CELLULOID SCREAMS 2014
THE EDITOR – 2014
DIR: Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy
Written: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Connor Sweeney
Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Connor Sweeney, Paz De La Huerta, Tristan Risk, Lawrence R Harvey, Udo Kier, Jerry Wasserman
The opening gala of Sheffield’s Celluloid Screams festival, now in its 6th year, saw the UK premiere of film making collective Astron-6’s The Editor. This was my first experience of Astron-6 and their wildly over the top and wickedly astute humour. Hailed by the festival Director Robert Nevitt as the saviours of genre cinema it became clear to me looking around the auditorium that he wasn’t the only one who felt like this. People were sporting t-shirts and talking excitedly about what the Canadian crew had in store for them this time around. I felt a little out of place to start with as it seemed as though I was the only one not in the club and began to wonder how the crazy sounding Manborg and Father’s Day had passed me by until now. The atmosphere and excitement was palpable as the lights began to dim, and it was a reminder of what film festivals are all about.
The Editor is the story of Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks), a once great film editor that has been reduced to cutting low budget trash due to a horrific accident that left him with four wooden fingers. The latest ‘epic’ he is working on is a particularly poor piece and the set is filled with egotistical, self -serving wannabe’s. Rey is something of an outcast, and even his wife (Paz De La Huerta); a former great actress barely seems to notice him anymore. But when members of the cast and crew start turning up dead the finger of blame is pointed squarely at Rey and he must outwit a tireless police inspector (Matthew Kennedy) and work to prove his innocence as the evidence stacks up against him.
A loving send-up of the Italian Giallo classics of the 70’s and 80’s The Editor is a fun, riotous, and demented piece of cinema that will have fans of old-school exploitation smiling from ear to severed ear. A perfect way to open a festival, it had the right mix of energy and ingenuity to get everyone in the mood for a weekend of insanity. Playing brilliantly on the absurdities of the classic giallo The Editor is filled with witty visuals and in possession of a genuinely smart script. There is a goldmine of knowing references and wry nods for those ‘in on the joke’, and The Editor will be most enjoyed by those who love their old-school Italian exploitation. It is possible to have fun with the film on a basic level, but the crazy plotting and the deliberately cranky technical tricks, like the bad dubbing, will probably leave those out of the loop somewhat perplexed. But if you have a place inside your heart for this sort of thing then you will have an absolute ball here.
Capturing the best of the past whilst showing Astron-6 as a talent for the future it is a clever mix of horror and hilarity and is wittier than most films can hope to be. Particularly funny is the films running joke on misogyny. Giallo thrillers were often criticised for their treatment of female characters, with Argento in particular coming in for some potent criticism. The Editor runs with this and takes it to an extreme that makes the whole argument seem ridiculous and plays perfectly on the stupidity of over blown machismo. Whilst the film walks the precarious line between satire and stupidity it emerges as an intelligent yet gleefully daft play on the nature of cinema as art and works towards a surprising removal of the fourth wall, tying it all in to its video era inspirations.
With a hilarious cameo from Udo Kier and a genuine love for the films it is sending up, The Editor is a genuine gem of a film and one that should find a healthy audience as it does the festival rounds. Capturing the spirit of an era past without ever feeling forced or smart-arsed it really is as good as you will no doubt hear. How it will play upon multiple viewings remains to be seen, but with so much crammed into each scene it is likely that further viewings will unearth even more for those with a keen eye. It has sold me, and I am off to track down Manborg and Father’s Day.