Web of the Spider

Director: Antonio Margheriti
(as Anthony M. Dawson)

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Web of the Spider Klaus Kinski stars in the introduction & coda of Web of the Spider (Nella Stretta Morsa del Ragno, 1971) as Edgar Allen Poe, one of the worst bits of casting of all time.

He plays Poe as though he thought the author not a the gloomy bohemian dandy of history, but more kin to Dr. Frankenstein's lab assistant Igor.

His dialog is absurdly dubbed absurdly. Supposing Kinski had a chance in hell of selling this rubbish by the strength of his vocal talent, there's no opportunity for that here. And his character's insistence that everything he has ever written really happened just helps it all rush from silly to sillier.

It's set in London during Poe's imaginary journey to England. An American reporter, Allan Foster (Tony Franciosa as uninteresting as ever), has followed Poe to London & arranges through Poe's aquaintances to spend the night in a haunted castle. Thereafter we won't be blessed with Kinski's physical antics & the wrong voice issuing from his face.

The director had earlier given us the ever so much better bit of junk Castle of Blood (Danza Macabre, 1964), better thanks to the presence of Barbara Steele.

Web of the SpiderIn this rehash of similar themes, the influence of Roger Corman's Poe cycle seems most acute in scenes at the castle, mixed up with the kitsch Romanticism of gaudier Hammer films. The film has fewer signs of giallo which one might expect of any Italian horror cheapie.

Even with the appearance of lots of ghosts, Web of the Spider is above all things boring.

Foster falls in love with the strange Elizabeth (Michelle Mercier, pretty looking, but with none of Barbara Steele's inate charisma). He becomes involved in ghostly re-enactments of betrayal & murder, mistaking ghosts throughout for the living.

It progresses with increasing goofiness until Foster finally escapes the castle & flees through the gardens, trying to take his beloved with him though in all likelihood she can't exist beyond the castle grounds. To the very end he refuses to believe she's a ghost despite all he has seen.

Therefore he's killed by a murderous gate, ridiculously enough, by stumbling into one of its ornaments. Kinski returns by carriage at dawn, just for a moment, to see how things turned out.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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