Friday, October 15, 2010

Curse of the Black Widow


(1977) **

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!

7 comments:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Patty likes to rock and roll. A hot dog makes her lose control. What a wild duet.

I think it's great that you're tackling these crappy TV movies. You're pretty much guaranteed inferior quality because if it was that good, it would be in theaters! Also, it must be fun to see where they work in the mini-cliffhanger commercial breaks.

DCD said...

I also love that you are watching these movies. It makes for some super funny reviews!

Catfreeek said...

I third that! Love your movie choices this year. I want to see the spider.

Whirlygirl said...

JPX loves watching crap.

JPX said...

Says the French porn-watching queen!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

They laugh alike, they talk alike, sometimes they even walk alike. You can lose your mind. 'Cuz cousins are two of a kind!

Octopunk said...

I always thought it was lame that Cathy was the more worldly of the two but it just translated into "let's all go to the library" instead of "I visited my cousins in Spain and we tripped and went to the Picasso museum."

Another slamming review of not-so-slamming material. You are really on fire this year.