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This frightening horror-thriller stars Giancarlo Giannini as Inspector Tellini, chasing a killer whose victims are paralyzed with a poisoned acupuncture needle, forcing them to watch helplessly as their stomachs are ripped open with a sharp knife. This method duplicates the habits of the black wasp in slaying tarantulas, explaining the title. Much of the film is spent on a wild goose chase involving Silvano Tranquilli, the husband of the first victim (Barbara Bouchet). All of the suspects soon turn up dead and Giannini turns his attention to an upscale health spa, frequented by each victim, which is a front for blackmail and cocaine smuggling. The mystery itself is fairly obvious, but director Paolo Cavara includes a good deal of action and Ennio Morricone's score is effectively chilling. Among the cast are such genre favorites as Annabella Incontrera, Stefania Sandrelli, Claudine Auger, Rossella Falk, and Giancarlo Priete, and --as in many Italian thrillers of the period -- voyeurism is the primary motif. Barbara Bach and Carla Mancini appear briefly.

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BU581114 Black Belly of the Tarantula DVD (1972/Giancarlo Giannini) $14.95 $13.49