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Berberian Sound Studio [DVD]
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1976: A timid sound engineer from rural Surrey arrives in Italy to work on a mysterious horror film, mixing blood-curdling screams with the grotesque sounds of hacked vegetables. But as the on-screen violence seeps into his consciousness reality and fantasy become blurred and the nightmare starts to awake. Daringly original and masterfully constructed, this inspired homage to 70s giallo horror is a devastating assault on the eyes and brain, already being compared to the films of Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch.
Audio commentary by director Peter Strickland
Interview with Peter Strickland
The making of Berberian Sound Studio
Deleted scenes with commentary by Peter Strickland
Production design gallery
'Box Hill' extended documentary
'Berberian Sound Studio' original short film
One of the underappreciated cinematic gems of 2012, Berberian Sound Studio features the superb Toby Jones as a sound engineer working in the mid-1970s. For his next job, he heads to Italy, to start working on a new horror movie, where his task is to put together the audio mix for the film. However, things don’t prove to be that simple. As he watches more and more of the movie in question, Jones’ character gets increasingly affected by it, to the detriment of his mental state. As he does so, Berberian Sound Studio intelligently pays homage to the likes of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, and it emerges as something of a love letter to the Italian horror movies of the era.
It’s also an excellent film in its own right. Jones’ sound engineer is very much a fish out of water, aside from when he’s at his mixing desk, and the film is anchored by one of his best-ever performances. Director Peter Stickland, who contributes an excellent commentary track to the disc, is equally keen to give due respect to the art and tools of sound mixing, and that he weaves all of this in so successfully is very much to his credit.
The disc also boasts a good making of documentary, and there’s no shortage of further behind the scenes material to explore. It’s a thoughtful, rewarding package for a sublime piece of cinema. Strongly recommended. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is well paced with a gradual ramping up of tension and towards the end it gets gets very strange. As well as being an entertaining story it's also an interesting watch. His job is to recreate the sounds of various nasty scenes, the techniques he uses to achieve these make for an interesting watch in themselves.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the lack of shock or visual horror, apart from a few glimpses it's all in the audio and not in a surprise fashion, in places it is downright creepy, which always get's my vote! In summary this is a decent horror watch, and something a little different from the usual tropes.
Gilderoy assumes that the Italian film was about horses, but when he is greeted by the films producer Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) he discovers that the film is actually a horror movie. With typically English stiff upper lip, Gilderoy dives into an environment completely alien to him. Clearly out of his depth, he's further unnerved by working in a new country with no grasp of Italian. Gilderoy is manipulated by everyone, from the utterly serious Francesco to the lecherous Santini, and even by the moody secretary Elena (Tonia Sotiropoulou).
But Gilderoy knows one thing very well, and that is sound. At the mixing desk, he reigns supreme. He watches over and controls the voices of the actresses Claudia (Eugenia Caruso) and Elisa (Chiara D'Anna) who provide the dialogue and countless screams; the assistants who simulate the violence on screen by slashing and whacking all manner of fruit and vegetables; and creating many of the sounds himself from his own vast repertoire. You appreciate the sound engineers craft from Gilderoy's numerous charts, his maps of how sounds and effects will be layed over the visuals.
Gilderoy clearly relishes his new environment, but equally appalled by it. The uncomfortable subject matter inevitably proves too much for this mild mannered sound engineer, a scene involving a red hot poker and a nun providing the psychological catalyst to his own breakdown.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretentious twaddle. The idea is that the Englishman eventually becomes like his Italian studio bosses, whom he initially despises and fears -- hence his suddenly turning... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dominic Swayne
Sorry, I failed to understand this at all (the ending). However, the part with the "dangerously aroused goblin" made me really laugh - it was worth watching just for that!Published 3 months ago by Simi
Peter Strickland's unnerving film Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is set in an Italian sound studio during the seventies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Garry Pope
After the sheer joy of The Duke of Burgundy and following a recommendation from the ticket seller at the cinema, I decided to discover other work by Toby Jones. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tesspub
Pretentious metatextual drivel that is never as smart as it thinks it is. The two-minute title sequence for the schlock horror movie they are working on is better than the whole of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Artless Reader
Whoever has compared this film to anything by Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch needs their head examined. I like Toby Jones but this film is totally overrated rubbish. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tog
Different, disturbing and intelligent, but missing in some basic information which subsequently makes the film disjointed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jack Oswald
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