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Spider (Zirneklis) – Mondo Macabro (BluRay) 
Written by: on September 22nd, 2017

Theatrical Release Date: Latvia / Soviet Union, 1991
Director: Vasili Mass
Writer: Vladimir Kaijaks
Cast: Romualds Ancans, Aurelia Anuzhite, Saulius Balandis, Liubomiras Lauciavicius

BluRay released: September 12th, 2017
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Stereo Latvian
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

“Vita, a beautiful teenage girl, is asked by a controversial artist to pose as the Virgin Mary for a painting. She visits his studio and finds herself swept up into the bizarre world of the artist and his bohemian friends. She seems to see his paintings come to life and is pursued by strange shadowy figures. Later she has nightmarish visions of the artist visiting her at night in the form of a huge spider. The next morning she finds marks on her body that look like the bites of a large insect.

Vita’s mother becomes worried about her and sends the girl off to stay with relatives in the countryside, believing that the change of environment will help her to recover. However, it seems the dark forces that threatened Vita in the city have followed her and an ancient evil is being awakened that feeds off Vita.” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor

At the heart of this film is a story about repressed sexual desires and how said repression affects the protagonist of this film, a young woman who has become the muse of a decadent artist. Besides the aforementioned exploration of sexual desires, religion and imagery related too it, play a role in the story at hand.

From a production standpoint, this film is at its best, when it comes to its surreal visuals. And nowhere is more evident, then during the scenes where the a very large spider sexually assaults the protagonist.

Another strength of this film are the performances, especially Aurelija Anuzhite in the role of this film’s protagonist Vita. There is a naivety to her character that makes her descent into depravity at the more potent. Another performance of note is Liubomiras Laucevicius in the role of a perverse artist named Albert.

Needless to say, this is a film that does not feature a conventional narrative and because of this some viewers may find it difficult to digest the events that have unfolded. Fortunately, for the more adventurous fans of cinema, what lies within is a truly unique cinematic experience that will linger on your mind, long after its moment of truth has arrived!

The BluRay:

Spider comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The transfer for this release was sourced from a 4k scan from the film’s 35mm negative. The source is in excellent shape and this transfer does a superb job retaining the intended look of the film. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in Latvian and included with this are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout.

Extras for this release include, the Mondo Macabro’s Promo Reel, onset T.V. report (3 minutes 17 seconds, in Latvian with English subtitles) and an interview with director Vasili Mass (32 minutes 34 seconds, in Latvian with English subtitles).

Topics discussed in the interview with Vasili Mass include, his origins in the film industry, how he got the opportunity to direct Spider, the origins of Spider, cinema from the Soviet Union, his cinema influences, Spider’s theatrical release and audience reaction to the film, what type of film was he trying to make, nudity / erotica cinema in Soviet Union, background information about lead actress Aurelija Anuzhite, special effects, the visuals, other production related topics and his filmmaking career after Spider.

Overall another exceptional release from Mondo Macabro, highly recommended.

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