lot of the jokes and send ups here. I laughed out loud almost the entire way through THE EDITOR, a film that is equal parts gory farce and authentic Giallo. Astron-6 are a cadre of creative souls that I can’t get enough of and having conquered the world of Giallo here, it’ll be interesting to see what they will come up with next.
THE 2014-2015 COUNTDOWN!
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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