Friday, October 26, 2018

Movie Review: "Black Belly of the Tarantula" (1971)

Director: Paolo Cavara
Year: 1971
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

A police inspector investigates a series of murders where each of the victims had been paralyzed with a needle before being gutted.

Black Belly of the Tarantula 1971 movie still
 (Image Source)
With a movie title like "Black Belly of the Tarantula," we expected more appearances from fuzzy arachnids, but alas, you can't always get what you want. This film is a Giallo-style Italian horror directed by Paolo Cavara, who is known for directing other movies as "L'occhio Selvaggio," "Modo Carne," and "Plot of Fear." The screenplay is written by Lucile Laks and has a story by Marcello Danon. This film centers on Inspector Tellini (Giancarlo Giannini), who is tasked with investigating a series of murders where the killer used a needle to paralyze his victims before slicing them open. Tellini must unfold the mystery of who is committing these killings, and discover how they are all connected before it is too late, especially since he and his wife have seemingly become a target of this maniac.
Black Belly of the Tarantula 1971 movie still
"You are not a nymphomaniac. Whore is much more like it, more accurate." (Image Source)
"Black Belly of the Tarantula" is part crime thriller mystery, part slasher horror. It has many tense moments as the killer closes in on their unsuspecting victims, and it also has more action-centric police chase scenes to pick up the pace. Most of the story is focused on Inspector Tellini and his investigation as he tries to uncover the link between the victims if there is one at all. Tellini also begins to wonder if he is even cut out for detective work anymore throughout this investigation, especially when he and his wife Anna (Stefania Sandrelli) become targets of the killer. There is a bit of intrigue in the mystery aspect as we try to figure who is behind the murders right alongside Tellini. Overall, the story is engaging, but truth be told, it isn't the most enthralling mystery we've ever seen. It involves instances of drugs, blackmail, and infidelity to make the mystery as complex as possible. This creates an ample number of suspects, so the ultimate reveal is harder to see coming. The horror elements here are creative and pretty hardcore considering the victims are unable to move. A killer paralyzing their victims and forcing them to witness their own death as they are unable to stop the murderer is suitably twisted. We definitely got "Peeping Tom" vibes from this movie, and we mean that in a complimentary way.
Black Belly of the Tarantula 1971 movie still
"The wasp is always the winner, you see. The tarantula has no escape." (Image Source)
While "Black Belly of the Tarantula" isn't the best Italian horror we have seen, it is definitely still worthy of checking out for Giallo fans. Giancarlo Giannini makes a compelling lead character and is fun to follow around.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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