Friday, October 15, 2010
Curse of the Black Widow
Fraternal twin sisters Lee and Laura find that people close to them keep coming up dead. The deaths are pretty undignified (how would you like to die with all your blood drained, full of spider venom and cocooned in silk? Yeah, I didn’t think so) and the murderer could be anyone. Enter Tony Franciosa, a no-nonsense private dick hired to get to the bottom of all this murder business. While digging about and generally annoying everyone around him with his crazy theories, Tony stumbles upon an old legend about full moons and women who turn into human-sized black widow spiders. Undeterred by the implausibility of a giant spider, Tony has a close encounter with the (paper mache) arachnid and eventually narrows his list of suspects to Lee and Laura’s family. Apparently some years earlier the family was involved in a plane crash and to add insult to injury one of the family members was bitten by a black widow spider during the ordeal. Instead of becoming a superhero when this occurred, the family member became a big fat spider who fed off men. Oh yeah, there’s also some unnecessary multiple personality stuff in here as well.
Ah, that’s more like it, a 1970s made-for-TV movie that knows its place, unlike Mr. I-Am-Endlessly-Long Dark Secret of Harvest Home. Its 100 minutes long, which felt like an eye-blink compared to that Wicker Man rip-off and it’s as enjoyable as a bad episode of Fantasy Island. What do you mean they were all bad? Want to fight about it? Didn’t think so. Patty Duke, channeling the uptight Cathy character from her titular show is pretty good here and the film also boasts appearances by Sid Ceaser and June Lockhart. This was directed by Dan Curtis (Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings) but is not nearly as fun as his other stuff. The full black widow transformation doesn’t occur until the final act, probably because watching someone fight a paper spider would diminish the “scare” value of this turkey, but the spider attacks are fun/silly. Every time I vow to stop watching these damn movies I find another temptress – I’m looking at you 1980’s The Babysitter!