Review: The Girl in Room 2A (DVD)

Mondo Macabro gives obscured giallo The Girl in Room 2A it's uncut & uncensored DVD debut!

  • Director: William Rose
  • Starring: Daniela Giordano, Raf Vallone, John Scanlon, Karin Schubert, Rosalba Neri
  • Year: 1974
  • Runtime: 85 Minutes
  • Company: Mondo Macabro
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.78:1 - 16:9 - Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Audio: Italian/English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Region: 0
  • Released: 3/27/2012

After a small stint in prison for wrongful marijuana possession, Margaret Brady (Daniela Giordano) is having a hard time readjusting to life. Broke and traumatized, Margaret's social worker Alicia (Rosalba Neri, Lady Frankenstein) shacks her up in a pseudo halfway house managed by the old & strange Mrs. Grant. Margaret begins to suffer from nightmares during her stay in room 2A, involving a red hooded figure with a penchant for torturing. Margaret begins to snoop around the boarding house for any clues and discovers a sadistic cult operating within it, led by mysterious mob like figure Mr. Drees (Raf Vallone, The Italian Job). This leads to Margaret to seek help and teams up with Jack (John Scanlon, Escape From Alcatraz), a man looking for his missing sister that has ties with the location and stayed in room 2A. Margaret begins to believe she is the cults next target, leading to finale that almost saves this drawn out, chore of a film.
With gialli, you never quite know what you are in for. There are the trademark mainstays that you can look forward to however. Boobs. Blood. Masked Figures. Dubbing. Bizarre Plot. The Girl in Room 2A aka Casa della Paura (House of Fear) has all the hallmark ingredients, but is a convoluted film that's at odds with it's plot and never recovers from it. For instance, the opening scene features a nude woman being tortured which leads to disposing her body by throwing it off a cliff. It's sleazy, weird and not boring, which is a complete 180 compared to the rest of the film.
The remainder of The Girl in Room 2A consists of prolonged scenes of investigating that are simply a bore to watch. To be honest I had a difficult time following the film as it weaves in and out of seemingly unrelated moments that feels like they're from another film entirely. The wonky structure stems from American director William Rose, who's first filmmaking gigs were shooting new scenes to insert into existing European films to create something new for the drive in circuit.
It's hard not to recommend The Girl in Room 2A though, partially due to it's virtually unseen status and my gluttony for giallo. The setting and atmosphere is pretty groovy with some down right bizarre moments that are equally off putting and intriguing. It's a shame the film never reaches it's fill potential but like-minded giallo fans will want to check this out due to curiosity but casual viewers mileage will vary. Still, Mondo Macabro has to be congratulated for this release and never ceasing to bring the wild side of cinema to the world.

  • Video
Mondo Macabro brings The Girl in Room 2A to DVD, uncut & uncensored for the first time with a 1.78:1 framed anamorphic widescreen transfer that's quite good. Surprisingly good in fact once you factor in it's age, low budget and overall obscurity. Of course with those conditions comes minor print damage with pops and speckles throughout but it never detracts upon viewing. Girl in Room 2A is a grainy & dark lit film with a nice amount of detail and popping colors.
  • Audio
Two audio options are present, an English Dolby Digital mono dub & Italian Dolby Digital mono dub. I opted for the Italian mix thinking it'd be it's native language, when in fact it was actually shot with an English speaking cast and dubbed in both languages. The Italian track has it's share of background noise and a bit of distortion but I'm glad it's included for purists sake. The English mix is the go-to audio for a more natural experience but in all honesty both dubbed tracks are vocally horrid. Newly translated English subtitles are included as well.

Bonus Features
  • Interview - "Actress Daniela Giordana"
This 11 minute video interview with actress Daniela Giordana serves as retrospective look at her career. Topics range from her becoming Miss Italy at 19 to reminiscing about working with such legendary Italian directors like Mario Bava, Sergio Martino and more to her time on The Girl in Room 2A. Giordana is now a freelance journalist, even specializing in the paranormal!
  • Text Essays - "Cast & Crew Profile & About The Film"
This onscreen text based essay offers a wealth of information concerning the actors, director and behind the scenes happenings. Most interesting factoids detail director William Rose, his filmmaking beginnings of shooting "nudies & roughies" (porno's) and actress Karin Schubert, who at the age of 41 became a hardcore porn star! There's a few more odd trinkets of info throughout the essays that I won't spoil, it's fascinating, weird and a bit sad to see what these Euro stars have been up to. I loved reading through these and learning information that I otherwise would have never known.
  • Trailers
An original U.S. theatrical trailer is included, as well as a Mondo Macabro trailer reel that showcases a slew of mind defying clips from their releases that are among the most insane this reviewer has ever seen. I know must own every Mondo Macabro DVD, as should you!