Black Belly of the Tarantula, The / La tarantola dal ventre nero (1971)

4.0 out of 5

Beautiful women are being murdered in a cruel and unusual way, as they are paralyzed by a long needle and then slowly sliced open, helpess to do anything but watch. Inspector Tellini, Giancarlo Giannini, rushes to find the killer as the bodies pile up.

Mondo-filmmaker Paolo Cavara delivers an effective and stylish giallo that seems partially inspired by the work of both Dario Argento and Mario Bava. It is aided by a suspenseful score by Ennio Morricone, and an excellent performance by Giannini as an inspector who is struggling to handle the brutality of the case. The cast also features three actresses who are known for their roles as Bond girls - Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet, and Barbara Bach.

Best known for its grisly murders, which are difficult to watch, the film seems quite graphic for the year in which it was released. Highlights include a stalking scene that takes place in a mannequin-filled fashion shop, and a thrilling chase that leads to a rooftop fight atop a high-rise building.

This film should be sought after by all fans of the giallo, as it features some creative touches amongst the usual genre conventions.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics