Director: Pupi Avati
Stars: Lino Capolicchio, Francesca Marciano, Gianna Cavini, Giulio Pizzirani, Vanna Busoni, Andrea Matteuzzi, Bob Tonelli
Underrated Italian horror filmmaker Pupi Avati's chilling The House with Laughing Windows begins with an opening credits sequence that's as creepy as it gets: As a macabre organ riff backs screams of agony, distorted images of human pain and suffering unravel across the screen. The mood is immediately established. The film you're about to watch isn't going to be pleasant, nor end happily.
And, alas, The House with Laughing Windows plays out exactly that way, to maximum effect. An average Joe named Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) moves into a rural village to find out more about a painting on a decrepit wall inside a church, made by a deceased, enigmatic artist. The deeper Stefano gets into the mystery, the more dead bodies pile up, leading to a wonderfully demented twist and a nerve-rattling final shot that Avati lingers on for the entire end credits. —MB