Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

aka - Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono, La
Italy 1976
Directed by
Pupi Avati
110 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars

The House Of The Laughing Windows

Synopsis: Stefano is a renovator who is called in to restore a painting in an old San Sebastian church. As he begins to look into the horrific fresco's history he discovers that the painter had died in mysterious circumstances. As he digs deeper the townsfolk begin to die. He visits a local spinster to find out more but soon finds that she has a sinister secret to share with priest who first invited him. They are both sisters of the artist who are now creating a grim tableau of dead bodies to pose in front of their brother's decaying corpse.

Long unavailable in an English language version, Pupi Avati's The House of the Laughing Windows has been seen as the Holy Grail by many Italian Giallo aficionados. A slow-burning thriller that will shock and surprise the unsuspecting viewer, the leisurely pace will leave fans of the MTV horrors of Scream reaching for the fast forward but it's worth the wait. The un-guessable cross dressing denouement will startle as the violence punches through the sombre veneer of what has gone before.

Avati's career has followed many twista and turns since he first directed Blood Relations in 1968. From co-scripting Pasolini's infamous Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom to directing the tender A Heart Elsewhere in 2003 he has worked in every genre. Often dipping into horror, he knows how to keep an audience at the edge of their seats. The often disturbing imagery in his work is unsettling and is regularly enhanced by his juxtaposing the gore with picturesque vistas and beautiful Italian scenery.

Beautifully shot, the crystal-clear photography is incandescent. The performances are the usual for Italian horror, with an awkwardness excacerbated by the dubbing so it is best to hunt down the original language version.

For the uninitiated interested in familiarizing themselves with Italian horror it is probably best to try Dario Argento's Deep Red, Michele Soivi's Stagefright or Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace as you explore the wonderful world of Giallo thrillers. Avati's sinister oeuvre relies more on atmosphere than overt violence but retains the wilfully obscure plotting that makes the Italian maestro's other work so enjoyable. Approach with caution but there is much to enjoy in this house of horrors.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst