Italian horror films from the 70s had a style that was unique and unlike no other. Specifically the “giallo” genre. Berberian Sound Studio’s story takes place during the height of that era.
Gilderoy is a British sound engineer hired to work on an Italian horror film. This job was extremely vital back then, due to the fact that these films relied so heavily on post-production sound design. You get to see Gilderoy use everything possible in order to make certain sound effects. Plenty of fresh produce such as, water melons, cabbage and other various items were used to make the sounds for the violent film being worked on.
Gilderoy is a character that clearly felt out of his element at first, having previously only worked on more wholesome type of programming back home. He’s also depicted as being a momma’s boy.
As the film progresses there’s a certain surreal quality that really comes through, which I believe will really split most audiences’ opinions. I can imagine people who have never been exposed to, or aren’t fans of Italian style 70s film making, will be put off and not appreciate much about it, but for hardcore fans of the genre, Berberian Sound Studio has some elements which are a real treat.
This is a very different kind of film; one which I don’t think I have ever seen the likes of previously. As fresh as it is, there is a very slow pace to it. This could prove to be a hinderance for horror fans who generally are not in the mood for these more artsy, fartsy type of films.
The ending made me sort of shrug my shoulders. After investing so much attention into something that is not necessarily easy to sit through, I kind of wish the pay off would have been better.
Truly, this film will largely be appreciated by fans of Italian 70s cinema. There are plenty of nods to films of that era made by maestros such as Argento, Fulci, Bava and Soavi.
Berberian Sound Studio took me back to those days convincingly enough and I liked that about it. However, the pacing feels off and it wouldn’t have hurt to be able to see more actual footage of the film they were working on. It’s clear what the director was going for and I’d say overall he succeeded.