Directed By: William Rose
Starring: Daniela Giordano, Angelo Infanti, John Scanlon
Tag line: "A bold look at the bizarre world of abnormal sexual behavior!"
Trivia: Lead Actress Daniela Giordano won the Miss Italy pageant in 1966, and was runner-up in 1967 for Miss Europe
At first glance, you might think The Girl in Room 2A, a 1974 film directed by William Rose, is a typical Italian shocker, a la Bloody Pit of Horror, with scantily-clad beauties being subjected to all forms of torture by a sadistic thug in a red mask. That’s what I thought, anyway, when I sat down to watch this movie. But aside from a few scenes of brutality and a smattering of naked flesh, The Girl in Room 2A is an engaging mystery / thriller, with likable lead characters who do their damnedest to try and figure out why every girl that stays in room 2A ends up dead.
After serving two weeks in a women’s prison on a minor drug charge, Margaret (Daniela Girodano) is set free, and as part of her rehabilitation, case worker Alicia (Rosalba Neri) gets her a room at a local boarding house. The landlady, Mrs. Grant (Giovanna Galletti), lives alone with her son Frank (Angelo Infanti), and both seem anxious to make their new tenant feel right at home. But there’s something about the whole situation that doesn’t sit right with Margaret, and she starts having nightmares about a person in a red mask entering her room and watching her as she sleeps.
It isn’t until Margaret meets Jack (John Scanlon), however, that she begins to believe her life is in great danger. A while back, Jack’s sister stayed in the very room that Margaret now occupies, and while there she supposedly committed suicide. Jack believes his sister would never take her own life, and that she was the victim of foul play. Together, he and Margaret dig into the Grant’s past, eventually discovering they’re part of a strict religious organization run by a man named Drees (Raf Vallone), who preaches that only through physical pain can your sins be cleansed.
And it’s likely that Margaret is the next “sinner” they intend to save!
There is both violence and nudity in The Girl in Room 2A, often occurring in the same scene (those who are kidnapped by Drees’s group are stripped naked, then whipped). But it’s the film’s story that ultimately grabs our attention, thanks in large part to lead actress (and former Miss Italy) Daniela Giordano, who is quite convincing (not to mention very sympathetic) as a distraught young woman trying to get her life back on track. Yet as good as Ms. Girodano is on her own, The Girl in Room 2A is even better when John Scanlon’s Jack enters the picture. He and Giordano have a great chemistry together, and their characters' attempts to delve into the strange happenings at the Grant house make for some very tense moments.
Though more of a mystery than a horror film, The Girl in Room 2A has a lot in common with the Giallo pictures of this time period, and will, on occasion, send a shiver up your spine. In addition, several scenes (mostly towards the end) cross the line into seedier territory. But with its intriguing story and talented cast, The Girl in Room 2A offers audiences a bit more than they’ll find in the average ‘70s exploitation flick.