BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Horrors of Spider Island (1960) - Blu-ray Review

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Horrors of Spider Island

The horror! The hilarity! The frauleins! Insanity follows in Horrors of Spider Island, a Z-grade schlockfest, from Germany!  Released here in the United States as It's Hot in Paradise, with some cuts made so that all the girls keep their clothes on, the horror film finally sees the light of day again thanks to Severin Films

"a rare example of German exploitation horror that is sorely in need of attention"


 

Perhaps it’s the dead man suspended in the gigantic spider web that will haunt viewers the most in this mad, mad tale of a travel agent bitten by a spider and turned into a mutant stalker of scantily clad females.  I doubt it, though.  Considering that the scene (as chilling as it is) has to compete with multiple shots of Barbara Valentin (among other girlie ogling moments), I’d be completely wrong to suggest that it’s Horrors of Spider Island lasting image.

Starring Alexander D'Arcy (one of the suitors of Marilyn Monroe's character in How to Marry a Millionaire) and Barbara Valentin as Babs, this early example of European exploitation is definitely groan-worthy as a lusting travel agent, Gary Webster (D’Arcy) takes a fresh batch of scouted young women to dance at his club in Singapore.  Well, that’s the plan, but they aren't going to make it that far.  

A plane crash is going to change all that, making their destination one of simple survival as Mr. Webster gets more than he expected when he is bitten by a spider and begins to turn into a mutant that preys upon female flesh.

And now, thanks to Severin Films, Horrors of Spider Island comes to blu-ray for the first time ever, complete with the alternate U.S. version (minus all the nudity).  Sure, sure, this cheapo depot film is bad.  That’s part of its charm as this pretty dense group of survivors find themselves trapped on an island, completely starved and dehydrated. {googleads}

But, oh boy, when they do find a source of water, the girls go running, shed their clothes, and jump in and Webster enjoys the view.  Of course, the discovery of a cabin helps things go down easier - that is until they discover the dead man in the spider’s web.  Turns out this professor has made a discovery and it involves uranium and a loud hissing noise . . . which might explain the giant spider web, but none of them bother to ask.  

The girls, when they aren’t fighting over shirts, have already found the source of the hissing.  They just don’t know it.  We do, though, and the first peek at the spider who eventually bites Webster is pretty damn hilarious.  It actually looks like the damn thing is smoking a joint.  Fast forward a bit and Webster starts to change form . . . becoming something unrecognizable and deadly.  Perhaps it's a were-spider?   

Whatever mutant-looking creature he’s become preys upon the women, who - until Rainer Brandt as Bobby and Harald Maresch as Joe rows ashore - are without food and protection from whatever creature is hunting them down.  But Bobby and Joe have saved the day!  The girls’ last night on the island, thanks to nearby the supply ship, features an orgy of flesh and violence as men fight over the women, the girls undress and are eager to please, and Webster, now completely the were-spider with bad face paint and three sharp teeth, decides to take a long walk over some quicksand, attacks. Horrors of Spider Island

This horror film, while not the greatest, is German escapism at its most . . . pastoral?  Well, yes, of course.  Germans, at the time of the film’s production, wanted little to do with cities.  They didn’t want reminders of WWII, which makes this production - with a tropical paradise as its main location - of historical importance.   

Horrors of Spider Island, produced by Gaston Hakim and Wolf C. Hartwig (Bloody Moon), is - alongside The Head - a rare example of German exploitation horror that is sorely in need of attention.  This release, completely uncensored and full of audio interviews, is not to be missed!

Strippers! Catfights! Mutants!  What could go wrong?  Only Horrors of Spider Island knows for sure as eight curvy women spend some time having fun in the sun . . . with a monster!

3/5 beers

Horrors of Spider Island

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray
- May 26, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles
: Optional subtitles in English or German
Audio:
English or German 2.0 mono DTS-HD
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc. Reversible slipcover
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Eight sexy showgirls and their macho manager survive a plane crash and take refuge on a remote tropical island. As the gals adjust to the heat and humidity by shedding most of their clothes, they also meet one of their new neighbors: a dead scientist found caught in a giant web. Ignoring the obvious, testosterone-fueled Gary blithely takes a midnight stroll until he's bitten by an overgrown, crab-like spider and immediately transforms into a clawed, fanged, hairy-faced bogeyman who does exactly what monsters in horror films are supposed to do: chase women! Produced in 1960 as Body in the Web, Horrors of Spider Island became a notorious Adults Only feature throughout Europe (though banned in the UK). Three years later and sheared of its nudity, it was repackaged for American audiences as It’s Hot in Paradise, a brain-melting monster flick filled with skimpy lingerie and radioactive arachnids.  Severin Films is pleased to offer both versions of this film on blu-ray for the first time ever!

Video:

Severin Films presents both the complete uncensored version of Horrors of Spider Island, scanned from the Dusseldorf dupe negative, and the alternative It’s Hot in Paradise censored version, scanned from a low-con print, for the first time.  The black-and-white 1080p transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1:66.1,  are not perfect transfers, nor do they advertise that they are.  There are scratches, irregularities, and a fairly jittery image throughout, but none of that takes from enjoying this Z-grade monster flick.  The images are murky and the strings on the spider are visible, but that’s all to be expected.

Audio:

The audio is presented in a choice of either English or German 2.0 mono DTS-HD with optional subtitles in English or German.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Complete with a slipcover and a reversible cover, Horrors of Spider Island features a few top-notch supplemental items, including a discussion of the film, alternate scenes (with clothes on), and an audio interview with D’Arcy.

  • It’s Hot in Paradise (Alternate US Release Version)
  • The History of Spider Island
  • Alexander D’Arcy Audio Interview 
  • Alternate Clothed Scenes
  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

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The Hustle (2019)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
77 mins
Director
: Fritz Böttger
Writer:
Fritz Böttger, Eldon Howard
Cast:
Stanley Shapiro; Paul Henning; Dale Launer; Jac Schaeffer
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The MONSTER is terror-crazed by his deathly fear of fire!
Memorable Movie Quote: "What are dancers? Hot goods for cold nights."
Theatrical Distributor:
Pacemaker Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
March, 1962
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 26, 2020.
Synopsis: Produced in 1960 as BODY IN THE WEB, it became a notorious Adults Only feature throughout Europe (though banned in the UK). Three years later and sheared of its nudity, it was repackaged for American audiences as a brain-melting monster movie filled with stripper catfights, skimpy lingerie and radioactive arachnids.

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The Hustle (2019)

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