Isaacs Picture Conclusions

GIALLORAMA! THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS (1976) THREE TOP HATS

Well – now that this is over I can say that, without a doubt, I sure didn’t see THAT end coming. Wow – nice! Now that I am fully enthralled with this genre of movies and plan to keep on trucking with them, I think I can postulate that this isn’t like many of the others (to be sure: I have only seen five), in which: it has no nudity, a very low body count, it isn’t really that “weird’ and it wasn’t horribly dubbed (it might have just been the DVD copy I had that only had subtitles). I found this thing to be fairly slow – but engaging – with a lot of creepy tricks-with-light, things making noises in the dark, a couple of disturbing characters and I thought the dialogue was pretty fun (I don’t speak Italian so I can’t attest to the validity of the subtitles). I didn’t like this as much as “Solange” but I definitely enjoyed it.

Let’s see… a bearded man named Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) is summoned to a small village by its dwarf Mayor to restore a painting of one Saint Sebastian (who is getting stabbed).:

On the ferry there, he meets a BEAUTIFUL woman called Francesca (played by Francesca Marciano) who becomes his love interest, after he may or may not have diddled the town whore. Anyway, he was recommended to restore this painting by a local, a friend of his named Dr. Mazza who, as it turns out, has some seriously grave information about the painter of this thing (and many others), a certain Buono Legnani. “Legnani was up to something in the house with laughing windows,” Mazza cryptically explains, “meet me in your room.” Just like you would expect, as Stefano approaches his hotel, Mazza is thrown from the third story window, lands on his head and his character goes no further into the mystery of Legnani – so Stefano’s own investigation is on. “This time it’s personal…” he growls, loading his shotgun. Just kidding, he doesn’t say or do that, for real.

Well, his hotel room is reserved for a better guest (??) so the priest at the church recommends he go stay out in the country in this gigantic, run down estate housing a heinous, bed-ridden woman upstairs; I guess this is the 70s so doing this doesn’t seem to be a problem with anyone. Before too long he is snooping around in the attic and comes across a very old tape recorder, listens to the recording of someone chanting about his death and his blood and his soul departing and bikes into town to talk to the red headed town slut he may or may not have bopped earlier. In her stead he finds the lovely Francesca who graciously invites him inside in the middle of the night, tells him she was having a dream about eating escargot and shows him her fridge full of live snails.  This picture doesn’t do her justice but this girl is smoking hot like Zoeey Deschanel in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

Naturally, after their romantic dinner in the “gloomy darkness”, she soon moves in with him in the decrepit villa, things start to get spooky, they start to figure out why Legnani painted portraits of people who were just about to die and what that house with laughing windows is all about. This movie is an hour and fifty minutes long and there’s not really much, or any, action until the last ten minutes but if you can hang in there, there’s a really cool payoff. There’s no real risque skin in this (although men and women’s hairy armpits get some screen time) and it’s not gory until the end (grimace) so it might be a better option, if you’re interested in the genre.

Next up on my giallo adventure is “The Pyjama Girl Case” but, before that, I think I am going to look at something a little more modern.

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