Restaurator Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) is called to a small village by
local rich man Solmi (Bob Tonelli) to finish the fresco of its church after the
actual painter has gone mad & died while painting it. But immediately he is
greeted by the townsfolks with distrust, which even goes so far that he
getsanonymous threatening phonecalls which tell him to leave the fresco
be ... A friend of his tries to warn him about the sinister goings-on in the
city, tied to the fresco & its painter Legnani, but before he can do so, he
is pushed out of a window to his death ... and Stefano is thrown out of his
hotel, forcing him to stay at the decaying mansion of an old lady who cannot
leave bed ...
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Stefano soon hooks up with the new teacher Francesca (Francesca Marciano),
who like him is from out of town, & they embark on a sexual relationship,
she even soon moves in with hm. However, when Stefano makes further inquiries
about his predecessor Legnani, the details he digs up become more & more
bizarre & frightening: It seems that Legnani had an unhealthy fascination
of the dead & of dieing, making it a motif of all his pictures, & that
Legnani did eventually go mad & killed himself, stting himself on fire
before hthe eyes of his sisters ... & his sisters might still be about ...
When Legnani's fresco in the church is partly destroyed by some acid, this
is the last straw for Stefano, & he is easily persuaded by Francesca to
leave the village for good - but a few hours before leaving, Coppola (Gianni
Cavina), a local drunk, but the only one honest enough to tell Stefano the
truth, drags him off to see a graveyard in front of Legnani's erstwhile house
(on the windows of which smiling lips are painted, hence the title), where, as
Coppola claims, many missing people have fond their last rest ... & the
deaths haven't stopped after Legnani's death - which indicates his sisters are
not only still around but are still happily killing.
When Stefano comes back to his mansion to fetch Francesca, he finds her tied
up & stabbed to death (after she had been raped by the villages aide/idiot
Lidio [Pietro Brambilla]), however when he wants to show the corpse to the
police, Francesca has mysteriously disappeared ... as have the corpses in front
of Legnani's home. Instead though, Coppola is fished out of the nearby river,
Returning to the mansion, Stefano finds the Legnani sisters brutally
stabbing a man, just for the joy of their dead brother (who they kep in
formaldehyd), then they redirect their attention to Stefano & place a knife
in his shoulder, planning to kill him as well ... all for their brother. Badly
injured, Stefano escapes though, but in the village he can get help from noone
- since they all seem to be in on the joke -, only the priest lets him into his
church ... only to reveal himself as one of the Legnani-sisters ...
Deliberately slow-moving, but very unquieting horror-mystery that gets most
of his shocks from almost totally avoiding any clichéd shock-mechanics,
instead relying heavily on its mysterious, dark story, which gets ever creepier
the more of it is revealed, only to not end in any kind of catharsis but a
descent to hell ...