I Saw A Film!

Instead of a spider movie, it’s a sepia toned Italian “ghost story” with a bit of a vampire runner attached. It’s cerebral, which means much of the “horror” is implied. Lovely women seem to pop out of paintings and interact with living folks brave enough to hang out in the house on Halloween. Or close to it anyway. Most of the film is dark poking around in a mostly empty house set in the mid 1800s. I have to admit that I mostly chose this for Kinski who is a delightful weirdo who possibly was really perfected by Herzog in Aguirre: The Wrath of God. One of my all time favorite films.

This isn’t Aguirre unfortunately. It’s allegedly about Edgar Allen Poe, as portrayed by Klaus Kinski, though he’s not in it much at all. His part sort of bookends the meat of the film, which is he and his friend challenging a third party to stay at the famous house. Sounds a good deal, all he has to do is make it out alive and he wins the wager. However the ghosts of Italian hotties complicate the matter, especially since there’s obviously a complicated mess of ghostly abuses going on. Our poor fellow meets and falls in love with the ghost of a beauty played by Michele Mercier who steals the film just by flashing her big well-outlined eyes around. The goon laying in bed with her soon witnesses her murder without realizing he’s witnessing something long past. This is the hard part about watching this film. It really takes its time revealing that you’re watching the antics of long dead folks–which was probably a big shocking reveal back in the time the film was made, but we modern audiences have already seen the likes of The Others and The Sixth Sense and are by now kinda blase about a big ghost reveal. There are long sequences of the poor fellow being harangued by a Doctor Carmus who riddles and obfuscates in the most exasperating manner, including **warning** the real murder of an actual snake (Jeeze!). Listen, we know! He sees dead people!

I’ll rush things along a bit for you, the poor fellow damned near makes it out, hauling along his ghostly girlfriend who is warning him that she’s dead, and she can’t go with him. He’s having none of her complaints. But soon enough he loses her in a kind of slow motion graveyard dust devil and winds up falling onto her gravestone. Oddly, he winds up feeling kind of relieved as the poor ghosts were all hoping to get a bit of his blood to survive another year and he managed to escape them only to fall victim to a stupid accident just as he was about to step off the lot.

One major lesson we learn from these films, from The Seventh Seal to just about every slasher horror film to Rudy Ray Moore’s dealing with the Devil, you don’t brag about having won the game (or defeated the baddie). In the movie world you’re signalling your demise with some awful comeuppance. And frankly, no one needs to brag. I mean, most of us aren’t Mohammad Ali, or a pro-wrestler being paid to be a heel, so just put it away already, you’ll save yourself the “deserved” misfortune of movie victimhood!

This runs for free on Prime, and is probably best saved for an insomnia cure. It’s a celluloid sleeping pill, that suffers a bit from being in 4:3 ratio and the image being panned a bit to show you the whole thing. Oh well, some stuff just is that, and there’s not much we can do about it, if it’s a great film we’ll soon not notice, but in tiresome products every last detail tends to annoy!

2 thoughts on “Web of the Spider (1971)

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