The Editor Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy
Published Sep 10, 2014Functioning as a straight up send-up of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and the cinematic sorcerers of '70s slasher films, Canadian horror comedy The Editor is a charming tribute to the unsung classics of giallo, an Italian subgenre known for its gory and gruesome erotic horror.
Primarily set in an Italian movie studio sometime in the 1970s, The Editor tells the story of one editor in particular, Rey Ciso (played by co-director Adam Brooks). Once revered in the realm of post-production for his speedy cuts, Ciso's career took a turn for the worse after losing half his hand in a bizarre editing accident. Forced to wear a set of wooden fingers as a replacement, Ciso spends his days toiling away behind the scenes, training his sexy apprentice while also being the laughingstock of the entire movie house. But when a series of bizarre murders takes place in which the killer — you guessed it — severs the fingers from each of its victims, Ciso becomes public enemy number one.
A self-aware and decidedly not-so-slick affair, the strength of The Editor lies in its ability to lampoon the campy horror genre, while not becoming campy and incoherent itself. Featuring expertly bad dialogue, which is made even worse by having had the majority of the film's characters further re-dub their roles, the film's creators do a good job infusing all the best elements from the time period, including strangely fetishistic sex scenes, full-frontal nudity, bad haircuts, bad set design and even worse acting.
If there's one downside to The Editor, its that it runs a tad too long, with the film losing steam three-quarters of the way through after it changes its focus from a goofy slasher flick to a John Carpenter-esque spiritual horror. That's not a bad thing, as the film's latter half also contains some of its creepiest and delightful graphics, but after an hour of stilted voice work and scenes of characters needlessly slapping one another, it can feel a bit tiresome.
However, for its tongue-in-cheek look at the Italian horror genre and the tropes that make it what it is, The Editor is a masterpiece of independent Canadian cinema, satirical or otherwise.