It’s 1976 and timid sound engineer Gilderoy arrives at 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.
But Gilderoy is totally unprepared for the 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 Gilderoy’s life begins to imitate art in a nightmare scenario from which he may never escape.
“This is a great example of an untrustworthy film – a feeling that you’re in unsafe hands and not everything will be made clear by the end, meaning that the film will continue to play long after the credits have rolled. For me there is also a real thrill in watching foley being recorded directly to loops of ¼ inch tape – a process that I employed when creating the sound for Enys Men, and one of my favourite aspects of filmmaking.” – Mark Jenkin