The Black Belly Of The Tarantula


1h 28m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Inspector Tellini investigates serial crimes where victims are paralyzed while having their bellies ripped open with a sharp knife, much in the same way tarantulas are killed by the black wasp. As suspects keep dying, Inspector directs his attention to a spa all the victims had a connection with.

Film Details

Also Known As
Black Belly of The Tarantula, The, Tarantola dal Ventre Nero
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1972

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Inspector Tellini investigates serial crimes where victims are paralyzed while having their bellies ripped open with a sharp knife, much in the same way tarantulas are killed by the black wasp. As suspects keep dying, Inspector directs his attention to a spa all the victims had a connection with.

Film Details

Also Known As
Black Belly of The Tarantula, The, Tarantola dal Ventre Nero
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1972

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Black Belly of the Tarantula, The - The Black Belly of the Tarantula on DVD - 1971 Giallo Starring Giancarlo Giannini


One of the few giallos to receive distribution in the United States (through MGM) and largely unseen since its theatrical release in 1971, Black Belly of the Tarantula (Italian title: La Tarantola dal Ventre Nero) has remained a long sought after title for fans of the genre for years due to its high profile Eurotrash cast and crew. It stars Giancarlo Giannini, just prior to his international success in the films of Lina Wertmuller (The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973), Seven Beauties (1975), Swept Away, 1974), and some of the sexiest European actresses working at that time - Claudine Auger, Barbara Bach, Barbara Bouchet, and Stefania Sandrelli. The first three were "Bond girls" - Auger was in Thunderball (1965), Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Bouchet in the 007 parody, Casino Royale (1967) - and Sandrelli had already established herself as one of Italy's finest actresses in films such as Divorce - Italian Style (1961), Seduced and Abandoned (1964) and The Conformist (1970). In addition, the film features Rossella Falk, a veteran of numerous giallos, in a supporting role, the music of composer Ennio Morricone and direction by Paolo Cavara, who, with his former partner Gualtiero Jacopetti, produced the notorious Mondo Cane (1962) and its several "shockumentary" sequels.

With such an impressive pedigree, could Black Belly of the Tarantula ever live up to its legendary but unconfirmed status as one of the greatest giallos ever made? Now available in a beautiful widescreen print with English subtitles from Blue Underground, you can decide for yourself but I rank it as a major disappointment. It has a promising opening - Barbara Bouchet is enjoying a nude massage under the title credits - and the storyline is certainly lurid enough - a sadistic killer is on the loose, paralyzing his victims with a poison-coated acupuncture needle before surgically mutilating the bodies. But the suspenseful set pieces are often undercut by a dull and ineffective police investigation. Giannini is too plodding and inept to make a very compelling protagonist and is particularly ridiculous in his final confrontation with the killer. Instead of putting a bullet in the crazed psychopath who has just tried to kill his wife, he throws the gun away and takes on the assassin mano-a-mano in an absurd display of machismo.

One usually has to suspend disbelief to accept some of the plot developments in most giallo films but Black Belly of the Tarantula is an extreme case, reveling in a complete disregard for logic and sympathetic characters. The victims behave so stupidly in regards to their own safety in perilous situations that you begin to root for their demise. Certainly this attitude would become part of the appeal of the later teen slasher films like Friday the 13th (1980) and giallos such as Black Belly of the Tarantula may well be responsible for the change in audiences from identifying with the victim to cheering on the killer. For example, one victim is awakened by her barking guard dog and locks him up while she investigates, only to be taken by surprise on a stairway. Another woman leaves her doors unlocked after just being warned by inspector Tellini to be careful and the killer slips in. The male characters don't get any respect either, with one clumsily falling to his death from a rooftop and another becoming a hit-and-run victim.

Most disappointing of all is the short screen time devoted to the top-billed actresses on the DVD cover. Barbara Bouchet is dispatched within the first twenty minutes of the film, Barbara Bach's role is essentially a "victim" cameo and Claudine Auger, in the undeveloped role of the fashion boutique owner, remains a shadowy presence throughout the proceedings. There are some compensations, however, in the colorful compositions of cinematographer Marcello Gatti and Ennio Morricone's lush score with vocal contributions by Edda Del Orso. And one murder sequence, set in a storeroom of mannequins, manages to generate some genuine frisson. But if you're expecting a giallo on the order of Dario Argento's Deep Red (1975) or even Sergio Martino's Next! (1971), you'd better lower your expectations.

The DVD of Black Belly of the Tarantula offers few extras. It does offer an interview with Lorenzo Danon, the son of the film's producer, along with a theatrical trailer and TV spot.

For more information about The Black Belly of the Tarantula, visit Blue Underground. To order The Black Belly of the Tarantula, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jeff Stafford
Black Belly Of The Tarantula, The - The Black Belly Of The Tarantula On Dvd - 1971 Giallo Starring Giancarlo Giannini

Black Belly of the Tarantula, The - The Black Belly of the Tarantula on DVD - 1971 Giallo Starring Giancarlo Giannini

One of the few giallos to receive distribution in the United States (through MGM) and largely unseen since its theatrical release in 1971, Black Belly of the Tarantula (Italian title: La Tarantola dal Ventre Nero) has remained a long sought after title for fans of the genre for years due to its high profile Eurotrash cast and crew. It stars Giancarlo Giannini, just prior to his international success in the films of Lina Wertmuller (The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973), Seven Beauties (1975), Swept Away, 1974), and some of the sexiest European actresses working at that time - Claudine Auger, Barbara Bach, Barbara Bouchet, and Stefania Sandrelli. The first three were "Bond girls" - Auger was in Thunderball (1965), Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Bouchet in the 007 parody, Casino Royale (1967) - and Sandrelli had already established herself as one of Italy's finest actresses in films such as Divorce - Italian Style (1961), Seduced and Abandoned (1964) and The Conformist (1970). In addition, the film features Rossella Falk, a veteran of numerous giallos, in a supporting role, the music of composer Ennio Morricone and direction by Paolo Cavara, who, with his former partner Gualtiero Jacopetti, produced the notorious Mondo Cane (1962) and its several "shockumentary" sequels. With such an impressive pedigree, could Black Belly of the Tarantula ever live up to its legendary but unconfirmed status as one of the greatest giallos ever made? Now available in a beautiful widescreen print with English subtitles from Blue Underground, you can decide for yourself but I rank it as a major disappointment. It has a promising opening - Barbara Bouchet is enjoying a nude massage under the title credits - and the storyline is certainly lurid enough - a sadistic killer is on the loose, paralyzing his victims with a poison-coated acupuncture needle before surgically mutilating the bodies. But the suspenseful set pieces are often undercut by a dull and ineffective police investigation. Giannini is too plodding and inept to make a very compelling protagonist and is particularly ridiculous in his final confrontation with the killer. Instead of putting a bullet in the crazed psychopath who has just tried to kill his wife, he throws the gun away and takes on the assassin mano-a-mano in an absurd display of machismo. One usually has to suspend disbelief to accept some of the plot developments in most giallo films but Black Belly of the Tarantula is an extreme case, reveling in a complete disregard for logic and sympathetic characters. The victims behave so stupidly in regards to their own safety in perilous situations that you begin to root for their demise. Certainly this attitude would become part of the appeal of the later teen slasher films like Friday the 13th (1980) and giallos such as Black Belly of the Tarantula may well be responsible for the change in audiences from identifying with the victim to cheering on the killer. For example, one victim is awakened by her barking guard dog and locks him up while she investigates, only to be taken by surprise on a stairway. Another woman leaves her doors unlocked after just being warned by inspector Tellini to be careful and the killer slips in. The male characters don't get any respect either, with one clumsily falling to his death from a rooftop and another becoming a hit-and-run victim. Most disappointing of all is the short screen time devoted to the top-billed actresses on the DVD cover. Barbara Bouchet is dispatched within the first twenty minutes of the film, Barbara Bach's role is essentially a "victim" cameo and Claudine Auger, in the undeveloped role of the fashion boutique owner, remains a shadowy presence throughout the proceedings. There are some compensations, however, in the colorful compositions of cinematographer Marcello Gatti and Ennio Morricone's lush score with vocal contributions by Edda Del Orso. And one murder sequence, set in a storeroom of mannequins, manages to generate some genuine frisson. But if you're expecting a giallo on the order of Dario Argento's Deep Red (1975) or even Sergio Martino's Next! (1971), you'd better lower your expectations. The DVD of Black Belly of the Tarantula offers few extras. It does offer an interview with Lorenzo Danon, the son of the film's producer, along with a theatrical trailer and TV spot. For more information about The Black Belly of the Tarantula, visit Blue Underground. To order The Black Belly of the Tarantula, go to TCM Shopping. by Jeff Stafford

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Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

dubbed

Released in United States 1972