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“THE EDITOR” (Blu-ray Review)

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A fan favorite among the indie filmmakers in the Canadian horror scene, the irreverent, retro-friendly guys at Astron-6 know their audience just as well as they know their influences. Following their transgressive, splattery work on MANBORG and FATHER’S DAY, many were excited to hear that they’d be taking on the giallo subgenre for their next film. However, even as absurd and insane as the Astron-6 guys have been in the past, the filmmaking collective has surprisingly turned out a slightly more mature and narratively constructed effort with THE EDITOR, even if the film maintains their trademark ultraviolence, excessive nudity and hysterical world-building.

For those unfamiliar, THE EDITOR follows psychologically-scarred film editor Rey Ciso, whose recent project is plagued with systematic murders and he finds himself on the top of the suspect list. Of course, once you factor in an emotionally abusive wife, an overly ambitious actor, a starry-eyed apprentice and a no-nonsense detective married to the film’s lead actress, Ciso finds himself perpetually next on the chopping block as he tries to deduce who the killer is. However, for those familiar with Astron-6 and giallo, things are certainly not as they appear, leading to a mind-bending mystery at the core of THE EDITOR.

Due to their low-budget style, ever-present humor and disregard for logic, THE EDITOR is likely going to be divisive among its viewers (as most Astron-6 efforts are). However, if it’s your bag, THE EDITOR is among the strongest and funniest works the group has ever produced, filled with impressive FX work, deep-cutting references to the works of Italian horror maestros and a colorful, vibrant visual style that evokes approaches both old and new. And with appearances from the likes of Paz de la Huerta, Tristan Risk, Laurence R. Harvey, Samantha Hill, Sheila Campbell as well as Astron-6’s Conor Sweeney, Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks, the film isn’t afraid to drop in bizarre characters who make their on-screen time memorable before eventually going the way most giallo supporting players go.

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With the film debuting from Scream Factory on Blu-ray, the film sports an exceptionally fine transfer in high definition; one of the finest for a digitally-shot film from the company’s roster, to be honest. The picture quality is sharp, the colors are lush and the detail is crisp and defined, making the film feel truly immersive (especially once the visual giallo tropes come into play). Meanwhile, the audio transfer is also dynamically mixed and presents a well-balanced range, bringing the dialogue (much of it intentionally ADR’d) and the synth-driven soundtrack to the forefront when necessary while also providing more depth for those with greater home theater set-ups.

Scream Factory and Astron-6 also offer a wealth of solid special features to go alongside THE EDITOR. Perhaps the most “must-see” of the bunch is the Making-Of Documentary, filled with a look at the grueling process of independent filmmaking on a microbudget but with Astron-6’s sense of humor, and features funny interviews and anecdotes with Kier, de la Huerta and more. The commentary with Brooks, Sweeney and Kennedy keeps things light and funny, even if many of the stories are featured on the Making-of Documentary, while Astron-6 fans will also get a rise out of the team’s Film Festival Introduction. The set also features deleted scenes (although nothing too important was left on the cutting room floor) and featurettes on how the music and fake posters were made for the film, which are intriguing in their own right.

Overall, for fans of giallo who have a good sense of humor and an affinity for anarchy, THE EDITOR will definitely be one of this year’s high-def highlights. While Astron-6 fans have likely made up their minds about THE EDITOR, even they might be surprised at the scope of the production as well as what the crew pulls off this time with their respective cast and budget. And for the collectors among us, THE EDITOR has some truly impressive features and an even more jaw-dropping transfer that makes for one of the more valuable new releases on the Blu-ray market.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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