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.
Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) arrives in a rural Italian village to restore a fresco of the slaughter of Saint Sebastian which is painted on a rotting church wall. While living temporarily in a house previously owned by the two sisters of the long dead artist, Stefano begins a romance with a beautiful teacher, Francesca (Francesca Marciano).
He hears from various townspeople that the painter was a madman who created his art from real life. The artist, assisted by his two equally insane sisters, had viciously tortured people to death as inspiration for his horrific paintings. Some of the villagers are brutally killed and Stefano comes to believe that the murderer is trying to stop him from learning even more of the village’s depraved secrets…
“While it toys with some of the same themes as Dario Argento’s work, it’s a much more subdued effort and forgoes Argentos flashiness and stylization in favor of a more deliberate pacing. Rather than slap you in the face with its set pieces, the film unfolds ideas and themes as the characters unravel them, which in turn keeps you guessing and makes for an unpredictable finale.”
Ian Jane, Rock!Shock!Pop!
“All the normal devices that are utilised to distance an audience emotionally are almost entirely absent, which makes this an incredibly unsafe viewing experience. The viewing safety of the audience is also undermined by Avati’s determined disavowal of generic convention. There are no black gloved killers here, there are no major set piece murder sequences, and there is very little use of a subjective point of view shot.” Shaun Anderson, The Celluloid Highway
Buy The House with Laughing Windows DVD from Amazon.co.uk
The movie was filmed in Lido degli Scacchi, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna (the villa where the main chararacter lives).