Euro Cult Movie Forum => Gialli => Topic started by: ecc on 06 May 2008 - 18:32

Title: Room Next Door / La Stanza Accanto (1994, Fabrizio Laurenti)
Post by: ecc on 06 May 2008 - 18:32
Martin (Mark Benninghofen), a lawyer whose parents were Polish, travels to his home town to resolve a case between poor Polish farmworkers whose boss left them the farm and the congressman who wants the land.  Years ago Martin testified as a witness to a murder but the townspeople still believe the man was innocent.  Martin takes a room in the older unoccupied part of the town's hotel and is disturbed nightly by sounds coming from the room next to him.  These strange occurrences and vague threats drive Martin to look into the case himself and he too comes to the conclusion that an innocent man was convicted and starts to doubt his own sanity (as do the townspeople).

Scripted by Pupi Avati, this is a low key giallo very much in the tradition of his own work with 1940's Iowa standing in for Avati's own Fruili region.  Produced by much of the same crew that would then work on Avati's own ARCANE ENCHANTER (producers De Laurentis and Antonio Avati along with d.p. Cesare Bastelli who worked as assistant cameraman, operator, and then director of photography on several Avati films including his most recent THE HIDEOUT) and directed by Fabrizio Laurenti (WITCHERY, CRAWLERS), the extra production value makes this film rise above other Italian productions shot in America around the same time (mainly Filmirage).*  Bastelli and Laurenti manage to graft Avati's sense of decay onto the American settings and the cast mostly benefits in the English version from what looks like live sound recording rather than dubbing.  Benninghofen (who now mainly does radio work and video game voices according to imdb) is good as the neurotic lawyer and Filmirage low-budget horror/erotica mainstay Mary Sellers (GHOSTHOUSE, STAGEFRIGHT, 11 DAYS 11 NIGHTS) actually gets to make an impression as an actress here.  I'm actually surprised this one didn't at least get a direct to video release in the states.

The only English language release seems to be a fullscreen (open matte) Portugese-subtitled release (I got my copy from European Trash Cinema).  I've also got a beautiful Italian cassette from BMG (the transfer is sharp and the cover design is attractive).  Not likely to get a DVD release anytime soon.

*Avati and Laurenti apparently collaborated on a TWIN PEAKS-style TV series called NIGHT VOICES the following year.
Title: Re: Room Next Door / La Stanza Accanto (1994, Fabrizio Laurenti)
Post by: Johan Melle on 07 May 2008 - 13:37
Sounds very intriguing - I will have to check this one out! It certainly isn't a film that gets discussed a lot.

Btw, Mary Sellers is married to Fabrizio Laurenti, and they also worked together in THE CRAWLERS (1990) and IMPERFECT CRIMES (1993). I admit I kinda like Mary. She's no Meryl Streep but certainly had a lot more talent than most of the other Filmirage actors, whose uninvolved, phonetic line-readings are a real pain to watch.
Title: Re: Room Next Door / La Stanza Accanto (1994, Fabrizio Laurenti)
Post by: ecc on 07 May 2008 - 13:44
Quote
She's no Meryl Streep but certainly had a lot more talent than most of the other Filmirage actors, whose uninvolved, phonetic line-readings are a real pain to watch.

Not just the line readings but the characters she played in the Filmirage pictures that I saw were cardboard with their one-dimensional character traits displayed right off the bat.  In THE ROOM NEXT DOOR I actually had to pay attention to her acting whereas in the Filmirage productions, she was just another familiar face in a post-synched role.