Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)

Paolo Cavara and Gualtiero Jacopetti (who took all the credit) directed the first shockumentary, Mondo Cane. Following that, they worked on Women of the World before Jacopetti moved on to make increasingly more insane films with Franco Prosperi. Cavara? He went on to make his own films, including this one, a film that some place amongst the best giallo ever.

A mysterious killer is killing women who were involved with a blackmail scheme, using a needle to paralyze them before he slices their stomachs open, the same way a tarantula kills a wasp. Even worse — the victims are awake and can feel the pain, but are unable to move or scream.

Cavara uses one of the queens of giallo for his first victim, Barbara Bouchet (The Red Queen Kills Seven TimesDon’t Torture a DucklingAmuck!). Soon, it’s up to Inspector Tellini to solve the case before he or his girlfriend are killed. He’s a totally likable character, rare for a giallo, who mostly argues with his wife who buys too much furniture while worrying if he’s good enough at what he does. He hits a little too close to home.

There is plenty more eye candy in the film, with Claudine Auger (Domino from Thunderball) and Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved MeThe Humanoid) showing up. And there’s a great Ennio Morricone score.

You can check this one out on Amazon Prime.

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