The House With Laughing Windows (La casa dalle finestre che ridono)

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Movie Info

Though fans of typical Italian horror films may find House With the Windows That Laugh lacking in the stylistic excesses of many of its contemporary companion pieces, it exceeds its contemporaries in almost every other area. Imbued with an overwhelming sense of dread that grows to an almost unbearable pitch, director Pupi Avati sets the deliberate pace of the film in contrast with the sense of solemn oppression that never ceases from the first to the last frame of the film. As the painter hired to restore a fresco in the church of a small Italian town learns more of the sordid legacy of its original artist, the calm pacing of the film reveals each twisted secret at impeccably timed intervals, never revealing details too soon, and often leaving the viewer hanging just long enough to build the appropriate anticipation needed for each revelation to have an acute and horrifying impact. Characters seem to be literally swallowed in the sea of darkness surrounding the mythology of the deranged painter of the original fresco and his mysterious sisters. With the soul of the main character at stake as he begins to feel possessed by the same disturbing compulsions that propelled the original artist into madness, the question as to if he will solve the mystery in time, or become another sacrifice in the black legacy, is a testament to Avati's masterful ability to manipulate the expectations and emotions of his audience, only to shatter whatever preconceptions they may have in the film's shocking climax. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Critic Reviews for The House With Laughing Windows (La casa dalle finestre che ridono)

All Critics (2)

  • certainly a gripping giallo, but also an intelligent allegory of post-war Italy's struggles to emerge from the Fascist outrages of its recent past.

    Jul 9, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The House With Laughing Windows (La casa dalle finestre che ridono)

  • Apr 01, 2016
    "The House with Laughing Windows" is a relentlessly depressing and, I found, a deeply disappointing 'giallo'. It deserves praise for avoiding those superfluous, atmosphere-sapping attempts at comedy that mar even the best examples of the genre - Dario Argento's "Deep Red" included - but, in all honesty, the plotting is as audaciously daft as ever. Fatally, the central mystery is not as absorbing as it should be, and the film is neither stylishly directed nor especially technically competent. It also contains a couple of the most risible love scenes I think I've ever seen. The atmosphere is unusually oppressive but, rather irritatingly, it's largely achieved via faintly sinister members of the supporting cast, who constantly drift in and out but never stick around long enough to be characterised. The glut of unanswered questions, and the unfair way in which the killer's identity is concealed - a common fault of gialli - are also annoying. We see little of the murders, probably for the very good reason that, retrospectively, it's impossible to imagine the victims being overpowered in the first place. The movie is mostly just Lino Capolicchio, walking around looking puzzled and miserable. Considering its strong reputation among exploitation aficionados, this is perhaps the most disappointing movie I've seen this year.
    Stephen M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2016
    Nicely shot...well acted...great loactions...interesting story. But it suffered greatly from very poor editing, which made the story feel disjointed and slightly confusing at times.
    Robert C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2016
    I don't think I'll throw my hat in the ring and claim this to be one of the top ten giallos of all time. Far from it actually. I found this one to be utterly confusing with so much poor plotting and a ridiculous amount of red herrings that I was left a bit dumbfounded at the end. With a little bit of thought, I understood everything, but it still left so many questions unanswered. The atmospherics and the build are reasonably good, but the plot is a bit lost. So many twists and turns aren't always necessary, in my opinion. It has some merit, perhaps more than its worth, but I wouldn't recommend it for most horror fans. They might be overly befuddled.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2016
    Suspenseful and intriguing. Certainly not your typical giallo.
    vieras e Super Reviewer

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