Web of the Spider
|Additional Blu-ray options||Edition||Discs||
|New from||Used from|
(Oct 31, 2017)
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Edgar Allan Poe invites you to spend one night in the WEB OF THE SPIDER! An intrepid reporter by the name of Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosa, TENEBRE), accepts a wager from Edgar Allan Poe (Klaus Kinski, NOSFERATU THE VAMPIRE) and his companion, Thomas Blackwood, to spend a single night in the reputedly haunted Blackwood Castle on All Souls Eve. Shortly after settling into the spooky abode, the reporter meets the beautiful Elisabeth Blackwood (Michele Mercier, BLACK SABBATH), and begins to witness ghostly phenomena and visitations from beyond the grave, as an assortment of specters relive the last moments before their ghastly murders. Soon, Foster realizes that the damned spirits of Blackwood Castle require human blood to continue their unnatural existence! One of the last Italian gothic horror films, WEB OF THE SPIDER is a color remake of 1964's CASTLE OF BLOOD, also directed by Antonio Margheriti, under the anglicized alias Anthony M. Dawson. Previously only available in the US in a cropped television master, Garagehouse Pictures is pleased to finally offer this Euro-horror classic in HD for the first time ever, fully restored and mastered from an uncut, domestic theatrical negative in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio! Special Features: Audio Commentary by George Reis & Keith Crocker, Audio Commentary by Stephen Romano, 2 German Super 8 movie digests, Antonio Margheriti trailer reel, Deleted scene, Uncut Italian version (standard def), Art Gallery, Garagehouse Pictures trailers, New artwork by Stephen Romano, All region Blu-ray disc. 1971 / 93 mins. / Color / Mono / 2.35:1 / Not Rated
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Garagehouse Pictures is just such a company and while their releases come out slowly they are done to perfection. I mentioned a while back their release of the film THE INTRUDER. Now they’ve released another film that is worth picking up for fans of horror films, especially those made in Italy.
WEB OF THE SPIDER is a remake of the film CASTLE OF BLODD, the much loved black and white Italian production that starred Barbara Steele. Both films are directed by Antonio Margheriti under the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson.
The story revolves around a drunken Edgar Allan Poe (Klaus Kinski) telling tales in a bar for drinks while in England. In walks Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosa), a journalist who has been seeking out Poe for an interview. They begin to talk about life, death and what happens after but while Poe believes in ghosts Foster does not. Poe and his friend Thomas Blackwood challenge Foster to put his money where his mouth is and suggest he spend the night in the castle owned by Blackwood.
Foster takes the challenge and the three head to the castle. He’s been told by Blackwood that no one has ever survived an overnight visit to the castle on this night as it is All Hallow’s Eve. Foster scoffs at the idea of the supernatural and the trio arrive at the gate and the pair leave Foster to fend for himself. He gets through the front gate, walks through a cemetery in front of the estate and finds his way in.
A quick walkthrough of the lower floors, a few passages played on a harpsichord and soon he finds himself face to face with Elisabeth Blackwood (Michele Mercier). She shows him around the estate, talking about things that have happened there. Forster is intrigued by this beautiful woman so much that he begins to fall in love with her.
But as the night moves forward things begin to happen. Where once there were cobwebs and dust there is now a ballroom filled with guests dancing away the night. Elisabeth is now in the arms of her husband as Forster begins to witness the past before his eyes and learns that Elisabeth is not what he thought but just one of many ghosts in the house.
As the night progresses Foster learns of what happened to each of the various apparitions he sees before him. Will he survive the night? Or is there some insidious reason that these wraiths have appeared before him, some need they have for him to continue on with their own survival?
The movie is a classic styled gothic horror film from the setting and costumes to the customs of the time, both past and present in the tale. The sets in use are wonderfully detailed and bring to life the story that unfolds. Not only that we’re offered the film in a widescreen presentation, something that’s been missing for some time.
The acting is above what most would expect in a film with this sort of topic. Franciosa was an underrated actor who should have garnered better roles. Even so he put his all into the roles he had and it shows in this one. Mercier is equally up to the task matching him from their first scenes together to their last. And Peter Carsten as Dr. Carmus, a ghost who was once a visitor like Forster does a great job as well.
Garagehouse Pictures is releasing this in the best version you’ll ever be likely to find. The film has been fully restored and mastered from an uncut, domestic theatrical negative and it shows. The clear, crisp, clean image on view is amazing. In addition to that the film is loaded with extras that include an audio commentary track with George Reis & Keith Crocker, an audio commentary track by Stephen Romano, 2 German Super 8 movie digests, an Antonio Margheriti trailer reel, deleted scenes, an uncut Italian version of the film (non-high def), an art gallery, a collection of Garagehouse Pictures trailers and it features new artwork by Stephen Romano.
Horror fans will want to add this one to their collections. Fans of Italian horror films will be pleased to finally have this film available in such great shape. It offers a sold evening’s worth of entertainment and should please most. This is a great example of how good a movie was being made at the time.
I think that director Marghetti wanted to revisit the castle he had envisioned in the brilliant 1964 film, but pay more attention to the mood and substance of a moment, than break new ground or worry about "innovation". And one of the most frequent comments by WEB OF THE SPIDER [or IN THE GRIP OF THE SPIDER, as it is known overseas] detractors is that it "doesn't hold up" to CASTLE OF BLOOD. Hogwash -- they are different movies made almost a decade apart.
The leading roles in SPIDER also define the film, where in CASTLE OF BLOOD the story kind of leads a cast of those who were [pardon my upstate NY ignorance] more or less unknowns into territory that horror hadn't charted before ... WEB OF THE SPIDER comes jam-packed with subtexts if only due to the presence of it's top billed star; Klaus Kinski's Edgar Allen Poe is onscreen for perhaps 8 to 12 minutes of screentime, during which he gets tanked, trashes a chess set, growls put-downs at Tony Fransciosa, then just sort of gloomily looks up at the sky and says "They'll never believe it" ... No wonder it's initial viewers were confused; by 1972 Klaus Kinski had a significant "cult" following, and his absence from the majority of the film speaks of a jumbled agenda, and the result is kind of a jumbled narrative. Kinski's role in the story is supposed to be that of the catalyst who spark's Alan's evening of horror, but instead he has kind of an Oscar the Grouch kind of quality, popping out of his can when needed to cue the closing score.
Tony Franciosa is properly confused and does seem genuinely frightened as the unlucky Alan, becoming more and more unhinged as the climax approaches, but has too much of an "everyman" quality to really stand out. Solid work, but who is this Alan he was playing? All we know is that he is a writer and an American.
Far more interesting is the presence of Helga Line, always a personal favorite of mine and here appearing in what must have been a pretty high profile international release, and her icy, sexy demeanor just drips from the screen along with her push-up 1970's wunderbra. Just seeing her in a film is a pleasure in itself, but although her dialogue was no doubt dubbed Helga actually does some genuine acting in this film and is very effective; it is unfortunate that she never got a chance to do more work like it. Rrowrr.
Helga's role was also apparently subject to some clipping that might have earned the film a more broader audience -- another qualified comment about WEB OF THE SPIDER is that a bit more sex & some additional spatterings of blood would have given the film a bit more punch, and as it is relies upon Maghetti's use of mood and suggestion to pull the story together.
And what a story it is ... WEB OF THE SPIDER, just like the earlier film, is one of the best "ghost story" films ever made. It's not just a haunted house or haunted castle movie, it is a film about these people who are forever condemned to relive their violent deaths and claim new lives -- truly a Poe like sense of utter macabre, with zero hope of ever seeing daylight.
My advice? Watch this movie alone, in the dark, and all the way through without stopping -- of help might be the CIRCUS OF DEATH 2 disc DVD set by Brentwood Media that also features the same version of the film sold here on VHS ... let the story take you where it will, and the effect of the film will hit you afterwards as you realize how the various storylines all fit together and lead to a conclusion that is just too inevitable to be anything other than Poe.
AND A WORD TO OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT -- this would be a good one for you folks to look into ... a "restored", uncensored international version in a nice letterboxed format with proper color tinting would result in a movie that a whole generation of horror fans have been urged NOT to take too seriously might recognize as being the triumph of cinematic vision that WEB OF THE SPIDER really is.
I'd give it 5 stars but the transfer print on both the VHS and CIRCUS OF DEATH set is really atrocious ... Get busy, AB.
The Blu-Ray is fantastic. I've watched the english language version, and it looks good for an obscure film. The picture alternates from segments that appear soft with inconsistent black levels and color, to segments of great clarity and depth. I'm content. Sound is fine.
The extras are extensive, and I have only watched some of them, including the first commentary (entertainin) and the deleted scene. I may watch the extended Italian version at some point. It is SD but looks quite watchable (far better than the public domain garbage).
Love to see Garagehouse release more European films of this era.
Most recent customer reviews
(Amazon should at least publish one of my comments!)