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  Editor, The And... Cut!Buy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
Stars: Paz de la Huerta, Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey, Jerry Wasserman, Samantha Hill, Kevin Anderson, Brett Donahue, Tristan Risk, Dan Bern, Sheila Campbell, Brent Neale, Jasmine Mae
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller, Trash, Weirdo
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Veronica (Tristan Risk) is an exotic dancer who doubles as a fire eater, and after her stint at the club she works at she is walking home down an alley when a drunk lurches out of the darkness and tries to grab her. She shakes him off and makes it back to her apartment, but after a shower she retires to bed, only to be confronted with a masked figure dressed all in black who proceeds to do unspeakable things to her. But it’s all right, since this is a film that is being edited by Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks), a professional who has seen better days, most of them before he was relegated to the cheapo horror movie market after he managed to chop off the fingers of his right hand in a freak accident at work.

The Editor was part of the movement to pay tribute to the trappings of the entertainment of films past, something that as far as horror went appeared to have really taken flight with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' Grindhouse, which although it wasn’t a hit was seen by a whole bunch of people who recognised what they were trying to do and thought they could do the same. Only with possibly more success. A collective of low budget Canadian moviemakers called Astron-6 were among the most dedicated to this aesthetic of nostalgic trash, and had carved out careers, not to mention built a fanbase, thanks to their exacting homages that took the material as far as it was possible to go.

In this case it was the Italian giallo movement they were sending up, or were they paying awed tribute (or odd tribute)? They had plainly watched a lot of these vintage chiller thrillers from the nineteen-seventies and eighties, and parlayed that into as perfect a recreation of the form as their cash flow would allow. That was the hallmark of their productions, the faithful approach, yet distinctively their own with a very particular sense of humour that was at once absolutely ridiculous but also rather callous when it came to the treatment (or mistreatment) of their characters, all in pursuit of that next outrageous setpiece, example of gratuitous nudity (male or female), or rubbery bout of gore effects. The sole drawback being their decisions to throw everything they could think of into the mix, resulting in overstuffed, even irrelevant plots.

They had found their metier and stuck with it, and nobody else was doing quite what they did generating a personality to what could have been lost in a sea of lazy callbacks to other, perhaps better, or at least vintage in their manner, movies. Initially you think the giallo movement would be ideal for them, but then you see what they were spoofing was denoted by their horrendous treatment of the females in the plot, something the genre's fans make excuses for but difficult to render hilarious unless you went way over the top with it. That's what Astron-6 tried here, and they treated the males just as badly, but because of that misogyny inherent in the source refashioning it as equal opportunities misanthropy didn't quite come off, since you were still watching women be sliced and diced, and the running joke of them being slapped by ludicrously macho men wasn’t exactly amusing either.

So what fun there was had a bitter aftertaste, not to suggest the creators were a bunch of unreconstructed wife beaters, only that they had overestimated the entertainment factor of taking these already absurd premises of the originals and turning them so far up to outrageous levels that they served to amplify the uglier aspects into the bargain. Still, if you thought you could understand what they were getting at, basically if you were familiar with the targets of their humour, then there were a few chuckles to be garnered from such sights as the regulation car chase ending with both pursuer and pursued careering over a cliff, then emerging from the wreckage largely unscathed to continue their rivalry. Among the usual Astron-6 guys they won the casting coup of recruiting Paz de la Huerta as Ciso’s unstable wife and Udo Kier as the head of an asylum who's (what else?) insane himself, and each player here did convey a sense that they were in on the joke. Whether the audience were was a different matter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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