Midnight Madness Report: The Editor
“The quota is excellence,” said Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes to a packed theatre just after midnight on Thursday in response to a question about the amount of Canadian content that must be included in this series. Apparently, that’s none. But Geddes was happy to announce that the giallo-spoofing murder mystery The Editor, made by Winnipeg’s own film collective Astron-6, is one of the few Canadian entries to ever make the cut.
In line with other over-the-top selections in this year’s Midnight Madness program—from Tokyo Tribe, to Tusk, to Big Game—The Editor slices and dices the Italian cult film genre known as giallo. Replicating and lampooning its sexual exploitation and low-budget gore, this film showed no mercy until laughs and cheers spilled out of the entire theatre. Mostly written by, produced by, edited by, and shot by Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks, and Conor Sweeney, The Editor tells the story of a formerly esteemed film editor Rey Ciso (Brooks) who lost his fingers in a freak editing accident who is suspected of a series of gruesome murders on his film set. And here’s why Astron-6 delivered a searing spin on the genre that you can enjoy even if you’re not a giallo aficionado.
Geddes admitted that when the technical team at TIFF first saw the final copy of The Editor, they freaked out over how mismatched the dialogue recording was with the actor’s mouths. Actually, that was entirely intentional—since original giallo films were shot without sound and dubbed over in a notoriously terrible way. Though jarring at first, The Editor’s overtly awkward sound makes sure that even the most grotesque murder scene keeps an element of humour.
Sex and sexism
“Women’s eyes weren’t meant to see such things,” explains the film’s detective (played by Kennedy) after his wife becomes blind after discovering her two dead co-stars. In The Editor, women are emotionally frail, rarely clothed, brutally murdered, or otherwise slapped around by men (in true 1970’s giallo style). Of course, lines like these point out the obvious sexism inherent to the genre, but The Editor adds a bit more feminine oomph with the horror star Paz de la Huerta (also known from Boardwalk Empire) as Rey’s narcissistic wife. Still, despite the fun and games, this element to the film won’t be for everyone.
Blood, sweat, and more blood
The murders. Oh, the murders. No one simply dies in The Editor, just like one does not simply walk into Mordor. Electric chainsaws, scissors, axes, you name it—they all leave their mark on the film’s characters and get the fake blood flowing. The more gruesome and drawn-out the deaths, the bigger the cheers, and Astron-6 gave the audience what they wanted.