The Editor

Directors: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy (Canada). Year of Release: 2014

A sleazy bar. A woman in a red bikini is performing on stage – a bit of dancing, a bit of fire eating, the usual stuff. On her way home, we see her framed at the end of a long, dark alley as sinister music plays. A hypodermic syringe is stuck in her neck and a male voice tells her that she is now paralysed. As she lies on her bed in fear, a tarantula crawls over her skin.

The camera pulls back to show Rey Ciso at the editing desk. Rey used to be the best in the business, but then he went a bit mad and chopped off four of his fingers. He spent some time in a psychiatric hospital and is now making a living working on schlocky B movies like the current one, Tarantola. He has a wooden hand concealed inside a black glove. Anyone with the slightest sense of authority over Rey calls him a cripple.

Someone has started killing actors and staff on the movie set. When a murder happens, we usually see the back of the killer wearing a cloak and a black glove, and a flicker of recognition on the face of the victim before they are stabbed, slashed or garrotted and left in a pool of crimson blood. Did I mention that this is the latest in the series of giallo films being shown for a series of Saturday nights?

The movie bosses call in police inspector Peter Porfiry. Porfiry is tall with curly hair and a moustache – in a later scene, a passing priest likens him to a young Donald Sutherland. He also has a history of abusive relationships, some of them with members of the cast. As the victims’ fingers have been chopped off one hand, Porfiry’s prime suspect is Rey, though he could choose from any of a number of people in the studio.

So who else is around? Now, let’s me count. There’s Claudio the main actor on the film, who you think must be a bad actor until you realise that he always speaks in a stilted manner. Claudio is one of the first to be killed, so he doesn’t remain a suspect too long, but what about his lookalike, who’s been brought on set to try to finish the film? The problem is that although he is the spitting image of Claudio. he’s Italian and doesn’t speak a word of English.

There’s Margarit, another actress, who discovers one of the first bodies and turns blind with shock. Margarit is also Porfiry’s wife and the daughter of Porfiry’s boss Chief O’Conner. She spends most of her time with her new guide dog. And there’s Cal, a blond actor, a natural sidekick, who hopes to get his big break following the deaths of first Claudio, then his double. To keep things in the family, Cal’s wife once went out with Porfiry.

There’s Rey’s assistant Bella, who declares her love for him when they’re together in the cutting room. You can tell Rey us tempted but he warns her about their age difference. Besides, he’s married to Josephine, who used to be a movie star, and met Rey on the set of her greatest filmm Now she’s washed out and can’t get an acting job for love nor money. So instead she spends her time bitching at Rey and telling him about her desires for the actors in the films he’s editing.

There’s Giancarlo, a junior detective, who Porfiry sends onto the set. Because Giancarlo offers to work at half Rey’s pay, he’s given the editing gig, even though he’s almost as dense as Cal and doesn’t know his Eisenstein from his Einstein. And then there’s Dr. Casini, a psychiatrist who worked in the hospital where Rey spent time, but has a slightly different recollection of what happened way back then.

That’s a lot of people, although some of them may be the same person – it is hard to keep up. But then again, I’m sure there are others who I’ve missed. While all this is going on, Rey is going slightly mad and having visions, or maybe it’s Porfiry, or maybe we’re seeing scenes from past or future films. At one stage, Porfiry finds a cannister containing film of himself bricked up in a bell tower that hasn’t been accessed in the previous century. That’s before we get to the crawling fingers.

The Editor is all very silly and mad as a box of frogs. The script makes little sense, but that doesn’t matter too much. The English actors are badly dubbed into English. It is all a parody, of course, and one that often risks playing only to the fanboy audience. I’ve read some reviews explaining exactly which scene from exactly which giallo film is being parodied in pretty much every shot. I have a sort of respect for reviews like that, but I prefer to be able to go out once in a while,

There is also a lot of gratuitous nudity in the film, and one “put your breast away, you seem to have left it hanging out” scene, that feels straight from a late night version of the Sweeney. I’m sure the film’s directors will say it’s all good clean fun, but it feels unnecessarily tacky. Similarly the attempt to satirise domestic violence – in one scene, Porfiry accuses Rey of being too weak and slaps his wife for him – is not a good look however much they may be just having a laugh.

All in all, it’s a decent film to watch if you want to just sit back and not use your brain too much. Or if you’ve already used up your brain on obscure Italian films and want to impress your mates (in tonight’s screening there was someone with a “look how clever I am to get that obscure reference” laugh every couple of minutes). It’s not going to win any Oscars, but just look at what sort of films win an Oscar.

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