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