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Askew Review 15

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(Blue Underground) 1972. 98 Minutes. Not Rated. Nudity and a little blood. With the aid of a poison from a rare form of wasp and an acupuncture needle, someone is killing a series of beautiful women. Unfortunately, for the victims, the poison is not lethal; it paralyzes. Helpless, the women are forced to watch as the murderer cuts them up. Brought into the case is Inspector Tellini (Giancarlo Giannini), who finds he really does not have the stomach for the case. And, for ever murder, the puzzle becomes more complex until even the Inspector isn’t sure who the killer may be.
   The Black Belly of the Tarantula has one of the sicker premises in the giallo genre. The idea of taking wasp venom and paralyzing your victims so they are forced to watch their own demise is a stroke of brilliance. As is the case with a majority of giallo films, we are subjected to killers in black with rubber gloves, beautiful and naked Italian women who usually end up as fodder for the killer, and an ending that comes out of left field that smacks you up side the head. This film is no exception. With superior acting by all the principles, a gorgeous score by Ennio Morricone, and superb direction by Paolo Cavara, The Black Belly of the Tarantula is a perfect example of the genre. Blue Underground gives us the film in Widescreen format and, along with the theatricals and television trailer, we get an interview Lorenzo Danon (son of famed giallo producer Marcello Danon). At fifteen minutes the interview is a little shorter than I would like, but then again, I can sit through a three hour Jess Franco interview without batting an eye.  -Douglas A. Waltz



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