Astron 6 movies seem like the types of films that would divide horror fans. They’re super silly but super violent too. But I can’t think of a single instance of hearing/reading someone telling me that they hated one. Sure, they may not have loved it but there’s some fun to be had for everyone it seems. Personally, I’ve found their films to be very entertaining. They’re raucous and offensive and bloody and all of the things I want in a low-brow horror comedy. So, when I saw that The Editor – a giallo/Italian horror send-up – hit video media, I put it in my queue. Does it meet the rigorous I-might-not-love-this-but-it-will-be-entertaining standards set by their previous films? Well, read on to find out!
The (titular) Editor was once the greatest editor in the biz until he pushed himself too far and snapped, cutting the fingers off of his right hand. Now he’s a shell of his former self with a washed-up wife who resents him. He’s currently working on editing a B-movie as they shoot. When people associated with the film start getting killed off in gruesome ways – each with the fingers of their right hands cut off – The Editor starts to lose his grip on reality.
Astron 6 has shifted gears a bit with The Editor. The film eschews gruesome silliness for light-hearted homage. The gruesome stuff is still there. Only it’s not as prevalent/frequent as it was in their previous efforts. And, for the most part, it works. The Editor lovingly spoofs Bava and Argento and Fulci et al., with the focus on gialli (plural of giallo in case you thought that was a damn typo) but with a bit of general 70s Italian horror thrown in for good measure. All of the giallo tropes that we know and love are included. And they’re exaggerated and repeated and twisted to comedic effect. There are cameos from some genre actors. And the photography is spot-on giallo style. All the pieces are there for a modern cult classic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite come together seamlessly. The film is a bit inconsistent with its Italian horror tropes. We get some ADR dubbing at some points but it comes and goes seemingly randomly. We get some dreamy otherworldly sequences but they don’t seem to have a clear impact on the story. We get tarantulas but they don’t fit the killer’s M.O. (actually, maybe that fits perfectly as a spoof) And there are naked people in the background of a lot of scenes. I can’t think of an Italian horror film that employs the same device. Is it something the filmmakers are spoofing or just something they threw in to be silly? Or maybe they’re spoofing the fact that there tends to be a lot of nudity in gialli? The biggest problem for viewers may lie in the fact that gialli are niche films. Giallo is a subgenre that not every horror fan is into (even though there are some fairly universally liked gialli). It’s certainly fine to make niche original films (in fact, that’s how innovation and “surprise” hits happen within our beloved genre/genres), but it’s a gamble to make a spoof of a niche subgenre. Casual viewers will completely miss out on the wink-wink references and goofs and genre fans who don’t like gialli will dislike a giallo parody for the same reasons (deliberate/slow pacing, dream logic, left-field reveals, etc.) The giallo focus means that the film lacks the frenetic energy of Astron 6’s previous films. Again – that’s ok for films in general. But it may disappoint Astron 6 fans.
The Final Cut: The Editor is a decent spoof of giallo films with impressive attention to detail but some inconsistent story elements. It may not resonate at all with casual viewers or the gialli-averse though.