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The Shunned House (2003)

La casa sfuggita (original title)
Based on H P Lovecraft's tale, "The Shunned House," presents the stories of three people who all died within the confines of the dark and isolated chateau. Each story is taken from a ... See full summary »



(short stories), (screenwriter) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Giuseppe Lorusso ...
Federica Quaglieri ...
Luigi Montella
Silvia Ferreri ...
Nora / Estelle Roulet
Marco Del Vespro
Cristiana Vaccaro ...
Carlotta Zann
Nicolò Viganelli ...
Young Alex
Nicoletta Verri ...
Innkeeper - The 40's
Claudio Viganelli ...
Mr. Viganelli - Innkeeper, The 20's
Roberta Marrelli ...
Cinzia Vaccari ...
French girl
Stefania Andreotti ...
Enrico Saletti ...
Micaela Antolini ...
Killer girl
Roberta Romagnoli ...


Based on H P Lovecraft's tale, "The Shunned House," presents the stories of three people who all died within the confines of the dark and isolated chateau. Each story is taken from a different period in time, yet they combine with one another to reveal the house's dark past to a journalist specialising in the paranormal and his sceptic girlfriend. Written by Ade Rowley

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

h.p. lovecraft | See All (1) »


Where Evil Answers The Door. See more »







Release Date:

18 October 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La casa olvidada  »

Box Office


€35,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was shot completely on location, inside a villa which really had a chapel annexed to it. See more »


The first time Carlotta Zann plays her violin for Marco Del Vespro she takes her shoes off, and when she's finished playing she rushes to the door with her shoos back on. See more »


Luigi Montella: Who are you? Why are you talking to me?
Estelle: For the answers.
Luigi Montella: I can't give you any.
Estelle: You're such a fool, Signor Montella. I'm giving them to you.
See more »


Spoofed in The Horror of H.P. Lovecraft (2006) See more »


Capriccio #24, Opus 1
Written by Niccolò Paganini
Performed by Claudio Rodolfi
See more »

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User Reviews

An MJ Simpson review!
17 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

Ivan Zuccon, without a doubt the most exciting young genre director in Italy, has stuck with the works of HP Lovecraft for this, his third feature. But whereas The Darkness Beyond and Unknown Beyond were generically Lovecraftian, La Casa Sfuggita (co-scripted with Unknown Beyond writer Enrico Saletti) adapts three specific HPL short stories.

Rather than a straightforward anthology, however, Zuccon and Saletti have set all three tales in the same building, interweaving them to achieve a dreamlike sense of horror. So in the present day we have paranormal journalist Alex (Giuseppe Lorusso) and his sceptic girlfriend Rita (Federica Quaglieri) in an adaptation of 'The Shunned House' itself. Alex is investigating an old inn which has seen scores of mysterious, often violent deaths over the previous three centuries. Much to Rita's displeasure, they are going to camp out in the derelict building until Alex has finished his research.

In the same building, 50-60 years earlier, Luigi Montella (Emanuele Cerman) is a young mathematician, who is investigating the non-Euclidean geometry of the inn's plans and playing chess against his neighbour Nora (Silvia Ferreri). This part of the film is based on 'Dreams in the Witch House.' Finally, right back in the 1920s, a writer name Marco del Vespro (Michael Segal - not the British actor who was in I Claudius etc) becomes bewitched by the haunting violin music emanating from the next room, where lives the beautiful but mute Carlotta Zann (Cristiana Vaccaro). That's 'The Music of Eric Zann.' With three stories set in different times - perhaps more: who/what/when is that mysterious masked figure? - The Shunned House is not an easy film to follow, which is entirely in keeping with the complexities of Lovecraft's work. Zuccon (who also edited the film) doesn't just mix smoothly between stories; the whole point of the film is that these three tales interact, as characters from one time see/hallucinate those from another. It would be pointless for me to be specific; the film must be seen as a whole.

And there's blood. And dead people. And people get killed in awful ways. This is a horror film in the grand tradition and confirms Zuccon's place as the natural successor to Lucio Fulci. Luigi may be a somnambulist child-killer; Rita sees dead people; there's a mysterious girl repeatedly hitting her bleeding forehead against a wall; and when Carlotta's last violin string breaks... Christ, it's horrible! It all comes together in a bloody, scary conclusion.

Zuccon's camera, often roaming around a room, brings the audience right into the world(s) of these people. There is nothing workmanlike here. Every shot is just right: the angle, the movement, the lighting, the cutting. It's just a shame that this was shot on video and not film. Please, someone give Ivan Zuccon the budget to shoot in 35mm! The cast all cope well with the English dialogue. Particularly notable are Cerman (also in both Beyond films, as was Segal) whose boyish good looks and sensitive-yet-unnerving performance reminded me of Brendan Fraser in The Passion of Darkly Noon, and Vaccaro, who overcomes (in fact, uses) her lack of dialogue to bring exceptional depth to her role as the troubled violinist. Massimo Storari's make-up effects are as gruesome as ever, and kudos also to costume designer Donatella Ravagnini and set designer Roberta Romagnoli, and indeed everyone involved with this marvellous film.

Ultimately, what does it all mean? I'm not 100 per cent certain (and I've read the script!) but frankly the film wouldn't be true to the Lovecraftian source material if I was. It is all (I think) connected with the mathematics of the inn's design, thus putting The Shunned House into the tiny sub-genre of mathematical fantasy horror, along with the brilliant Pi, the disappointing Solid Geometry, and a handful of other titles. I think that ultimately the building itself is 'the monster', much like The Fall of the House of Usher or The Shining. But I strongly suggest that you take any opportunity to see this film and decide for yourself.

MJS rating: A www.mjsimpson.co.UK

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