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March 27, 2012

The Girl in Room 2A

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La Casa della Paura
William Rose - 1974
Mondo Macabro All Region DVD

The Girl in Room 2A is one of those oddities that's more interesting because of some of the talent involved than what is actually on the screen. Aside from starring the former Miss Italy, Daniela Giordano, others marking time here are are former Italian matinee idol Raf Vallone, Brad Harris - best known as the American star of Italian peplum. the fetching Rosalba Neri and German strudel Karin Schubert. The film was written and directed by William Rose, a filmmaker who knocked around the exploitation circuit in the Sixties, whose career seems to have disappeared as mysteriously as those of the kidnapped girls in his last movie. If The Girl in Room 2A had been seen theatrically, it would have been caught as part of a grindhouse or drive-in double feature.

Giordano plays the part of a young woman, Margaret, who was just release from prison after doing time for a drug bust where she was erroneously fingered. She is sent to live at the house of a Mrs. Grant. It's not explained why someone's private home would have a numbered room, especially as Margaret is the only guest, with Mrs. Grant's creepy son, Frank, in the room next door. What is apparent also is that Mrs. Grant's home serves as a halfway house for wayward women - halfway to hell as it turns out. Among Mrs. Grant's friends is a philosopher named Drees, who loves quoting Nietzsche and Torquemada, leading a group with some half-baked ideology regarding sin and repentance that gives them a reason to torture and kill others, primarily attractive young women.

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There is are a few moments of interest - the room with a bloody spot on the white floor that always reappears after Margaret washes it away, Frank's room with its masks, props and a snake, and the mysterious character dressed in red who first seems to appear in Margaret's nightmares. Still, for a film about some characters with misplaced convictions, William Rose seems to be hedging when he should have gone full throttle. There is little visual style to speak of, and neither the nudity nor the violence are provocative. As one who spent a few hours of movie watching at New York City's 42nd Street back in the early Seventies, I could easily imagine members of the audience yawning through most of the story, perhaps popping eyes open long enough to catch a glimpse of Karin Schubert's exposed breasts.

The DVD comes with an interview with Giordano, undated, but I'm guessing from the late Nineties, talking a bit about her career and some of the directors who worked with, such as Mario Bava. There are also notes about William Rose's career including comments on some of his work in nudie and adult only movies prior to this attempt to make a more mainstream film. I've been a fan of much of what I've seen from Mondo Macabro. In comparison to other Mondo Macabro DVDs, The Girl in Room 2A comes off as bland gruel compared to the company's usual servings of movies that are hot, spicy, and not a little bit nutty.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at March 27, 2012 08:21 AM