Deserves Restoration: CALLING ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT ...
S. Nyland | Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains | 05/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Seriously; this is one of my alltime favorite films of any genre, period. I saw it way before CASTLE OF BLOOD on a late nite creature feature as a kid [I distinctly remember the little pistol and the guy with the white beard], and while I acknowledge that it IS essentially a re-hashing of BLOOD's basic story premise, the result is much more than just a technicolor remake with some more explicit violence.I think that director Marghetti wanted to revisit the castle he had envisioned in the brilliant 1964 film, but pay more attention to the mood and substance of a moment, than break new ground or worry about "innovation". And one of the most frequent comments by WEB OF THE SPIDER [or IN THE GRIP OF THE SPIDER, as it is known overseas] detractors is that it "doesn't hold up" to CASTLE OF BLOOD. Hogwash -- they are different movies made almost a decade apart. The leading roles in SPIDER also define the film, where in CASTLE OF BLOOD the story kind of leads a cast of those who were [pardon my upstate NY ignorance] more or less unknowns into territory that horror hadn't charted before ... WEB OF THE SPIDER comes jam-packed with subtexts if only due to the presence of it's top billed star; Klaus Kinski's Edgar Allen Poe is onscreen for perhaps 8 to 12 minutes of screentime, during which he gets tanked, trashes a chess set, growls put-downs at Tony Fransciosa, then just sort of gloomily looks up at the sky and says "They'll never believe it" ... No wonder it's initial viewers were confused; by 1972 Klaus Kinski had a significant "cult" following, and his absence from the majority of the film speaks of a jumbled agenda, and the result is kind of a jumbled narrative. Kinski's role in the story is supposed to be that of the catalyst who spark's Alan's evening of horror, but instead he has kind of an Oscar the Grouch kind of quality, popping out of his can when needed to cue the closing score. Tony Franciosa is properly confused and does seem genuinely frightened as the unlucky Alan, becoming more and more unhinged as the climax approaches, but has too much of an "everyman" quality to really stand out. Solid work, but who is this Alan he was playing? All we know is that he is a writer and an American.Far more interesting is the presence of Helga Line, always a personal favorite of mine and here appearing in what must have been a pretty high profile international release, and her icy, sexy demeanor just drips from the screen along with her push-up 1970's wunderbra. Just seeing her in a film is a pleasure in itself, but although her dialogue was no doubt dubbed Helga actually does some genuine acting in this film and is very effective; it is unfortunate that she never got a chance to do more work like it. Rrowrr.Helga's role was also apparently subject to some clipping that might have earned the film a more broader audience -- another qualified comment about WEB OF THE SPIDER is that a bit more sex & some additional spatterings of blood would have given the film a bit more punch, and as it is relies upon Maghetti's use of mood and suggestion to pull the story together.And what a story it is ... WEB OF THE SPIDER, just like the earlier film, is one of the best "ghost story" films ever made. It's not just a haunted house or haunted castle movie, it is a film about these people who are forever condemned to relive their violent deaths and claim new lives -- truly a Poe like sense of utter macabre, with zero hope of ever seeing daylight.My advice? Watch this movie alone, in the dark, and all the way through without stopping -- of help might be the CIRCUS OF DEATH 2 disc DVD set by Brentwood Media that also features the same version of the film sold here on VHS ... let the story take you where it will, and the effect of the film will hit you afterwards as you realize how the various storylines all fit together and lead to a conclusion that is just too inevitable to be anything other than Poe.AND A WORD TO OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT -- this would be a good one for you folks to look into ... a "restored", uncensored international version in a nice letterboxed format with proper color tinting would result in a movie that a whole generation of horror fans have been urged NOT to take too seriously might recognize as being the triumph of cinematic vision that WEB OF THE SPIDER really is.I'd give it 5 stars but the transfer print on both the VHS and CIRCUS OF DEATH set is really atrocious ... Get busy, AB."
An outstanding, extraordinarily creepy masterpiece
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 05/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The plot to Web of Spider sounds a little hokey; a writer/journalist journeys to London to meet and interview Edgar Allan Poe, and he ends up spending a night in a haunted castle. I understand that this 1972 film is a remake of the black and white classic Castle of Blood, but having not yet seen the first film I can not compare the two. All I can say is that this is an extraordinarily, genuinely creepy movie. The inclusion of Edgar Allan Poe (played somewhat questionably by Klaus Kinski) is really quite unnecessary as the adventures at the castle more than stand on their own two feet. For his part, however, Poe claims that all of his stories are based on true events, and he has a new story in waiting when the American journalist Alan Foster (Tony Franciosa) accepts Lord Blackwood's bet that he cannot spend a full night in his haunted castle. I won't say much about what happens over the course of this strange night, except to say that it is far from just your typical haunted house story. The first ten or fifteen minutes of Alan's exploration of the house were really and truly creepy, on a level that had me engaging in my own dialogue with Foster. I remember saying "don't go in there" and "nothing good will come of this" several times. Years of sating my compulsion for horror in all its forms has all but atrophied my "spooks" nerve, but this movie dug way down and hit that nerve several times, much to my uncomfortable delight. I even sort of jumped once, and that is unheard of. I don't feel the movie was very predictable, either, and that is another reason I enjoyed it so much. I'm not saying it's difficult to see the ultimate conclusion coming, but I for one was never completely sure how things would play out until the very end. The Gothic look and feel to the movie is outstanding, really, and the cast (aside from Kinski) is superb. Michele Mercier is particularly captivating in her role. I would praise the other cast members one by one, for the effectiveness of this movie is a direct byproduct of their outstanding work, but I really do not want to risk giving away one single thing about the night's events. If you enjoy old school horror, especially of a richly Gothic variety, Web of the Spider is just what the doctor ordered. I hesitate to make a claim as bold as this, but, at least for the time being, this is the best, most deliciously creepy haunted house movie I have ever seen."
Not worth buying!
Mäusefrau | 01/24/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"very poor quality, very noisy, several chapters do not work (Amazon should at least publish one of my comments!)"
Watch late at night
Major Pollock | Los Angeles,Ca. | 06/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this one when it first came out in the theaters, and was impressed with the spooky house and the shrieks and disappearing people. It was a nice touch having Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allen Poe. He gave a great performance as a drunken writer obsessed with the supernatural. I recommend this one to you to watch late at night, especially November 2, when everyone at the spooky house comes back to life."
Brentwood Media Version
Christopher A. Morgan | Arcade, NY | 03/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My copy of this flick is from an outstanding 10 DVD (double-sided)Brentwood compilation called "Nightmares From the Crypt" which has other cult classics like "Don't Look In the Basement", "Messiah Of Evil", "Circus Of Fear", "Horror Hotel", "Jack the Ripper" and the like. This version is 102 minutes & not rated. I really liked this movie and is one of the most played of this compilation.
Klaus Kinski gives his usual manic, if brief, performance and is quite entertaining (as he usually is). The filming of the castle is very dark & creepy, which is perfect for a late-nite viewing. While this is not a gorefest, it is an above-par haunted house story with some kinky subplots interspersed throughout. The ending sequence where Alan Foster is escaping the vampires who inhabit the castle into the morning light in slow-motion is quite freaky & hilarious. Me & my buddies got a huge kick out of this one late late night when we watched a huge portion of this compilation enjoying our favorite tobacco. In the end, Kinski shows up & eerily looks to the sky muttering "no one will believe this".
I highly recommend this film for fans of this sub-genre (late 60's/early 70's horror). I also strongly recommend the Brentwood 10 DVD compilation "Nightmares From the Crypt" (see my review on this), because it is the BIGGEST BANG for the buck & highly entertaining!!"