‘A classic tale of horror!’
Web of the Spider – original title: Nella stretta morsa del ragno (“In the Tight Grip of the Spider”) – is a 1971 Italian-West German-French supernatural gothic horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti (The Virgin of Nuremberg; Killer Fish; Cannibal Apocalypse), using the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson, from a screenplay by Bruno Corbucci. The film’s score is by Riz Ortolani.
The film is a colour remake of the 1964 black and white Castle of Blood, also directed by Margheriti. He would later comment that it was “stupid to remake it” and that “the colour cinematography destroyed everything: the atmosphere, the tension.”
On October 24, 2017, Garagehouse Pictures is releasing Web of the Spider on Blu-ray, restored from an uncut theatrical negative. The new artwork was designed by Eibon Press’ Stephen Romano (Lucio Fulci’s Zombie and Maniac comics).
- Audio commentary by George Reis and Keith Crocker
- Audio commentary by Stephen Romano
- Two German Super 8 movie digests
- Deleted scenes
- Uncut Italian version (standard def)
- Art gallery
- Antonio Margheriti trailer reel
- Garagehouse Pictures trailers
Anthony Franciosa (Curse of the Black Widow; Tenebrae; Death House), Michèle Mercier (Black Sabbath), Klaus Kinski (Death Smiles at Murder; Schizoid; Nosferatu the Vampyre), Peter Carsten, Silvano Tranquilli.
A troubled Edgar Allan Poe (Klaus Kinski) attempts to confirm a supernatural story by examining the ghosts’ tombs. Later, an American journalist named Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosa) visits Poe in an English inn to challenge the horror writer on the authenticity of his stories.
This leads to Foster’s accepting a bet from Lord Blackwood to spend the night in his purportedly haunted castle on All Soul’s Eve. Foster is surprised by female apparitions who appear to be half-humans. Ghosts of the murdered inhabitants continue to appear to him throughout the night, re-enacting the events that led to their respective deaths and driving Foster towards madness…
“Anthony Franciosa as Alan Foster doesn’t quite blend with the period for me. His haircut screams 70’s and reminds me of James Caan. Oh well. The biggest addition is Klaus Kinski as Poe. Though not in the film much, he is a commanding presence which is a blessing and a curse since he plays Poe as a crazed and sinister drunk. Interesting.” Sinful Celluloid
“Ortolani’s score is as intrusive as in the original version and the presence of Kinski doesn’t compensate for the absence of Steele, but the camerawork is pleasant, and helps make the film one of Italy’s last classic gothic movies…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
“Stylish Italian supernatural thriller holds one’s attention…” John Stanley, Creature Features
“It’s atmospheric, wistful, occasionally philosophical and very slow.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
Cast and characters:
- Anthony Franciosa – Alan Foster
- Michèle Mercier – Elisabeth Blackwood
- Klaus Kinski – Edgar Allan Poe
- Peter Carsten – Doctor Carmus
- Silvano Tranquilli – William Perkins
- Karin Field – Julia
- Raf Baldassarre – Herbert
- Irina Maleeva – Elsie Perkins
- Enrico Osterman – Lord Thomas Blackwood
- Marco Bonetti – Maurice
- Vittorio Fanfoni
- Carla Mancini
- Paolo Gozlino
The film is also known as E venne l’alba… ma tinto di rosse (“And Comes the Dawn… but Coloured Red)”, Dracula im Schloß des Schreckens (“Dracula in the Castle of Terror“), Edgar Poe chez les morts vivants (“Edgar Allan Poe Among the Living Dead“).
Some image credits: Todo el Terror del Mundo