“The Black Belly Of The Tarantula” (1971)


By Jerome Reuter

Th Black Belly Of The Tarantula is a 1971 Giallo film. In my opinion, it’s one of the more interesting titles in the sub genre. For many years, it languished in obscurity. However, recently it’s gained a larger following. This is mainly due to the resurgence in popularity with the Giallo sub genre. Not to long ago, one reviewer even hailed this as the greatest Giallo film of all time. Although I’m not sure its fitting of that title, I will say this– It deserves all of the recognition its received.

It’s director, Paolo Cavera, is best remembered for Mondo Cane. Another film of an unusual nature, that kick started the Mondo craze into popularity.

It’s quite different from works such as Blood And Black Lace. This one places more emphasis on the mystery, instead of the murders. The intrigue relies more on the detective, trying to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again. Here’s a quick overview of what we’re shown in this classic thriller.

An intricate web, (no pun intended) is being cast all over Rome. A underhanded plot of blackmail, to expose several extra marital affairs. The stalker, the voyeur, the unseen eye always looking in. Once again, we have the voluptuous beauty becoming the next victim. The cause of murder in this one, really helps set it apart from other entries. It really is one of the more creative methods. Women are paralyzed with pins dipped in venom, paralyzing them before meeting their end.


Most of our victims, meet their end to this bizarre method. Which once again, really makes these death sequences all the more interesting. There is one common theme, that you’ll notice with a good amount of these films. I feel it’s about time I addressed it here. The killer’s blade, penetrating the flesh of the victim. With the knife taking the appearance of a phallic like object, the murders themselves have a sense of erotica to them. In this one, it’s no exception. Although it’s a theme that’s repeated a great deal, it really does ass to the intrigue of a film such as this. It makes the crimes come alive, and take on their own twisted identity.


So, how is this one overall? I’d put it in the category of essential viewing. It’s a unique endeavor, and it does keep you guessing to the final act. If you’re new to the world of gloved killers, by all means sit down woth this one. If you’re a veteran of this genre, than I hope I’ve enticed you into watching it agin.


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