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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 09.29.14] Canada horror comedy thriller avant-garde

Over the last few years Astron-6 have emerged as a powerhouse in trashy genre cinema of the best kind, the kind of genre fare that you remember fondly from the old direct to VHS days or badly scrambled on late night TV channels you shouldn't be watching. Their latest achievement is a ridiculous and entertaining bit of giallo inspired goodness known as The Editor.

Written and directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy, Brooks also stars as Rey Ciso, a once great film editor who has lost his mojo along with most of the fingers in one hand. Now relegated to cutting schlocky Italian movies for a hard ass, he spends much of his time remembering the old days, being chided or ignored by his once famous actress of a wife and day dreaming about his hot assistant. Things turn sour when the actors in the latest project he's working on start to turn up dead and the investigator on the case, Peter Porfiry (played by Kennedy) thinks Ciso is responsible.

That's the general idea but I could read you a point by point plot synopsis (though if you've seen Berberian Sound Studio (review) you have a pretty great idea of how this plays out) and it would not take away from what makes The Editor really great: the visuals. This isn't only an homage to giallo, it's one of the best looking giallo's in recent memory. Brooks, Kennedy and Jon'Nathon Stebbe have really outdone themselves on the look of the movie and it very cleverly and lovingly pays homage to the classics of Bava and Argento. The Editor also goes above and beyond giallo, reaching back into the bowls of exploitation cinema (along with popular culture) for some of the best gags. Hints of everything from the grindhouse pictures of 70s and 80s featuring naked women simply because you could, ridiculous kills, creative use of overdubbing and even a wink at Airplane can be found peppered throughout.

The filmmakers throw everything at the screen and for the most part, the gags stick. Like the other entries into the Astron-6 library, the movie really plays in extremes and in some instances that works better than others. The story drags on for a little too long, sometimes revelling in jokes for longer than necessary (or recommended) but overall, The Editor is an insane, enjoyable piece of really well made schlock. It's a little more specialized than Brooks and Kennedy's previous projects and some of the jokes miss the mark but judging from the spurts of laughter, that may be more of an issue with the viewer than the filmmakers leading me to think that if you can't pick out the references, it's likely some of the jokes aren't going to work.

A good parody should still work as a comedy even if you don’t know the material it's making fun of and The Editor doesn’t quite get to that level. That said, it was clearly never intended as populous entertainment and the bottom line is that Brooks and Kennedy know how to rile up their audience who will undoubtedly eat up everything The Editor has to offer; there's certainly lots to love.

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