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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Giallo Oozing With Atmosphere!
When Shameless Screen Entertainment first announced that they will be releasing THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS, I was excited to say the least! This has been one of those films that have long been on my list of titles to check out after hearing so many great reviews. Thankfully, the movie not only lived up to expectations, but surpassed them too!

THE HOUSE...
Published on 19 Nov 2012 by K. Daniels

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I loved all the views of the Italian countryside and old ...
Artist arrives in small village, where there is something strange going on. Ultimately the story plods along for 80+ minutes until something interesting happens, of which the final 20 minutes are spent on a reveal. I loved all the views of the Italian countryside and old architecture on offer. While the story is boring, the naturalistic acting lifted the film up a...
Published 27 days ago by Shaun


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Giallo Oozing With Atmosphere!, 19 Nov 2012
By 
K. Daniels "Kyle" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House With Laughing Windows [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
When Shameless Screen Entertainment first announced that they will be releasing THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS, I was excited to say the least! This has been one of those films that have long been on my list of titles to check out after hearing so many great reviews. Thankfully, the movie not only lived up to expectations, but surpassed them too!

THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS is an incredibly creepy film where almost every frame oozes with an eerie atmosphere and sense of dread. For all those who enjoy films such as DON'T LOOK NOW and THE WICKERMAN, you will love this film! It's also quite unique compared to other giallo films. Rather than focusing on outlandish gore, guts and boobies, THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS is much more reserved. Beautifully shot and with a haunting soundtrack, it's easy to see how this has become a classic of the genre. With its location being rural too, it's a unique blend of Lucio Fulci's incredible DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING, mixed with DON'T LOOK NOW and a slithering of SUSPIRIA.

This release is also superb. The film has been completely resorted under the director's supervision for this DVD and so it's looking better than it ever has.

I'd highly recommend it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More M.R.James than Argento, 28 April 2008
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Great film, very low-key & underplayed, a real slow-burner which gradually unwinds like a particularly venomous snake. The opening credits could be seen to give the wrong impression, but I must admit I prefer this kinda Giallo to the usual 'Trail of Dead' which tends to spring to mind at the mention of this genre. Pity there aren't more like this. I found the scene where we go to the eponymous house all the more powerful as I wasn't expecting it. This is very much in the vein (no pun intended) of an M.R.James tale than summat Argento or Fulci would have turned out; sure, the body count is low but the atmosphere is very powerful, especially as the circles Stefano has been running around get progressively smaller & smaller until...well, that'd be telling!
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3.0 out of 5 stars I loved all the views of the Italian countryside and old ..., 28 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The House With Laughing Windows [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
Artist arrives in small village, where there is something strange going on. Ultimately the story plods along for 80+ minutes until something interesting happens, of which the final 20 minutes are spent on a reveal. I loved all the views of the Italian countryside and old architecture on offer. While the story is boring, the naturalistic acting lifted the film up a notch.

Extras: The interview with director Pupi Avati was really rather interesting. He tells the story of how is previous film at that time was impounded. On a micro budget went onto make The House with Laughing Windows.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More M.R.James than Argento, 28 April 2008
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Great film, very low-key & underplayed, a real slow-burner which gradually unwinds like a particularly venomous snake. The opening credits could be seen to give the wrong impression, but I must admit I prefer this kinda Giallo to the usual 'Trail of Dead' which tends to spring to mind at the mention of this genre. Pity there aren't more like this. I found the scene where we go to the eponymous house all the more powerful as I wasn't expecting it. This is very much in the vein (no pun intended) of an M.R.James tale than summat Argento or Fulci would have turned out; sure, the body count is low but the atmosphere is very powerful, especially as the circles Stefano has been running around get progressively smaller & smaller until...well, that'd be telling!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Sisters, Where Art Thou?, 13 Mar 2008
Antonio, recently reacquainted with his friend Stefano who has come to renovate a fresco in the local church depicting the Martyrdom of St Sebastian, has discovered something he shouldn't. Something is rotten in the Italian backwater, but before he can divulge his suspicions he finds himself on the wrong side of a top floor window and plummets to his death while a shadow lurks behind the curtains. So far, so giallo. The gruesome work of art is apparently key to uncovering some secret harboured by the town's residents, so the bulk of the film is then devoted to delving into the bloody back-story of the deceased Artist and his two insane sisters. The main problem here is that the film finds the central mystery much more mysterious than it actually is, and doesn't seem to realise it's given most of the details away. As the Painter's story unfolds - murky as it is - the important stuff (that the gruesome acts depicted in the artist's work might be real) is either implied by the promotional blurb, the opening credits sequence or already anticipated by our over-active imaginations.

What the film sorely needs in the absence of any real action is some clarification as to what it is we're actually supposed to be intrigued by while we wait for the body count to rise. There is a throwaway line later in the film which goes a long way to informing the story as a whole, and cements in our minds the very real danger at hand, but it comes a bit late in the day. Used earlier it would have given Stefano's amateur sleuthing some much needed impetus (Antonio's is too mundane and isolated a death and seems forgotten almost immediately). What lies at the heart of the film then, once the back-story has been told (and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) is Stefano's failure to deduce the identity of the sisters (in particular the second sister) and the consequences therein. So everything depends on the final reveal. These are obviously characters we've already met - that's how these things work - but a real rapport needed to be established between Stefano and the peripheral players to give the nature of the revelation (which has been sketchily sign-posted) a much greater emotional punch when it comes. As a result the effect is diluted. Ultimately the biggest mystery is why the town is keeping its secrets in the first place.

On the plus side, coupled with the brooding atmospherics, it is lovely to look at. The camera work isn't overly elaborate but understated works in the film's favour. There are some nice shots - one in particular where Stefano walks round the side of a house with his back to it, so we discover, a moment before he does, that the title isn't simply a metaphor. A palette of greys and smoky blues blends with the thin winter light, with sparing splashes of crimson and orange ochre (emulating the look of Hitchcock's Frenzy). The artist's monologue which accompanies a retrospective sepia-tinged slaughter during the opening credits and used again later on is effectively lurid (you'll need a shower afterwards, followed by dinner and flowers) and the full extent of one haunted local's involvement with the mysterious trio some thirty-odd years earlier lends the film some much needed emotional resonance. Most of all Avati deserves credit for the St Sebastian reference. It seems a pretty innocuous stylistic choice, but there is a significance here which, though not essential, provides one of the true, subtle revelations of the entire film. Provided you put two and two together and know your saints.

The House with Laughing Windows was for so long the 'lost giallo' and consequently it seems a bit of giallo envy has bolstered its reputation as a forgotten masterpiece. In terms of pure filmmaking that's short of the mark. There are too many uneven moments. Characters disappear ominously, then reappear without acknowledgement. Things go bump in the night which we discover second hand rather than getting to witness, and there's a curious did they/didn't they? (have it off) tryst between Stefano and the town's departing school teacher (if they did he apparently likes to keep not only his socks on but his entire dapper three-piece). That isn't to say it's a total bomb by any means either. It depends how invested you find yourself in the Painter's story, and to some extent how prepared you are to suspend disbelief. If you approach with expectations suitably tempered it'll probably do the business. Just sit back and soak up the quietly unsettling atmosphere without thinking too much, but be warned, a great time is not assured.

***½
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The House with Laughing Windows, 25 July 2010
By 
A. J. Harrison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This isnt your typical Giallo film, theres vertually no body count to speak of and no murder mystery to be solved.

Lino Capolicchio stars as a painter who while trying to recreate a damaged painting in a church becomes compelled to try and discover more about the original painter, much to the disgust of the locals.

Pupi Avati is able to create a very scary atmosphere which makes this far more scary than any other Giallo ive ever seen. The twist at the end and the overall story are great making this a must see, the only fault I can really pick up on was maybe the music score which is mainly left to the background and doesnt really add any atmosphere.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Horror, 14 Feb 2007
By 
Funk Monkey (Maidstone, Kent) - See all my reviews
The House with Laughing Windows is a definite change of direction for the Italian thriller genre. The film makers focused more on creating a dark psychological mystery than the more usual glamorous sexy slashers that were being churned out.

The story struck me as similar to some of the work by M.R. James in the sense that a learned gentleman arrives in the sleepy town only to fall foul of something ghastly. A frequent plot basis of James.

The opening scene puts the viewer on edge with it's graphic nastiness and distinctively creepy score.Lino Capolicchio underplays the fish out of water protagonist Stefano with aplomb and sports some rather nice clothes !

Now, I must confess to finding the first half of the film, whilst never less than intriguing, soporific. The second half on the other hand greatly improves as the story gets creepier and more strange. I'm truly thankful for not knowing anything about the films conclusion as it's a real humdinger and as a result of finding the ending so satisfying I now regard the film as a whole as a horror classic.

This DVD truly shines in the picture quality department. Sound seemed pretty fine too. Sadly nothing in the way of extras though.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous italian horror, 27 May 2009
I had read about Pupi Avati in horror mags but had yet to see a film. I got this one as my first. I absolutely love italian horror of all types and this did not disappoint me. An erie story of a spooky village, dodgy locals and a painting done by a mad man, with a few twists in the story. It is a little slow, but that is all part of the charm, and builds up slowly. I realise 70's italian horror isn't to everyone's taste, but i loved this and will endevour to purchase any other horrors that Pupi has directed. If you love italian horror, give it a whirl!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Giallo, 3 Mar 2009
By 
John P. Yates (Rotherham, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Stefano (an art restorer) is comissioned to restore a guesome fresco of San Sebastian in the church of a small village. As he uncovers more of the painting he discovers the truth of the original artists lust for torture and murder.
Something of a classic among 'Giallo' films, Pupi Avati's 'House with laughing windows' is a tense suspenseful film quite different from the usual stalk and slash films, and all the better for it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Sisters, Where Art Thou?, 13 Mar 2008
First off, the synopsis here from Amazon is misleading. The "string of murdered locals" bit happens in quick succession and towards the very end. It's not what drives the story. There is but one death early on, that of townsman Antonio, recently reacquainted with his friend Stefano who has come to renovate a fresco in the local church depicting the Martyrdom of St Sebastian. Naturally something is rotten in the Italian backwater, but before Antonio can divulge his suspicions he finds himself on the wrong side of a top floor window and plummets to his death while a shadow lurks behind the curtains. So far, so giallo. The gruesome work of art is apparently key to uncovering some secret harboured by the town's residents, so the bulk of the film is then devoted to delving into the bloody back-story of the deceased Artist and his two insane sisters. The main problem here is that the film finds the central mystery much more mysterious than it actually is, and doesn't seem to realise it's given most of the details away. As the Painter's story unfolds - murky as it is - the important stuff (that the gruesome acts depicted in the artist's work might be real) is either implied by the promotional blurb, the opening credits sequence or already anticipated by our over-active imaginations.

What the film sorely needs in the absence of any real action is some clarification as to what it is we're actually supposed to be intrigued by while we wait for the body count to rise. There is a throwaway line later in the film which goes a long way to informing the story as a whole, and cements in our minds the very real danger at hand, but it comes a bit late in the day. Used earlier it would have given Stefano's amateur sleuthing some much needed impetus (Antonio's is too mundane and isolated a death and seems forgotten almost immediately). What lies at the heart of the film then, once the back-story has been told (and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) is Stefano's failure to deduce the identity of the sisters (in particular the second sister) and the consequences therein. So everything depends on the final reveal. These are obviously characters we've already met - that's how these things work - but a real rapport needed to be established between Stefano and the peripheral players to give the nature of the revelation (which has been sketchily sign-posted) a much greater emotional punch when it comes. As a result the effect is diluted. Ultimately the biggest mystery is why the town is keeping its secrets in the first place.

On the plus side, coupled with the brooding atmospherics, it is lovely to look at. The camera work isn't overly elaborate but understated works in the film's favour. There are some nice shots - one in particular where Stefano walks round the side of a house with his back to it, so we discover, a moment before he does, that the title isn't simply a metaphor. A palette of greys and smoky blues blends with the thin winter light, with sparing splashes of crimson and orange ochre (emulating the look of Hitchcock's Frenzy). The artist's monologue which accompanies a retrospective sepia-tinged slaughter during the opening credits and used again later on is effectively lurid (you'll need a shower afterwards, followed by dinner and flowers) and the full extent of one haunted local's involvement with the mysterious trio some thirty-odd years earlier lends the film some much needed emotional resonance. Most of all Avati deserves credit for the St Sebastian reference. It seems a pretty innocuous stylistic choice, but there is a significance here which, though not essential, provides one of the true, subtle revelations of the entire film. Provided you put two and two together and know your saints.

The House with Laughing Windows was for so long the 'lost giallo' and consequently it seems a bit of giallo envy has bolstered its reputation as a forgotten masterpiece. In terms of pure filmmaking that's short of the mark. There are too many uneven moments. Characters disappear ominously, then reappear without acknowledgement. Things go bump in the night which we discover second hand rather than getting to witness, and there's a curious did they/didn't they? (have it off) tryst between Stefano and the town's departing school teacher (if they did he apparently likes to keep not only his socks on but his entire dapper three-piece). That isn't to say it's a total bomb by any means either. It depends how invested you find yourself in the Painter's story, and to some extent how prepared you are to suspend disbelief. If you approach with expectations suitably tempered it'll probably do the business. Just sit back and soak up the quietly unsettling atmosphere without thinking too much, but be warned, a great time is not assured.

***½
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The House With Laughing Windows [DVD] [1976]
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