Director: Pupi Avati
Image Entertainment

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of LA CASA DALLE FINESTRE CHE RIDONO, Image Entertainment's Euroshock Collection has done a superb job of restoration by returning to the original camera negative for their source print. This film has never looked better and most fans have had to contend with inferior prints on VHS for years so this product is most welcome indeed.

The reputation of this film is almost legendary and will disappoint gore fans and those that like their Eurotrash seasoned with heavy doses of sex and violence. There is very little in the way of graphic murder happening here which pleases this reviewer -- not a gorehound by any stretch of the imagination -- to an enormous degree. Director Pupi Avati instead uses many plot devices and narrative twists and turns to tell his story at a leisurely pace.

The premise is an intriguing one as an art expert, Stefano (charmingly portrayed by Lino Capolicchio) is summoned to a small Italian village to restore a fresco depicting the murder of St. Sebastian by two horrific old hags with daggers, not one's usual concept of an altar painting. Avati creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and mystery within the village and its inhabitants. The artist is told of the original painter, Legnani, his obsession with death and the two sisters that idolized him and his work.

Not long after his arrival new murders occur and he begins to receive threats if he continues to restore the fresco. He acquires a girlfriend and the two of them set out to solve the mystery of the house with the laughing windows. They discover an old, abandoned farmhouse whose windows are painted with pop art red lips, a jarring apparition in a gloomy landscape. Without giving away the labyrinthine plot, let us say that a conspiracy of silence permeates the village and evil is allowed to flourish even in the shadow of the church.

This reviewer appreciated the time and effort Avati and his writers took to concoct a giallo that keeps the viewer guessing right up until the final moments. If one has never seen this film before, avoid looking at the featurette as it contains spoilers regarding the plot.

Lino Capolicchio also stars in BLOOD STAINED SHADOW, a giallo made two years later and now available on DVD in a boxed set presentation. Amadeo Tommasi has composed a sweet, enduring and melodious score for this fine entry in the 70s Italian sweeps but worked very little after the making of this film.

There is a trailer and a gallery of fotobuste along with the retrospective documentary which is in Italian with English subtitles. There are 18 chapter stops and HOUSE is presented in its 1.85:1 (Anamorphic) aspect ratio. (Christopher Dietrich)