Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971) Review

Monster Mary

Some very wealthy and beautiful women are being murdered in Rome.  The Rubber gloved killer wears a Black Trench Coat and a Black Fedora to hide their identity while murdering their victims.  The killer also has a very unique way of killing the victims.  First, they are stuck in the back of the neck with a hat pin that has poison on it, which paralyzes them.  The paralyzed victim then is helpless as the Killer disembowels them.  They are fully awake and aware of what is being done to them, but they can not move to escape.

Inspector Tellini is in charge of the murder investigation and goes to see a scientist about how the women are being drugged.  He shows him a Wasp and a Tarantula fighting and explains that the Wasp will win every fight because it injects the Tarantula with a paralyzing venom and then rips open it’s stomach, much like the Fedora wearing Killer.

After consulting with and arresting the Scientist on a unrelated charge,  he turns his attention to a Spa that caters to wealthy women.  It seems all of the victims were being black mailed before they died.  He decides to interview all the employees to try and find a suspect, but no real leads come to him.

At one of the victim’s crime scene, an unexpected tape shows up that leads Tellini to believe the killer has turned his attention toward his own family.  He feels his wife is in real danger from the Killer, and tries to protect her by leaving the police force.

This Giallo was written by a woman, Lucille Laks, and has much more depth to the characters than the usual Giallo.  Tellini, the detective, comes across a very loving husband who is just trying to save the lives of the victims.  The Killer is one of the most sadistic in the Giallo genre, but it doesn’t rely on gore to portray this.  My only real complaint about Black Belly of the Tarantula is that it was far too easy to guess who the Killer was.  Like most Giallos, there is plenty of nudity and sex scenes.  The opening scene alone is very sexy.  And there are 3, count them, 3 Bond Girls (Barbara Bouchet, Barbara Bach, and Claudine Auger) in this film!  What more could you ask for in a Giallo?

4 / 5 stars     


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