The House with the Laughing Windows (1976)

Pupi Avati made Zeder, the zombie movie that really isn’t a zombie movie, so I was excited to see his take on the giallo, basing it on a story he heard about a priest being exhumed in his childhood.

The Valli di Comacchio area has a fresco on the rotting wall of a church that may be the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Painted years ago by the long-dead and always mysterious Legnani, it is being restored by Stefano, who is also living in the home of the painter’s sisters. Those very same sisters — according to town legend — assisted their brother in torturing and killing people so that he would have inspiration for his artwork.

No one wants Stefano to fix this painting. People start dying and the secret behind the murders may be in the very painting that our lead is fixing.

I love when the giallo moves out of Rome and into the small cities, such as Fulci’s masterful Don’t Torture a Duckling and Antonio Bido’s The Blood Stained Shadow. Why should the metro locales have all the deep, dark secrets and horrific murders, right?

Don’t go in expecting sleaze and gore. Do expect to be surprised and delighted by the world and mood that this movie creates. This one needs to be unearthed and celebrated by way more than know it now.


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