15 July 2024
Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)
84 min.
Directed by Paolo Cavara.
With Barbara Bouchet, Giancarlo Giannini, Claudine Auger, Barbara Bach, Annabella Incontrera, Rossella Falk, Silvano Tranquilli, Ezio Marano, Giancarlo Prete.
A truly superlative giallo.

Rome is plagued by a series of gruesome murders. Just as the wasp insect uses a deadly stinger to kill its arch foe the tarantula, a deranged psycho is killing women by plunging a poison-tipped acupuncture needle into the back of their necks.

Pierced by the needle, the victim is still alive - but completely paralyzed! Slowly, they watch their own death, as the madman then stabs their exposed bellies mercilessly. Inspector Tellini (Giannini) heads an investigation into the carnage, while the gloved murderer keeps right on slicing...

Excellent Italian horror benefits from some good performances (most notably from handsome Giannini as the sympathetic cop caught up in the unsavory mess). The killer's motivation may be weaker than Tarantula as a whole, but overall this 1971 giallo finds itself a memorable effort. Well made and stylishly done.

Best scene: lovely Bouchet's untimely demise.

Highlighted by another hauntingly beautiful score courtesy Ennio Morricone.

Italian title: La Tarantola dal ventre nero.

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