The Curator of Schlock #393 by Jeff Shuster

The Girl in Room 2A

Beware of cults!

The Revenging Manta, the self-appointed defender of downtown Orlando, gave me the skinny on the horrific plans of the crime syndicate known as the Iguana Consortium. I can’t go fully into the details. Let’s just say it involved lollipops, fentanyl, a rubber dinosaur suit, and a ferris wheel. Evil was about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting citizens of Orlando. — To be continued.


 

This week’s movie is 1974’s The Girl in Room 2A from director William Rose. That name sounds suspect as the director of another fine Giallo from the land of Italy, but what do I know? Hmmmmm. The Italian name of this movie is La Casa della Paura. Let’s check the IMBD. What’s the name of the director? Carlo Campogalliani? I knew it! I knew It! Oh, wait. It looks like it’s just a movie with the same title that came out in 1921. William Rose it is!

What’s the plot of The Girl in Room 2A? A pretty young woman named Margaret Bradley (Daniela Giordano) is released from a woman’s prison or a rehab facility. I’m not sure which. Point is Margaret has a disturbing past. There’s a scene where she goes into why she was sent to prison in the first place, but I zoned out while she was talking. Maybe I was too distracted by the evil cult kidnapping young women and subjecting them to torture and death.

The movie begins with one such kidnapping. A young blonde woman is knocked unconscious and kidnapped only to later get stripped naked and bound. She does her best to escape the blades that keep trying to slice into her through the walls of the small room she’s tied up in. Eventually, a red caped figure donning a red ski mask unties the blonde woman and shoves her into one of the blades. The corpse of the young woman is then rolled off a cliff. I’m sure the police are quite baffled.

Turns out the young blonde woman stayed in the same room at the same halfway house that Margaret finds herself in. Upon entering her new apartment, Margaret lifts up a small rug to find blood seeping through the floorboards. Margaret finds a washcloth in her bathroom, mops up the blood, places the rug back, and goes about her business. I’m sorry, but if you see a giant swath of blood on the floor of your new residence, get the hell out of there!

In another scene, we get to know the cult a bit better. A Mr. Johnson (Frank Latimore) is doing research on the cult for a book he’s writing, but one of the cult leaders, a Mr. Dreese (Raf Vallone), ain’t having it. He tells Mr. Johnson he won’t allow his group to be exploited just to make Johnson a richer man. Dreese then locks him inside a room on one of the upper floors of the old manor house. Later, some cult members enter the room and force Mr. Johnson to burn his hands on a hot railing near a roaring fireplace.

The torture escalates from there. The guy in the red devil outfit starts stabbing Mr. Johnson with a poker. With nowhere to run, Mr. Johnson jumps out a window, falling to his death. The cult then sticks the corpse of Mr. Johnson in his car and sends it careening off a cliff. Funny enough, the car explodes before it hits the ground. It must have been a Ford Pinto. I can’t help, but think that getting forced to jump out a window by a sadomasochistic cult was just a typical Friday night in 1970s Italy. You can catch The Girl in Room 2A streaming for free on Tubi.


 

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.