fredag 3 februari 2012

Spider Labyrinth (1988)

Gianfranco Giangnis Spider labyrinth aka Il Nide del ragno is somehow a rather unknown movie. It is an Italian piece of horror that was released during the end of the great era when Italian exploitation was dying a slow death which resulted in that it didn't get the attention it deserved. A sad thing really since this is an excellent flick that should be more known to horror fans than it is. It might not be a masterpiece but it is among the best of the genre movies that came out in the late 80s.

We meet young professor Alan Whitmore working on a religious science project where people are trying to learn more about a hidden religion that seems to be spread all around the world, yet very little is actually known. He travels to Hungary to meet a professor Roth who has delved into the very same matters and finds him sick, delirious and very paranoid. Whitmore is asked to return the next day upon Prof Roth is found hanging in the ceiling in something that looks like spider web. Roth did manage to leaves some sort of clue and when Whitmore starts to unravel them he realizes that the whole town seems to be in on it, members of some sort of ancient spider cult who wants to keep their secrets out of the public eye.

Italian exploitation that has as much meat and substance as Spider labyrinth are rare. The script is excellent and actually manages to stay away from all those usual leaps of logic that these movies are known for. Gianfranco Giangnis direction is fully concentrated on maximum atmosphere, greatly helped by excellent cinematography and Franco Piersantis score straight out of the Bernard Herrman school of music writing. Fans of cinematic violence get their fair share of stylish grue thanks to Sergio Stivalettis good special effects.

Ok, so I can’t really just pour on with the asskissing here and there are a few nitpicks, the most crucial one is the acting. The lead actor to be precise. Roland Wybenga as Whitmore has a annoyingly droning and dull way of spouting out his lines and he sounds more like spoiled child in the scenes where he is supposed to be panicking. The script is well written but I don’t really understand how such an intentionally slow movie can feel so short. We need more! 10-20 more minutes of exposition would have done wonders for the movie, more background on the Spider cult for instance. These are only minor annoyances, nothing that will destroy your enjoyment. The plot sucks you in and these thoughts only come afterwards, the story moves forward in such an exciting way all towards a fine ending that you don’t care. If you like old school Italian horror then Spider Labyrinth is something you really should track down

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