Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 18th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1971
Director: Antonio Margheriti
Writers: Giovanni Addessi, Bruno Corbucci, Giovanni Grimaldi, Antonio Margheriti
Cast: Anthony Franciosa, Michèle Mercier, Klaus Kinski, Peter Carsten, Silvano Tranquilli, Karin Field, Raf Baldassarre, Irina Maleeva, Enrico Osterman, Marco Bonetti, Vittorio Fanfoni, Carla Mancini, Omero Capanna
BluRay released: November 7th, 2017
Approximate running times: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Garagehouse Pictures
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.99
“An intrepid reporter by the name of Alan Foster, accepts a wager from Edgar Allan Poe 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, 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!” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
Web of the Spider was co-written and directed by Antonio Margheriti, whose other Gothic Horror films include, The Long Hair of Death, The Virgin of Nuremberg and Castle of Blood. The score for Web of the Spider was composed by Riz Ortolani, whose other notable scores include, Mondo Kane, Day of Anger, Don’t Torture a Duckling and Cannibal Holocaust.
There are a few genres that work better in black and white, then they do when shot in color. And nowhere is this more evident, then the Gothic horror genre and its striking use of black and white cinematography.
By the early 1970’s horror films shot in black and white, where few and far in-between. With notable examples of Gothic horror films shot in color being, Hammer Films 1958 adaption of Dracula, Roger Corman’s The Pit and the Pendulum and Suspiria.
Italian genre cinema throughout the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, was filled with films that were knock off’s whatever genre was in vogue at the time. And though many Italian directors from this time frame were pigeon holed into a specific genre. There were a handful of director’s, who were able to be successful in multiple genres.
Case in point Antonio Margheriti, an Italian director, whose career spanned five decades. With his most successful periods being the 1960’s and the 1970’s. And it is work within the Gothic horror genre during the 1960’s that is arguably his best films as a director.
In the 1970’s he would return to the Gothic horror genre with Web of the Spider. And for the first time he would shot a Gothic horror film in color. Web of the Spider would mark the first of two Gothic horror films that he shot in color. With the other film being Seven Dead in the Cat’s Eye.
Content wise, Web of the Spider is a remake of Castle of Blood, a film that he directed seven years before and shot in black and white. And though they are many areas where these two films are virtually identical. When it comes to their visuals, they are like night and day.
With that being said, both films visual create a tremendous amount of atmosphere, albeit in different ways. With the way in which Web of Spider lights scenes giving the visuals an unnatural look that superbly reinforces the state of limbo that the protagonist finds himself trapped in.
Though the performances in Web of the Spider is very good. None of the cast ever come close to matching Barbara Steele’s (Black Sunday, Silent Scream) captivating performance from Castle of Blood. With the most memorable performance being Klaus Kinski (Count Dracula) in the role of Edgar Allen Poe. His character fills a similar role like the character he portrayed in Jess Franco’s Marquis de Sade’s Justine. Other notable cast members include, Irina Maleeva (Kidnap Syndicate), Michèle Mercier (Black Sabbath, Casanova 70) in the role Elisabeth Blackwood and Anthony Franciosa (Tenebrae) in the role of Alan Foster.
Web of the Spider comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, image clarity remains strong throughout and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background noise, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include, an image / art gallery, a German theatrical trailer for the film (1 minute 44 seconds, in German with English subtitles), a deleted scene (4 minutes 1 second, in German with English subtitles), German super 8 movie digest part one (16 minutes 49 seconds, in German with English subtitles), German super 8 movie digest part two (16 minutes 33 seconds, in German with English subtitles), the uncut Italian version of Web of the Spider (110 minute 45 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles and presented in standard definition) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary is with George Reis and Keith Crocker and the second audio commentary is with Stephen Romano.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Stephen Romano include, his thoughts about the opening pro-log, Klaus Kinski, the differences between Castle of Blood and Web of the Spider, Italian exploitation cinema from the 1960’s and 1970’s, Antonio Margheriti, background information about Web of the Spider, Anthony Franciosa and his thoughts about Web of the Spider.
Other extras include, Antonio Margheriti trailer reel that contains the following trailers, Castle of Blood, Lighting Bolt, The Wild Wild Planet, War Between the Planets, The Stranger and the Gunfighter, The Squeeze, Killer Fish, Yor, the Hunter from the Future and Code Name: Wild Geese.
Rounding out the extras is a trailer reel for titles previously released by Garagehouse Pictures. Overall Web of the Spider gets an excellent release from Garagehouse Pictures, highly recommended.
Screenshots Italian Version