Berberian Sound Studio

June 16th, 2013


Berberian Sound Studio

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A sound engineer's work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.

Release Year: 2012

Rating: 6.3/10 (2,731 voted)

Director: Peter Strickland

A sound engineer's work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.


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Language: ,

Release Date:

Filming Locations: Three Mills Studios, Three Mill Lane, Bow, London, England, UK

Technical Specs


At the very beginning of the film, Elena calls Francesco to announce Gilderoy's arrival at the studio. Although the film is set in Italy, when she picks up the phone a continuous dial tone is heard, which is normal for the US or UK; however, the actual dial tone would have sounded very differently in Italy, a country where the phone system has a very distinctive and non-continuous dial tone (consisting of a 425Hz tone with a duration of 0.6sec followed by a 1 second pause, followed by a 0.2 sec tone then a 0.2 sec pause, repeated in a loop until the first digit is dialed). See more »

User Review



Saw the film as part of EIFF today, and I mostly liked it. It's an immensely stylish homage to 70's Italian horror cinema. I was ridiciously excited for it going in , being a big fan of Peter Strickland's last film Katalin Varga, and it only really disappointed me towards the end.

The sets, costumes, lighting, music and most importantly sound effects all gave the film an awesome 70's atmosphere not dissimilar to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy that kept me transfixed throughout.

And something that surprised me: as well as being unsettling, the film was actually really, truly funny in parts (humor wasn't a big part of Katalin Varga). There's a lot of winks and nudges to fans of films like Suspiria, that would have been made in these studios in the first place. The ridiculous descriptions that the sound recordist gives of the scenes we only ever hear- "the two women creep along the secret subterranean poultry tunnel only to find the putrid corpses of the witches" - are hilarious. The tension and uncertainty builds slowly as Toby Jones ' gentle British sensibilities clash with the gruesome scenes he has to score (he has to stab cabbages, pull apart radishes and smash in courgettes) and with the brash Italians (some really well played escalating conflict).

But in the last act the film became a little too ambiguous for my liking. It seemed to attempt a Mulholland Drive-style reversal which for me didn't really work...I didn't really get what the intention was, and felt like Strickland had just used it as a flashy excuse to avoid giving it a real satisfying conclusion.

Still, I had a lot of fun watching the film and would definitely recommend it.

An irony was that, for a film so dependent on sound for it's atmosphere,during the screening there was construction going on outside the screen. So to add to the diagetic horror sounds we annoyingly had some non-diagetic construction noises!!


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