Berberian Sound Studio
- Director: Peter Strickland
- Genre: Horror
- Cert: 15A
- Details: UK/TBC
A must for horror fans and there isn't a monster, a killer, or a gruesome death in sight? Or even blood? What gives? This 70s-set comedy horror is for those who enjoyed The Conversation and Italian gore-fests. An odd marriage, I know.
'That sounds a bit watery. Is there a fresh melon?' Toby Jones is a lofty British sound recordist in Italy to add the squelchy sound effects to what has all the earmarks of a cheap giallo, whose pompous director (Mancino) feels captures the truth of a witch-goblin-torture-virgin college students-slasher: 'This is not a horror film – this is a Santini film!' As Jones becomes increasingly concerned he won't be paid for the work, he gets sucked into the witchy story on screen, getting increasingly bedraggled as he begins to lose his mind.
Although we never get to see the movie itself, through the snatches of dialogue and the reading of the scene synopsis to give the voiceover actor's motivation, the humour leaks through: 'Scene thirteen: the dangerously aroused goblin tries to molest Teresa' At the end of his tether and sick of Jones' wormy disquiet over money, watching blustery producer Francesco (Fusko) slowly get worked up from calm business man to a jittery mess is fun. The title of the movie is The Equestrian Vortex and it's based on a true story. The elderly sound engineer shuffles about the place like a zombie.
That's fun, but what about the horror? It's more of an increasing dread rather than blood spatter. Only using two locations - the studio and Jones' cramped apartment - Katalin Varga director Peter Strickland creates a claustrophobic atmosphere. The sound effects, of course, play a massive part: Strickland turns the volume up on screams and unsettling noises and doesn't turn it down again until it reaches unbearable levels.
When Berberian gets all David Lynch towards the close it loses the run of itself as twists pile up on twists - another screening or two is essential to appreciating this - but this horror comedy is nothing but original and is a fun outing that leads one to appreciate the sound effects a little more. Which is nice.
Review by Gavin Burke | 10:56 | Friday 24th August 2012 | Movie Review
A very curious film, perhaps best appreciated by those with a taste for Italian horror and giallo films of the 1970s like myself. I agree about the David Lynch effect. By the end, I was thinking this is like Mulholland Drive - the film just disappears into itself...Posted 12:56 | Sat 1st Sep 2012
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