Web of the Spider is potentially an example of someone who is obsessed with a vision and is determined to fulfill their satisfaction to keep pushing an idea to make it work.
Director Antonio Margheriti (Cannibal Apocalypse) had already tried his hand at the tale of a man challenged to authenticate a story by Edgar Allan Poe by spending a night in a haunted castle and surviving, in 1964 with Castle of Blood starring Barbara Steele. Said film performed poorly at the box office but despite this Margheriti felt compelled to return once more to his source some seven years later, but this time in colour.
There is a part of me that kind of gets this, by having American writer Poe, known for the macabre with a lilt towards romanticism, tired of people judging the authenticity of his work. His claim is that all his fictional stories are based in truth, especially the spiritual or paranormal components. It is equally compelling having the eccentric performer Klaus Kinski take on this magnanimous personality to inject the strange yet driven nature that Poe possesses. In Castle of Blood, Poe was played by Silvano Tranquilli (Black Belly of the Tarantula) who appears this time around playing William Perkins, one of the “spectral” residents of the castle.
This time around, it’s a journalist, Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosca – Tenebrae) who takes up Poe’s bet to spend the dreaded night in the castle, where he meets a number of ghostly spirits of those who have been murdered in the castle walls, and throughout the night play out the moments leading to their deaths.
Curiously Foster becomes infatuated with one of the inhabitants, Elisabeth (Michèle Mercier), who equally appears to have fallen for him. As Foster begins to question his sanity and the events that are occurring around him, the big reveal turns out to be that these so-called spirits are in fact vampires, luring him to become their next victim. Foster must now try and fight his way out of the castle before he succumbs to their ways.
Web of the Spider has moments that could genuinely work well but I can’t help but feel that the storyline would serve best as a theatrical presentation where the location and sets can lend weight to the telling of the story using the tricks of the trade. It just doesn’t translate as well in celluloid form and hence why Margheriti falls short of accomplishing his vision for a second time. It would be one that he would openly admit to being a failure and a “stupid to remake it”.
I for one am inclined to agree and the less said about the ending the better.
- Saul Muerte