Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Girl in Room 2A (1973)

It's time for yet another dip into the ocean (or quite possibly cesspool) of Eurosleaze with this Italian picture featuring nudity, floggings, beautiful women, some kind of weird torture cult, a villain in a red mask and cape, and an ending that makes no sense at all but features the sight of three very large men crammed into a Volkswagen beetle careering across the countryside. With all of this going on this film should be an undiscovered gem, right?
Er...not exactly.
THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A starts off sleazily promisingly, with a girl being abducted under the opening titles. She’s sedated, stripped, strung up and then run through with skewers before being thrown off a cliff, all to some appropriately cheesy music. Next we see Daniela Giordano (ex Miss Italy and I certainly could believe she won it) being released from a women’s prison (aha!) and getting in touch with her social worker Rosalba Neri. Regular readers will have noticed that within the first five minutes we are already way, way into the realms of Eurosleaze fantasy land (no disrespect to social workers but I’ve never seen one who looks like Rosalba Neri, and Daniela seems to have made it out of the prison remarkably unscathed). Rosalba gives Daniela a ‘fresh start’ by getting her a room at Mrs Grant’s guesthouse. Mrs Grant is a demented middle-aged woman who tells a made up story about how her husband died, has a weird son and keeps trying to give Daniela sedatives (aha again!). Meanwhile in her room Daniela keeps having flashbacks to her prison cell (no, not those kinds of flashbacks WiP fans - sorry!) and sees blood pumping out from between the floorboards. 
To cut a long (and my it does seem rather too long) story short she’s being lined up as the next victim of the kind of torture cult who regularly inhabit country houses in films like this. They believe in purification through pain and flog a few naked girls, stab some more and hack the face off Karin Schubert to show they mean business. Presiding over this is our villain in a red cape and red face mask. The brother of the murdered girl from the credits recruits improbably American and quite possibly steroid enhanced Charlie (Brad Harris) and Willy (no idea as his name’s not in the credits) and together the three of them head for the house in the tiniest car they can possibly find to save her.
There’s a fantastic chase sequence at the end with staggeringly inappropriate music that feels like something out of Benny Hill, and somehow the lead villain turns out to be Rosalba Neri even though our masked fiend is quite obviously a man with short hair in earlier scenes.
With all these elements THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A should at least be mildly entertaining and there are certainly a few laugh out loud moments (and quite a few head scratching ones as well - I still have no idea why any of this was going on, or why there was a machine in Mrs Grant’s house designed to pump blood through the floor). The main problem is actually American writer and director William Rose, who proves that really effective, atmospheric, suspenseful, head-scratchingly crazy Italian horror films probably need to be made by, well, Italians. It’s not so much the content that’s the problem with THE GIRL IN 2A but its execution, which veers from a lot of boring chat to poor direction of what could be some quite interesting sequences. It’s not a dead loss and anyone craving a fix of Euro-daftness would find this a semi-pleasurable time waster. Everyone else should steer clear, but they probably knew to do that anyway.

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