Due to the fact that the Italians produced more gialli in the 1970s than they did gelati, it wasn’t difficult to come up with one I hadn’t seen for Sham Shocktober. Other strong contenders were The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail and Seven Bloodstained Orchids, but The Black Belly of the Tarantula won out simply because it mixes in another horror movie staple I love... Spiders.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: spiders make a film scarier. Halloween, you say? Okay, remember the scene where Michael Myers has Jamie Lee Curtis cornered in a closet? Well, just imagine that, as she frantically searches for something to defend herself with, her hand closes around – not the comforting cold steel of a wire hanger – but the hairy legs of a giant spider! Argh!! She’d be out of that closet and jumping into the arms of a soulless boogeyman quicker than you could say “Rob Zombie remake”. (And, if Rob Zombie did remake it, I’m sure we’d find out all about the spider’s past, why it was in the closet, and how its mom was a stripper.)
Anyway, in The Black Belly of the Tarantula, a killer is stalking a health spa, paralyzing his victims with spider venom before gruesomely slicing them up. There’s sleaze, gore, Giancarlo Giannini, three Bond girls... and, above all, there’s spiders. Scary!