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Black Belly of the Tarantula

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Release Date: 
Blue Underground
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Paolo Cavara
Barbara Bouchet
Giancarlo Gianinni
Claudine Auger
Barbara Bach
Bottom Line: 

 In my humble opinion Black Belly of the Tarantula is the best giallo ever made, and has finally been given a quality release, courtesy of Blue Underground.
The film begins with Maria (Barbara Bouchet) receiving a sensous massage from a blind masseur in the local health club. Not long after she is paralysed by an unseen assailant using some sort of wasp poison, and is then brutally hacked to death.
Maria was being blackmailed because she was having an affair, and was desperate to have the photographic evidence returned to her. Her husband, Paulo, begins an investigation into her death, but is soon murdered himself during a rooftop fracas with his wife's killer.
Inspector Tellini begins to investigate the case, but things take a turn for the worse when both he and his wife's lives are threatened by the killer. After a close escape involving a lorry carrying a load of metal poles which reverses into his car, Tellini begins to close in on the killer.....
I don't want to reveal too much of the plot as this is one movie where the many twists and turns greatly add to your enjoyment of the film, suffice to say that the identity of the killer is not that difficult to work out if you pay close enough attention.
The murder method is ingenious, and the film gets it's title due to the fact that the method used is similar to the way a species of wasp kills its pray, the black tarantula, by injecting its poisonous venom into the spiders belly.
I am a big fan of Giancarlo Giannini, and this is probably his best ever performance, with his propensity for going over-the-top being held in check by the skilful direction of Cavara. His emoting when he realises that his own wife's life is in danger is very convincing, and his relief when he tracks down the identity of the killer is palpable.
Ennio Morricone delivers one of his greatest scores,the main themes being overlaid with fantastic male vocals, really adding to the atmosphere of the film.
Cavara is a little known director in horror circles (indeed he was originally a director of mondo movies), but this film, as well as his other excellent giallo, Plot of Fear, enhance his reputation no end.
Blue Underground presents the film in a gorgeous widescreen transfer, with choice of English dub (Mono) or original Italian (Mono). An interview with Lorenzo Danon, son of the late writer/producer Marcello Danon, and a theatrical trailer round out the package.

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