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The Black Belly of the Tarantula

3.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An Italian detective hunts a health-spa killer who uses a knife dipped in venom.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

  • Interview with Lorenzo Danon                        
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

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: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (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 (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E41MTU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,244 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Black Belly of the Tarantula" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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"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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Massage and melodrama are brought to the fore when a compromising photo is sent to an unfaithful woman's husband. Needless to say, he isn't pleased by the revelation. Naturally, he becomes the prime suspect when she's found brutally murdered. He vows to track down the stinker in the photo, and since he has the best half of the incriminating picture, he succeeds in getting to the culprit first, much to his everlasting regret. Leading the investigation is a very reluctant inspector (Giancarlo Giannini) plagued with self doubts about his suitability as a police officer. He's always a step or two behind the heinous crimes; he barely manages to figure it out during the last few moments of the film.

As mysteries go, it certainly keeps you guessing by concentrating on other possible suspects while completely ignoring the real culprit. Shot with way too much style (at times it felt like they were taking inventory the way the camera moved so slowly over household goods and furnishings). Was this a fashion statement or "the best Giallo ever made?" It had its moments. It held my interest throughout. I wouldn't mind watching it again someday. I've seen worse. I liked it. (So far, I've yet to see the best Giallo ever made.)
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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. Descent acting that will surprise you to watch a very young Giancarlo Giannini, the actor who played a corrupted Inspector Renaldo Pazzi in "Hannibal". This time, he plays a good detective trying to stop a killer psycho. The movie has some female nudity that comes natural to the plot or scenes, so it does not uses "sleaze" to keep you hooked. Bloody scenes use nice close ups (Argento's style) and are quite well achieved for the time (1971). Overall then, highly recommended to those looking for Giallos or European thriller flicks from the 1970s.

Technically, a very good to excellent widescreen format DVD transfer. Audio comes in Italian and English; English subtitles are included. Extras include the trailer of the movie and an interview with Producer Marcello Danon.
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