By: Shahbaz Khayambashi
The Winnipeg-based Astron-6 film collective has made a career out of churning out 1980s-inspired pastiches, so it was only a matter of time before they gave giallo – the Italian horror subgenre that is equal parts noir and splatter – their treatment with The Editor.
Here, the hero is a film editor with a tragic past who makes a living editing exploitation films. As he edits the film-within-a-film, life imitates art and several of the actors end up dead, with the editor as the main suspect. The plot is intentionally obvious and redundant, because this film is essentially the Scary Movie to the whole genre’s Scream. The directors here were not interested in creating a new story within the canon of the genre, but rather, they wanted to recreate that feel by recreating some of the films themselves.
This is the main strength of the film; without these call backs, it is not a particularly memorable work. There are a few good jokes here and there, but the only memorable parts are those parts that you remember from other films. Just as a few examples, the filmmakers (admittedly, quite beautifully) recreated or strongly hinted at scenes from canonical giallo films like Suspiria and Deep Red and vaguely related films like The Beyond and Pieces, even somehow managing to fit in a Videodrome reference. It would be Tarantinoesque thievery if it wasn’t, first, so obvious, and second, so obviously gleeful and full of love for its source material.
The experiment in recreation is further enhanced by the use of three giallo mainstays: electronic music, bright lights and gaudy colours and bad post-dubbing. Add on the actors’ genuine, 1980s, awful facial hair-focused looks (excluding the Editor himself who bears a strange resemblance to a certain Toronto film person) and you get a film that is so “authentic” that its release thirty years ago would have probably received a bad review from me. This is all to say that The Editor is best enjoyed with an abundant knowledge of the giallo genre. If the viewer has familiarity with the genre, the film can be a lot of fun, but with no familiarity, it is just a lot of flash and no substance. Watch or avoid based on this question.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam