WriterGianni Cavina, Maurizio Costanzo Release date16 August 1976 Initial DVD releaseSeptember 25, 2006 (United Kingdom) CastLino Capolicchio (Stefano), Francesca Marciano (Francesca), Gianni Cavina (Coppola), Giulio Pizzirani (Antonio Mazza), Bob Tonelli (Mayor Solmi), Ferdinando Orlandi (Police Marshall) Similar moviesThe Gift, The Boy Next Door, The New York Ripper, Death Proof, Reflections in Black, The Killer is One of Thirteen
The House with Laughing Windows (Italian title: La casa dalle finestre che ridono) is a 1976 Italian giallo film co-written and directed by Pupi Avati. The film was shot in Lido degli Scacchi in the Ferrara province of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. It was nominated for the 1983 International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film at Fantasporto.
italy 1976 amedeo tommasi the house with laughing windows
Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) arrives in a village of the Valli di Comacchio area where he has been employed to restore a fresco depicting what appears to be the martyring of Saint Sebastian, which has been painted on a rotting wall of the local church by a mysterious, long-dead artist. While temporarily taking up residence in the house that had been previously owned by the two sisters of the deceased painter, Stefano begins a romance with a new, beautiful schoolteacher, Francesca (Francesca Marciano), meanwhile learning from various townspeople that the painter had been a madman who had derived his art from real life. Specifically, Stefano learns that the artist — assisted by his two equally-insane sisters — had been a killer who brutally tortured people to death as inspiration for his horrific paintings — a practice that had likely been used for the very painting he is in process of restoring. As Stefano is discouraged for his task throughout the town, some of the villagers are brutally killed — including his employer — and he comes to suspect that their murderer is trying to deter him from discovering the full truth behind the artist and his ominous legacy within the sleepy community.
Lino Capolicchio as Stefano
Francesca Marciano as Francesca
Gianni Cavina as Coppola
Giulio Pizzirani as Antonio Mazza
Vanna Busoni as Teacher
Andrea Matteuzzi as Poppi
Bob Tonelli as Solmi
Pietro Brambilla as Lidio
Ferdinando Orlandi as Marshall
Ines Ciaschetti as Concierge
Flavia Giorgi as Poppi's Wife
Eugene Walter as Priest
Carla Astolfi as Chambermaid
Tonino Corazzari as Buono Legnani
Pina Borione as Laura Legnani
John Marquette as Saint Sebastian in fresco (uncredited)
This film was only released theatrically in Italy. It was later released on video/DVD elsewhere, but only in Italian/subtitled.
The film has been received well by contemporary critics. AllMovie's review of the film was favorable, giving it a rating of 3 out of 5, and writing that "[though] fans of typical Italian horror films may find House with the Windows That Laugh [sic] lacking in the stylistic excesses of many of its contemporary companion pieces, it exceeds its contemporaries in almost every other area," and that it was "imbued with an overwhelming sense of dread that grows to an almost unbearable pitch."
On review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, no score has yet been reached with only two critical ratings submitted. The current ratings — both "fresh" — are from Emanuel Levy of emanuellevy.com, who gave the film a 3 out of 5, and Anton Bitel of Eye for Film, who gave the film a 4.5 out of 5, and wrote, "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."
Availability and Legacy
The House with Laughing Windows was released on Region 1 DVD on 18 March 2003 through Paradox Entertainment. On 5 January 2010 the film was released on Region 2 DVD through Metrodome.
On 9 August 2011 Trailers From Hell! uploaded a video segment on the film to YouTube, in which Eli Roth discusses his feelings on its merits and the giallo genre, opining that it is "a great place to start [into giallo]" and "amongst the best" of the genre, ultimately comparing the film to the work of Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci — "the masters of the giallo."