Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Berberian Sound Studio (film)

A horror film post for Hallowe'en! Hailsham Film Club's choice for their November screening is the Peter Strickland film, Berberian Sound Studio. Strickland made his debut a few years ago with Katalin Varga, a haunting Hungarian language thriller which was also screened by Hailsham Film Club. The atmosphere for Katalin Varga was heightened by the use of a powerful and unusual soundtrack and Strickland has returned to the use of sound for the same reasons in Berberian Sound Studio, the story of a nerdy British sound engineer from Dorking who gets a job in an Italian horror film studio.

Set in the 1970s, the film is staged entirely within the studio as the nerdy Gilderoy (Toby Jones) works on an explicit horror film entitled The Equestrian Vortex. As an audience, we see the soundtrack being put together - actresses screaming into microphones and men creating sound effects by stabbing vegetables. As life begins to imitate art for Gilderoy, Strickland combines these sounds, together with the loneliness of the studio building, to provide tension and fear without needing to show a single drop of gore.

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 13th Nov, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50 (£5 concessions). Available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person from the Box Office.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the first hour of Berberian Sound Studio. The studio itself is a wonderfully claustrophobic set, it is fascinating to see how a soundtrack used to be put together, the characters are strong with great cameos – the witch and the goblin particularly – and the whole piece has a nostalgic 1970s feel. Toby Jones is perfect as the fish-out-of-water Gilderoy, his discomfort obvious and understandable. The soundtrack itself is bizarre and haunting and I loved this aspect of the film throughout.

    However, as Gilderoy began to lose his sanity, I began to lose track of where the film was going. Specific scenes are memorable, such as what follows him being woken by a doorbell, but there were several moments where I really could not tell what Strickland was trying to show.

    I’ve given this film three stars on Flixster, so overall I thought it was good but not amazing. It is great visually and aurally but, for me, it got too arty at the expense of the plot.