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The Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)

Giancarlo Giannini , Claudine Auger , Paolo Cavara  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Giancarlo Giannini, Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet, Rossella Falk, Silvano Tranquilli
  • Directors: Paolo Cavara
  • Writers: Marcello Danon, Lucile Laks
  • Producers: Marcello Danon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E41MTU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,824 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Black Belly of the Tarantula" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Lorenzo Danon                        
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

Editorial Reviews

Black Belly of the Tarantula, following the release of Dario Argento's first feature, Bird With the Crystal Plumage, is one of the films that defined the Giallo genre's attractive blend of horror and high fashion. With a score by Ennio Morricone, direction by Paolo Cavara, and starring the handsome Giancarlo Giannini, Black Belly makes the story of a perverted serial killer who first paralyzes his victims with the poison wasps used to stun tarantulas seem cool and intriguing. This could be due to the fact that three of the killer's sexy victims went on to become Bond Girls (Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet, and Barbara Bach). Murders set in a massage parlor, an upscale fur shop, and in various white-sheeted beds showcase the aesthetic beauty of bloodshed. Giannini, who plays the suave police inspector, sleuths his way to the killer and finally fights him with the same vampiric ferocity that a wasp attacks a tarantula. In fact, stock footage of the carnivorous insects are interspersed throughout the film for added effect. Plots in Giallo films are basic; rather, the way murders are shot make the films memorable. The finest scenes in Black Belly occur during the stalker's pursuit of his "prey." Women's faces smear across the screen, their makeup palettes carefully matched to the rooms in which they are sliced open. With less actual gore than some other classic Giallo films such as Perfume of the Lady In Black and All The Colors of The Dark, Black Belly of the Tarantula relies more on style than on brutal violence. For this reason, it would be a good introduction to Italian horror for those who want to avoid witnessing serious carnage. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

A deranged killer is injecting beautiful women with the poison of a rare wasp, paralyzing them and forcing them to witness their own brutal murders. Academy Award(r) nominee Giancarlo Giannini (SEVEN BEAUTIES, HANNIBAL) stars as the dogged detective who takes the case only to find himself trapped in a web of immorality and murder. From the tantalizingly erotic opening to its vicious stunner of an ending, experience what is considered to be one of the most riveting and acclaimed films in the entire giallo genre.

Claudine Auger (THUNDERBALL, TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE), Barbara Bouchet (CASINO ROYALE, DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING) and Barbara Bach (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS) co-star in this rarely-seen classic directed by Paolo Cavara (MONDO CANE) and featuring one of Ennio Morricone's best scores ever, now transferred in High Definition from the original camera negative and available for the first time ever in America.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous transfer of Pop-Art vision of '70s Rome June 18, 2006
La Tarantola dal Ventre Nero, to give it it's Italian name, is much more than just another piece of trashy European cinema. It is an exquisite example of how wonderful cinema was in the late '60s / early '70s and an excellent reminder as to why I seldom bother going to movies these days.

Essentially, it's a whodunnit and we could debate the strength and weaknesses of the plot (and there are plenty of weaknesses) but the key to this film is it's cinematic style, a kind of garish Pop-Art vision of '70s Rome that mesmerises with each frame. It's loaded with '60s accoutrements - retro-futuristic furniture, glamorous women's fashions, old-school Alfa Romeo's (was there ever a cooler vehicle?). And the acting is stellar together with yet another legendary Morricone soundtrack.

As for the DVD itself, this is the first Blue Underground disk that I have bought and I can say without equivocation that it's the best looking picture that I've ever seen in this format. Really vibrant colors that are a joy to watch even at moments when the plot begins to sag. And full marks to BU for including the original Italian mono soundtrack with English subtitles. In all, it's a great product that really captures how good DVD can be when someone takes care with these things. I will certainly be buying many more Blue Underground films in the future.

So, you get '70s Rome, funky decor, brash colors, a reasonable plot and if that ain't enough, there are not one, not two but THREE Bond girls in this film (and one of them gets nude and all).

No excuses for not owning this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The Black Belly of the Tarantula" is a superb giallo in the tradition of Dario Argento's "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage." Both are very similar in that someone is viciously knifing beautiful women to death.

"The Black Belly of the Tarantula" was produced with a high budget and was well received throughout the world. Everything about this movie is beautiful and extravagant: the photography, the settings, and the actors/actresses themselves. Three gorgeous women who starred in James Bond movies are in this giallo. Barbara Bouchet, a giallo regular, is the first victim. (She gave great performances in Lucio Fulci's "Don't Torture a Duckling" and Emilio P. Miraglia's "The Red Queen Kills 7 Times). There is plenty of action and suspense in a plot that involves blackmail, drug smuggling, revenge, and creepy crawlers.

Dressed all in black, the killer looks like a wasp as he injects wasp venom into his female victims. As they lay on their beds paralyzed, the killer disembowels them while they watch helplessly. The killer's motive is mundane but doesn't detract from the overall chilling effect of the film. A great lounge score is provided by Ennio Morricone who provided the music for many Spaghetti Westerns and Italian gialli.

"The Black Belly of the Tarantula" is a must see for all fans of Italian gialli and fans of the lead actors/actresses, such as Giancarlo Giannini, Barbara Bouchet, Claudine Auger, and Barbara Bach. It is definitely a keeper in my collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic giallo that's very well made. July 24, 2013
This classic giallo about a killer using a needle to paralyze his victims before slicing there stomachs open is very well made. It isn't as gross as it sounds; there's no extreme gore in the film. This is a very well crafted film that's well acted, and the directing is excellent. There's not much atmosphere in the film, but some of the scenery is good. As soon as the film begins, you get a Barabara Bouchet nude scene; and a little later on, you see her nude again with a flash of full frontal. She's the best looking actress in the film, and fans of hers will like the rear nudity she displays in the beginning. It's a little disappointing that she doesn't have more screen time because she's killed early in the movie; this decision to get rid of her character so early on might not go well with a lot of fans. This giallo isn't overloaded with violence and the nudity is limited, but the violence that's shown manages to be effective because it's well filmed and directed; even though there's nothing extremely graphic or gory about it. In between the exploitation stuff, the movie entertains with excellent directing, some nice scenery, a well crafted story, and good acting. There's blood in the movie, but this isn't a body count slasher film. It isn't recommended if you're looking for something that's heavy on gore, violence, explicit nudity, and action. There's an emphasis placed on characters and story, as well as scenery. Fans of grindhouse exploitation will probably enjoy some of the scenes, but the film overall isn't very explicit; If you want something with lots of exploitation, action, and something that you don't have to pay attention to and is very low on talk, then you might want to get something else. I personally think the replay value is very good; I bought the DVD awhile ago, and I still watch it.

The interview on the DVD is good, and the DVD quality is excellent.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Definitley not "The Best Giallo Ever Made" March 18, 2014
"Black Belly of the Tarantula" is a completely average giallo, that Blue Underground have dressed up with some amazing hyperbole on their DVD sleeve, but the film really does not warrant it. It's a very standard police thriller, in which lovely ladies are being killed by an assassin who like to paralyse them first with insect venom, so they are alive and conscious while he slices them open with a knife.

Written down, that sounds like a pretty sick idea but the presentation of it on camera does not make the most of the concept at all - the girls are simply jabbed in the neck with a poisoned needle and then they collapse. The killer will then stab them in the midriff with his knife. A little bit of skill could have presented a much more nightmarish vision of the proceedings, but the director clearly didn't have imagination to pull it off. We only find out later that the girls were still conscious because an entomologist gives out a little biology lesson in wasp venom later on in the story - if it wasn't for that you'd be thinking that the victims simply died from being stabbed in the neck. It seems twisted to be discussing the fact that the murders are not depicted horrifically enough, but frankly (in these 1970's giallos), if they are not, then all you have left is a routine police and detective drama. Which is what we have here. The main character of the inspector is dreadfully wooden. The beautiful women around him (both victims and the inspector's wife) are vacuous and dull, and poor at acting in general. The English dub is atrocious (I know that's not the film's fault but it is really bad). The unveiling of the murderer's identity and the motive are both also very disappointing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This film defines 1970's cinema.
As you can see on the product description page, a review on the DVD case proclaims this film to be the "best giallo ever made. Read more
Published 9 months ago by gtucker7848
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, but still watchable.
<strong>La Tarantola del Ventre Nero</strong> (Paolo Cavara, 1971)

In 1971, the underlying premise of this film (in English, <em>The Black Belly of the... Read more
Published on July 6, 2012 by Robert Beveridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Above than average Giallo
I am fun of European horror movies and I must say this one was a very pleasant surprise. A typical yet good plot that will keep you hooked of this Italian Giallo. Read more
Published on March 28, 2012 by Nostalgicman
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty humdrum...(Mild Spoilers?)
I've seen quite a few gialli. Some of my faves include: Most of Argento's work (of course,) Short Night Of Glass Dolls, Lizard In A Woman's Skin, My Dear Killer, Spasmo. Read more
Published on November 5, 2010 by Guy Bombardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Italian Giallo
I was in high school in the early seventies and had no idea what the Giallo genre was. My first was Dario Argento's 'BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE' which I saw on the big screen... Read more
Published on June 10, 2010 by William Amazzini
5.0 out of 5 stars A well executed, beautiful yet brutal Italian thriller.
Most fans of giallo films have an anticipation for each new film they discover with a overwhelming desire to see gorgeous european women being chased in colorful Italian backdrops... Read more
Published on February 15, 2010 by DeadandBuried81
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Girls in peril. Can't get enough.
I like this kind of movie. Just a step above MST3K fodder. "A very small step." Don't buy it if your looking for a movie like The Birds, but if you like movies a little on the... Read more
Published on January 9, 2007 by J. Ancona
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepity Crawlity
Someone's knocking off horny older chicks, and the fuzz are on the case. Who the hell's doing it, and why?? Read more
Published on May 16, 2006 by Stanley Runk
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardly the Best Giallo
This 1971 offering stars Giancarlo Giannini in a fine performance as a police inspector on the hunt for a psycho who stuns his attractive victime with a poison-dipped needle before... Read more
Published on April 11, 2006 by The Magician
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Anyone have problems with this DVD?
i bought this recently, and also it wouldnt play on a number of dvd players. im gonna contact Blue Underground. i suggest you do the same
Apr 8, 2007 by moses ala harmonica |  See all 7 posts
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