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Horrors of Spider Island - 1960

Horrors of Spider Island

Horrors of Spider Island aka "The Spider Web" (German "Ein Toter Hing Im Netz" or One Corpse Hangs in the Web). Directed by Fritz Bottger (it is said the film was actually directed by star Alexander D'Arcy).

Story entails a troupe of nightclub dancers getting marooned on an island after the plane taking them to Singapore catches fire. Once on the island a very large spider traps the only man (the girls' manager, played by D'Arcy) and via its bite turns him into a kind of "spider-man" that then stalks about though rarely getting anywhere near the girls. Eventually a pair of young men arrive who are the assistants for the scientist who lived on the island (and who the girls found dead in a giant spider web when they first arrived) and they are rescued from "Spider Island."

The movie is considered a wonderfully bad film with mismatched scenes, a script that makes only token efforts at being a true monster movie, stiff acting and for spending the bulk of its time trying to keep the assortment of stranded ladies doing something interesting (which proves to be a difficult task) as they survive their predicament on the remote island. Because of the lackluster horror film elements in the script (writing credited to Fritz Böttger, Eldon Howard, Albert G. Miller) the story instead veers into trying to present each of the girls as sensitive beings with problems and dilemmas. This too is badly put together, and the mishmash between "backstage" soap opera about girl performers plus the monster movie setting makes a scrambled egg of a movie.

Despite all of this, there is an earnest "we just want to be taken seriously as human beings" message to the tale of the stranded dancers, and though wrapped up in exploitation style presentation, Horrors of Spider Island has a peculiar, but mostly elusive, quality.

Original Page May 2020

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Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Movemaking

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