Released by: Mondo Macabro
Released on: 2012.
Director: William L. Rose
Cast: Daniela Giordano, Raf Vallone, John Scanlon, Karin Schubert, Rosalba Neri
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Directed by in Italy by American filmmaker William L. Rose, a veteran of the sixties New York City sexploitation scene and produced by Dick Miller, The Girl In Room 2A begins with a set piece in which a pretty young woman is abducted, stripped, stabbed and then tossed over a cliff by some very mysterious looking captors. The story proper begins when a beautiful and mysterious dark haired woman named Margaret (Daniela Giordano) is let out of jail and takes up residence in a boarding house run by a middle aged widow named Mrs. Grant. She’s going to stay there temporarily until her friend (Rosalba Neri) can help her get back on her feet – but somehow seems fairly unexcited when she notices a big pool of blood on the floor of her room.
As time goes on, the widow’s son, Frank, starts to fall for her while she strikes up a romance with a different man who looks sort of like Greg Brady and who rents the apartment across from her so that they can look at one another through their windows! While all of this is going on, random beauties are disappearing in the area and it all seems to tie in to the boarding house that our heroine is staying in – is she next? What’s the real story with this place and the strange people who run it and the killer running around in the red hood?
The great opening sequence sets the stage for what you initially hope will be a fast paced slice’em up chock full of sex and violence but once that scene is over with, the movie switches gears and slows down considerably. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it is a drastic shift in tone and pace that goes from a sensational murder set piece to a series of long, talky, character driven moments that set up the rest of the storyline. Sometimes this works, sometimes it feels forced but throughout all of this, Daniela Giordano looks great and with Rosalba Neri and Karen Schubert in supporting roles, most fans won’t complain too much. The film returns to its fast paced opening style in the last twenty minutes or so as it all hits the fan and the truth about the boarding house is revealed. Figuring out who the masked killer is won’t be too difficult despite the fact that it’s all fairly impossible for those paying attention but the film still definitely end on a high note.
Rarely lacking for style, the film offers up some mild thrills in the sexploitation department, belying Rose’s roots in a scene where Giordano’s character lays down in bed with her new boyfriend and in a few other scenes where the camera tends to linger a bit on the naked ladies who populate it. On top of that, the film periodically ups the ante in the weird department by having the killer cult members leave cryptic notes with quotes from various famous philosophers on them and by throwing in a few surprisingly nasty scenes of naked women being flogged by lunatics. Mondo Macabro’s DVD presents the film in its completely uncut form.
The Girl In Room 2A looks pretty darn good on DVD in 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen from Mondo Macabro. Grain gets a little heavy in spots but that’s not so much a complaint as an observation and in terms of actual print damage, there’s not much here, just a few minor specks now and then. Colors are reproduced nicely, reds don’t look too hot and skin looks like skin. Black levels are more of a dark grey but detail is good as is texture. All in all, there’s not much room for complaint, this is a solid looking picture throughout.
Audio options are offered in Dolby Digital English and Italian language options with optional subtitles provided in English only. There’s a bit of hiss in the Italian track, the English option is a bit cleaner sounding. There are some differences in the dialogue between the two options as well, mostly just minor conversational changes. The subtitles translate the Italian track, not the English one. Quality wise though, aside from that bit of hiss, both tracks sound fine. The score, which alternates between Morricone-esque fuzzed out guitar heavy Spaghetti Western sounds and odd instrumental pop bits, stands out nicely and the levels are always good.
The main extra on the disc is an eleven minute interview with leading lady Daniela Giordano. Now in her mid-sixties but looking twenty years younger than she really is, she makes for an enthusiastic and light hearted interviewee. She talks not only about her work on this picture but also about her work with Mario Bava and how the time she spent working in Istanbul was the worst experience of her career. Giordano’s got a great sense of humor about her work and speaks in English, with a heavy Italian accent, seemingly with no regrets – as such, she makes for a pretty fun subject.
There are a few other goodies included here too, like some notes on the film and biographies for the director and principal cast members, a trailer for the feature, the ever expanding Mondo Macabro preview reel, menus and chapter stops.
The Final Word:
The Girl In Room 2A is an odd one, starting off with a bang, slowing down considerably, and then ending with a great twenty minute finale. Pacing issues or not, this is one that fans of Italian horror and Eurocult films in general should get a kick out of and Mondo Macabro have done a very good job bringing it to DVD.