Kicking off Celluloid Screams 2014 is this mad-cap homage to Italian thrillers

the editor

The job of an editor is often a maddening one (trust me I know) that places such precedence on obsessive precision, and an insane eye for detail that murder might be the only reprieve.

This latest feature from Canadian production company Astron-6 uses the role of film editor as the impetus for a manic and bloody comedy-thriller. Directors Adam Brooks and Mark Kennedy also star as eponymous film editor Rey Ciso and Police Inspector Porfiry respectively. Employees at Ciso’s studio are turning up dead and fingerless, meaning that the hapless editor (who lost his own fingers in a work-related accident) quickly falls under suspicion.

Plot comes secondary in a film like this as it is all about the style. Poor lip-syncing, awkward dialogue, with a great big dollop of gore and female nudity, The Editor is a big, sloppy, lipstick-laden kiss to the giallo genre. An unusual sub-category of films from the 1970s, gaillo is most often associated with the director Dario Argento.

The film is littered with references to various giallo films including The Black Belly of the Tarantula and Argento’s own Tenebrae. They’re never too obvious to put off those who aren’t familiar with the genre’s tropes, though the utterly alien style of the film makes it hard to recommend to those who don’t have the stomach for the truly weird.

The Editor thankfully revels in its oddball nature. From the 70s costumes, to the synth-heavy soundtrack, every grimy corner of this film was crafted with genuine love. This care is what separates The Editor from knowing, cynical attempts by big studios to turn a profit with pastiche so-bad-it’s-good material.

Lurking beneath the campy aesthetics though-just like Argento’s best work-is thematic clarity. The boundaries of reality are broken again and again. The film works in the same way a Russian doll does, unleashing new realities almost as quickly as the whiplash-inducing twists.

Things are never allowed to become too heavy thanks to the comedy, as Brooks and Kennedy know how to mine their beloved genre for laughs. With such finely crafted lines like “I was washing my hair… and shaving my pussy” laughter is inevitable.

The duo deliver contrasting performances that excel in their own right, but together they are pure magic.  Brooks plays Ciso with restraint, providing an enigmatic character at the centre of the film that still provides straight-man laughs.

Meanwhile, Porfiry is a complete cartoon as the giallo detective who must catch the serial killer. Kennedy outdoes himself as this clown. Watching his sex scenes alone is enough to leave you in hysterics.

The relationship between these two characters-with Porfiry just waiting for the editor to slip up-is what makes their scenes together stand out so much. However, this is actually eclipsed by Porfiry’s intensely intimate (b)romance with shallow actor Cal (Conor Sweeney).

The intense love for all things giallo in The Editor may also overtake its capability to charm the unacquainted. On the other hand it may just be the perfect entry point into this highly unusual subsection of genre films. Either way, with gorgeous gore, and a vibrant sense of style, The Editor will make the cut for an excellent Cult Corner.