Rent The House with Laughing Windows (aka La casa dalle finestre che ridono) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental

Rent The House with Laughing Windows (1976)

3.6 of 5 from 62 ratings
106 minutes
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Stefano (Lino Capolicchio), an art restorer, is commissioned on the recommendation of a friend to work on a bizarre, ghoulish fresco of San Sebastian hanging in the church of a sleepy village. The disturbing image was painted by a deranged local artist famed for his habit of depicting his subjects in the last throes of death. As time passes in the rural outback the strangeness of the locals and a building sense of dread begin to haunt Stefano, who nevertheless embarks on an affair with the supply teacher at the local school.
Although the village folk are friendly enough on the surface, things are not entirely as they appear and Stefano feels a rising sense of unease as tales of murder and savage behaviour begin to emerge.
, , , Giulio Pizzirani, Bob Tonelli, Vanna Busoni, , , Andrea Matteuzzi, Ines Ciaschetti, , Flavia Giorgi, Arrigo Lucchini, Carla Astolfi, Luciano Bianchi
Pupi Avati
La casa dalle finestre che ridono
Nouveaux Pictures
Drama, Horror, Thrillers
Italy, Drama, Horror, Thrillers
Release Date:
Run Time:
106 minutes

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Reviews (2) of The House with Laughing Windows

Bad Craziness - The House with Laughing Windows review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

This is not a film for everyone. Like so much sixties and seventies Italian exploitation cinema, it doesn't have the slightest notion of restraint, and it doesn't care. However, unlike the cruder horror films in this genre, this one is surprisingly light on gore (though what little there is tends to be very nasty). It's less of a horror film than a Surreal mystery with a few bits of horror here and there, not unlike "The Wicker Man", which must have been a major influence.

The actual plot - an art expert is called in to restore a hideous painting by a mad and long-dead but apparently quite famous artist in the hope of generating tourism for a rapidly decaying town, and this causes some very nasty past events all the locals want to forget to resurface - becomes almost irrelevant as our hero gets dragged further and further into a world where absolutely everything is somewhere between slightly off-kilter and horribly wrong. Just about everyone clearly knows something they won't tell him, and some of them can't even be bothered to make their lies convincing. The entire cast are at least a bit weird (there's even a random dwarf just for the added weirdness), including the increasingly obsessed hero. People who for almost the whole film aren't definitely established to be either dead or alive and therefore can't appear in person become major characters who are always lurking somewhere just out of sight, but still exert a malign influence through creepy old tape recordings, bizarre asthmatic phone-calls, and the odd murder which the police insist was an accident. And yes, there is an actual "house with laughing windows" thrown into the mix for no reason at all like some sort of Dadaist holiday home.

The movie plays out like a slow, disturbing, inescapable nightmare, and follows that twisted dream logic where everybody behaves as if their actions make perfect sense even when they make no sense whatsoever. Some of the characters are stark raving loonies so they don't need to behave rationally, but I was utterly baffled as to why many of the townspeople would go along with this insane, pointless conspiracy. Perhaps the writers left out that whole "pagan religion that secretly practices human sacrifice" thing so it wouldn't seem too much like a "Wicker Man" rip-off, forgetting that without something along those lines, most of the characters have no discernible motivation for covering up horrible, senseless murders. But if you enjoy over-the-top Italian horror movies with more style than logic, this is one of the best and oddest examples of the genre.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Spoilers follow ... - The House with Laughing Windows review by NP

Spoiler Alert

In a sea of disconcerting images, the most unpleasant must be the fridge full of snails, bathed in their own excrement. It is something that happens without fanfare and is treated without hysteria, either by lovely new teacher Francesca (Francesca Marciano) or hero Stefano (Lino Capolicchio). There are quite a few disconcerting images like this, some occasional gore and an overriding atmosphere of perversion and unknown horror.

The story involves Stefano’s deployment to an isolated village (always the best kind) to restore a decaying mural in the local church. He takes up residency in the house owned by the original, deceased artist’s two sisters. Whilst carrying out the restoration, his casual investigations reveal that the original artist was an insane murderer, who used his nefarious activities as ‘inspiration’ for his art.

Amidst the chilling night-time whispers of ‘purify’ and the eerie dilapidation of the titular house, Stefano’s affair with doe-eyed (yet hirsute) Francesca is a welcome touch of tenderness. You just know that something unspeakable is going to happen to her.

It’s a heady concoction of sinister characters and unnerving set-pieces. The surprise revelation at the end of the film is very satisfying and in part, pretty gruesome. Although the film may never quite live up to its glorious title, it provides an entertaining edition to the Italian ‘giallo’ cinema.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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