“One of the year’s very best films, a great, rumbling thunderclap of genius.”
(Five Stars) – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
Berberian Sound Studio
On DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 31st Dec. 2012
Dazzling Argento style and haunting Lynchian atmosphere are combined in Peter Stickland’s brilliantly original and hugely acclaimed homage to 1970s Italian horror.
Writer-director Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga) and stars Toby Jones (The Girl; Snow White And The Huntsman; The Hunger Games; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Tonia Sotiropoulou (Skyfall) and Cosimo Fusco (Angels And Demons; The Card Player).
It’s 1976 and timid, Dorking-based sound engineer, Gilderoy, has been transplanted to Italy’s run-down Berberian Sound Studio to work on “The Equestrian Vortex”, the latest low-budget horror movie by notorious exploitation maestro Giancarlo Santini. Gilderoy’s task is a seemingly simple one: to create, record and mix the sounds of bloodcurdling screams, limbs being severed and the insertion of red hot pokers into human orifices, mostly using a variety of everyday household items such as old vegetables and a hammer. But Gilderoy is totally unprepared for the graphically grotesque images on show, the effect they have on him and for the unusual working practices of his employers. As he becomes more deeply involved in his work, the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred and, very subtly, Gilderoy’s life begins to imitate art in a nightmare scenario from which he may never escape.
We like it because:
Winner of the Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor awards at the 2012 Film 4 Frightfest, Peter Strickland’s disturbing, eerie chiller is a must-see for fans of the work of Dario Argento, Roman Polanski and David Lynch and features a revelatory central performance by Toby Jones and a superb soundtrack by British indie electronic band, Broadcast.
“Seriously weird and seriously good. Toby Jones gives the performance of his career, and Peter Strickland has emerged as a key British film-maker of his generation.” (Five Stars) – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
“Eerie, atmospheric, stylish – no adjectives can transmit the sensational quality of director Peter Strickland’s astonishing avant-garde anti-horror.” (5/5) – Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro.
“Half-satire, half-Lynchian nightmare.” (Four Stars) – Anthony Quinn, The Independent.
“If you love movies, you’ll love this. Painstakingly recreating an era of full-blooded Italian horror, this niche-sounding yet accessible thriller confirms Strickland as a major talent.” (Four Stars) – Jamie Graham, Total Film.
“Lip-smacking cinema… unmissable.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph.
“Nightmarish, atmospheric… superb.” – Stephen Carty, Empire.
“One of the films of the year.” – Phillip French, The Observer.
“Rivetingly inventive.” – Jonathan Romney, The Independent.
Berberian Sound Studio will be available on VOD from the 31st December and is available now on Curzon on Demand.
The soundtrack to Berberian Sound Studio, composed by renowned Warp-signed band Broadcast is released a week later, on Jan 7th 2013. Time Out said of the film that the “stylistically ambitious, morally radical, thematically complex work…deserves the highest praise”. This turns out to also be an apt description of the film’s sublime soundtrack, composed by Broadcast (aka Trish Keenan and James Cargill), before Trish’s untimely passing last year.
Initially conceived as the soundtrack to The Equestrian Vortex, the film-within-a-film (watch opening credits here: http://youtu.be/H7zIfUwwoQ0) around which Berberian Sound Studio unfolds, it would eventually spill outwards to encapsulate the entire world Strickland had created and populated with eccentric, magnetic characters. On it’s own, the music sets a sinister and atmospheric tone that still exists well within Broadcast’s sonic universe.