Thursday, September 3, 2015

THE EDITOR (2014) (Scream Factory Blu-ray Review)

THE EDITOR (2014) 

Label: Scream Factory
Release Date: September 8th 2015
Region Code: A
Duration: 95 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
Cast: Laurence R. Harvey, Tristan Risk, Udo Kier, Matthew Kennedy, Paz de la Huerta, Adam Brooks, Jerry Wasserman, Conor Sweeney

Canadian movie-makers Astron-6 have seriously taken their craft of retro horror homage and parody to the next level with this endearing love letter to the classic Italian whodunit films of the '70s with The Editor (2015), a tone perfect send-up riddled with stylish and bloody kills, erotic fun and the scratch your head oddness that made the movies of Argento, Fulci and Martino so damn good, but they do it with their own brand of wink-wink irony firmly intact, making for a fun watch. 

The story concerns a once famous movie editor named Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) who at one time in the past went a little crazy while editing a movie, in the aftermath his fingers were chopped off and he now wears prosthetic fingers made of wood which are attached to his hand with a strap-harness. After losing full use of his hands he now struggles for work, having been relegated to editing b-movie slasher movies. The movie begins with what seems to me to be an homage to Brian DePalma's Blow Up with a movie within a movie set-up, which is very nicely done, establishing the tone of the movie right from the start. 

Unfortunately the stars of the movie Rey is currently editing are dropping like flies on set, murdered one by one, and Rey's the number one suspect because the victims each have had their fingers cut-off in a way that mirrors his own disfigurement, which is pretty damning. Peter Porfiry (Mathew Kennedy) is on the case as a '70s cop with a glorious moustache and a white-Afro, wearing a turtleneck sweater and a jacket he seems to be channeling a b-movie Donald Sutherland by way of Franco Nero in the Fifth Chord. While Rey is suffering a some sort of mental breakdown Porfiry also struggles with own psycho-sexual madness, both men are on the edge and in search of who the movie star murderer might be.

Astron-6 have really stacked the deck with familiar faces this time around with appearances from Eurocult icon Udo Kier (Mark of the devil) as Dr. Casino, bug-eyed Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede 2) as Father Clarke, sultry Paz de la Huerta (Nurse) as Rey's long-suffering wife and many familiar faces from the Aston-6 crew including the clearly well-hung Connor Sweeney as a vain, horny and possibly murderous actor there any other sort? 

The tone and atmosphere of the movie is spot on beginning with the Argento-ish candy-colored lighting favoring red and blue tinting and an amazing Giallo score with a main title theme composed by none other than Claudio Simonetti of prog-rockers Goblin, who scored many of the most memorable Italian movies during the '70s and '80s including Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria and Deep Red, among many others.

The kills are glorious and very bloody, they didn't skimp on any of it the gruesome stuff, with numerous sweet throat slashings, grisly finger choppings, a chainsaw through the torso, and an unfortunate ax to the face, the gore hounds will not be disappointed. There's also a maddening sort of insanity at play throughout, with a hallucinatory "negaverse" complete with floating eels that brought to mind Stuart Gordon's From Beyond. There's even a bit of David Cronenberg's Videodrome thrown in for good measure, this one has a little bit of everything thrown into it. 

What I loved about it is you can enjoy the movie just as a slasher-style parody but if you're a true fan of vintage Italian whodunits there are loads of fun nuggets tucked away in each scene with multiple references to the films of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Sergio Martino among others, you can enjoy it as a send-up or as an homage, but what's great about it is you need you not be steeped in the Italian movies to enjoy it, but if you are will enjoy it on a whole other level. 

Audio/Video: Astron-6's The Editor arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory framed in the original scope aspect ratio (2.35:1) and looking good, a candy-colored whodunit with the moody lava lamp lighting which looks fantastic in HD. Audio options include choice of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround or DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, the surround is awesome, the score is spot-on and sounds great, the post-dubbed English audio sounds appropriately hokey by design and totally puts you in the mind of an authentic dubbed '70s slice of cult cinema. 

Onto the extras we begin with a fun Audio Commentary with Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney and Matt Kennedy, with the Astron-6  guys in fine form speaking about the making of the movie with a blend of low-budget movie insights and comic relief as they point out anachronistic goofs and various trials and tribulations they encountered during the production. Surprisingly they do not point out many of the movies they're referencing, which I would have enjoyed. 

There's a 50-minute "Making Movies Use to Be Fun" making of doc that is mighty thorough and if you're an indie filmmaker there's probably a lot to learn here, such as sometimes the professionals you hire are not exactly professionals and may just be lying to get the job. we have input from Graham Humphrey's about creating the carious posters he created for use in the film, the special effects team and interviews with cast and crew, a lot of it very funny and some of more serious,  like when they realize they've spent most of the money budgeted for the movie and have only completed roughly 20% of the film. 

A brief seven-minute interview with composers Norman Orenstein and Trevor Tuminski of Hook Lab who speak about comprising the score, it's a dryly comic and brought to mind something along the lines of Spinal Tap, fun stuff. The six-minute Brett Parson Poster Interview is another humorous one, as the artists sits in a lawn chair outside in the snow drinking a beer, recounting the tale of how he came across a machine that draws the image in your mind for you, complete with flashback sequences and an eerie score to accompany the story. 

In keeping with the goofy extras we have an Astron-6 Film Festival Introduction, a pre-recorded message for festival fans with a generic Troma-esque blank spot with an "insert festival name here' type gag. The last of the extras are finished-up with four deleted scenes adding up to about six-minutes total in various stages of completion. Separate from the disc we have a sleeve of reversible artwork featuring the gut-projector option which is also featured on the slipcover, plus an alternate option featuring the awesome Graham Humphrey artwork

Special  Features
- Audio Commentary With Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney And Matt Kennedy
- Making Movies Used To Be Fun - Making-Of Documentary (51 Mins) 

- Hook Lab Interview (7 Mins)
- Brett Parson Poster Interview (6 Mins)
- Astron-6 Film Festival Introduction (2 Mins)
- Four Deleted Scenes (6 Mins) 

There are a number of recent Giallo homages out there right now worth a watch, The Strange Color of Your Bodies Tears and Berberian Sound Studio come immediately to mind, but Astron-6's The Editor is the best of the bunch in my opinion, a tone-perfect love letter to the Italian movies from the '70s and '80s loaded with nudity, gore and that strange Eurocult aesthetic, plus a healthy dose of Astron-6 retro-horror awesomeness, this has loads of re watch value, watched it twice this past week and it only got better. The Editor chis comes highly recommend and is sure to be on my best of 2015 wrap-up. 4/5