knjr’s review published on Letterboxd:
#7 Made in Italy
70s and Italian horror filmmaking, one of cinema's most trustworthy combinations. Usually, gialli have a killer with seemingly supernatural abilities to kill and disappear without trace but his human nature is never doubted by the characters or the viewer. In The House with Laughing Windows, this is ambiguous, we know that there was killings in the past, we have evidence and portrays of them and we also have some kind of internal mythos built around the vilain. Of course people keep dying and we are never 100% sure if the killings are done by the spirit of the painter or there is something else happening.
The story along with the tension is built slowly and steadily. The people of a small village in the Italian countryside, feel uneasy when a painter comes to their place to restore a painting. As the story progresses, people start getting killed, secrets come out and the whole world crumbles beneath Stefano. It seems that the painter keeps terrorizing the village from beyond the grade. It is very easy to reveal crucial elements of the plot so I will stop talking about what is happening.
I think this is what Belvet Buzzsaw should have aspired to be, in terms how you keep the mystery going without revealing anything. There are no flat periods, the whole flick can be compared with unwrapping a gift that contains many layers of wrapping sheets. Of course when the actual gift does not live up to the expectation after doing so much work, it will ruin the whole experience. Luckily for us, the ending is haunting and something and I never expected even though I've seen so many movies with seemingly all the possible twists in their endings. Yeah, the ending is absolutely magnificent and by its own makes this relatively obscure giallo deserve every minute of your attention. Bloodless compared to other gialli that love to douche their characters in bright red blood, the gore is more impactful and is used to progress the story and not as some sort of cheap fan service (which I am a sucker for, don't get me wrong).
An excellent example of the flawless decade for the italian horror which is the 70s. Definitely recommended.