Sunday, October 11, 2020

HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND (1960) Blu-ray Review

SCARE-A-THON Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 10
Total First Time Views: 6
Amount raised for BOXVILLE: $668.20

Horrors of Spider Island (1960) d. Fritz Bottger (West Germany) (84 min) (1st viewing)

Hotshot producer Gary Webster (Alexander D’Arcy) and his assistant Georgia (Helga Franck) assemble a cast of seven dancers to, ahem, flesh out the ensemble of a cabaret act in Singapore. When mechanical mishaps send their plane into the ocean, the hapless band paddles for hours until they come across a seemingly deserted tropical island; upon arrival they discover an abandoned shack – except for the corpse hanging in a gigantic spider’s web, that is! Having cleared away that unsightly mess, the ladies make themselves at home while Gary wanders off and gets himself bit by one of the oversized arachnids, transforming into a hideous three-toothed monster with an insatiable thirst for scantily clad females.

Originally produced by Wolf C. Hartwig (Bloody Moon) as Corpse in the Web, this energetic, inane combo of creature feature and sexploitation flick eventually found its way to U.S. drive-in audiences under both this title and an alternate, nudity-free cut (known as It’s Hot in Paradise). Happily, both versions are packed to the gills with ridiculous dialogue, shoddy monster makeup, creepy crawlies, and an endless parade of leggy ladies in lingerie. Who could ask for more?

While D’Arcy, veteran of such classy fare as Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth and less-classy fare such as Al Adamson’s Blood of Dracula’s Castle, is the ostensible headliner, providing beefcake shots aplenty for the female gaze clad only in slacks and a neckerchief, it’s obvious to any casual viewer that the film’s selling point is a decidedly smoother and curvier one (or seven, as the case may be).

This was certainly not lost on Bottger and co-screenwriters Eldon Howard and Albert G. Miller, who conspire to keep as many of the comely characters alive to the final reel as possible, if only to make sure there were an even number of dance partners.

In addition to Franck, who ably assumes the role of sexy den mother, the rest of the players – Helga Neuner, Dorothee Parker, Gerry Sammer, Eva Schauland, Helma Vandenberg, Elfie Wagner (as Donna Ulsike), and “The German Jayne Mansfield” Barbara Valentin (who would soon join Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s troupe of regulars) – are not asked to do much except scream, dance, cavort, swim, scream some more, dance some more, and occasionally pull each other’s hair, especially once two other sailors show up because, you know, math.

Clearly stating its intentions from the opening casting call and staying the course to the final reel, this unintentionally hilarious film may fail to strike a lasting blow for feminism, but it’s still juicy Turkey-licious entertainment.


Alternate US Release Version: It’s Hot in Paradise (77 min)
The History of Spider Island With Prof. Dr. Marcus Stiglegger (15 min)
Audio Interview with Actor Alexander D’Arcy by Horror Historian David Del Valle (3 min)
Alternate Clothed Scenes (8 min)
Revisable Artwork
Comic Book [Webstore Exclusive]

Horrors of Spider Island is available now on Blu-ray from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:

No comments:

Post a Comment