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Vegetables, Horror and Sound Effects in Genuinely Disturbing Indie Film,
This review is from: Berberian Sound Studio [DVD] (DVD)
This is many ways is paying homage to those seventies horror films that are really in a genre all of their own. The studio of the title is where unassuming sound engineer, Gilderoy (Toby Jones `Harry Potter') arrives. He has only done nature films and children's television before but as this is called `The Equestrian Vortex' he assumes it is a horsey thing. When he questions the enigmatic director Santini (Antonio Mancino) he is told `this is not a horror film, it is a Santini film! So he gets on with the job in hand.
The problem is that the men helping him are at most barely cognisant or one is totally hostile. He decides to plod on and the cast are far from fan boys themselves. We see an array of vegetables getting smashed, dropped, ripped apart or stabbed to the flickering reflection coming from the studio screen. Our senses are heightened still further by the use of the sound board, so we know what is taking place on the unseen screen as say a witch is having her hair pulled out or a multiple stabbing is taking place as an unsuspecting cabbage get the `Psycho' shower scene treatment.
All of this is taking place amidst the seeming constant background noise of screaming. As the film gets more and more to Gilderoy, the more his reality seems to get mixed up in the happenings of the film. I also noticed that there is a tension both actual and sexual that is volatile through out and I think as most of the action takes place in the studio, this gives it a claustrophobic hue which adds to both a feeling of intimacy and immediacy.
This is a film that will stay with you, not only will you never look at a vegetable quite the same way again, but it has a power to come back into your mind for some time afterwards. I really liked it but almost exhaled in relief when it ended, which on reflection is some achievement for a film that rolls just over an hour and a half. In Italian and English with sub titles in all the right places. For fans of Italian horror as this makes a brilliant companion piece and for people who like films off the beaten path this is one to add to your collection.