Horrors of Spider Island

Tagged: Film

Film (1959, released 1960; vt The Body in the Web; vt It's Hot in Paradise). Produced by Gaston Hakim and Wolf C Hartwig. Directed by Fritz Böttger (credited as Jamie Nolan). Written by Böttger, Eldon Howard and Albert G Miller. Cast includes Alex D'Arcy, Helga Franck, Dorothee Parker (credited as Norma Townes) and Barbara Valentin. 89 minutes, sometimes cut to 82 minutes. Black and white.

Nightclub owner Gary (D'Arcy) interviewing assorted women for his exotic dance troupe in New York and flies with several of them to Singapore. Their jetliner catches fire and explodes, crashing into the Pacific. Impossibly, Gary and the women survive, reaching a small Island after several days adrift on a raft. They discover a cabin with food supplies, and a dead man hanging in a giant spider's web. According to his journal he was a Professor in charge of a uranium-mining expedition, but there is no data on the spiders which killed him. Gary wanders off that night and is attacked by a spider about the size of a dog, which he kills with a handgun, but not before being bitten. The bite turns him into a Monster resembling a humanoid spider.

Gary kills one of the women the next day; the others, unaware of his transformation, spend most of their time swimming nude and devising revealing outfits for themselves. A ship is sighted; they try to signal to it with a fire, but fail. Instead two men land in a rowboat and discover the women. They are prospectors working for the late professor, bringing supplies for him; the ship will return within days to pick them up. They all have a wild party that night to celebrate their impending rescue; one man slips away with a lady of whom he has become especially fond. Gary attacks and kills both of them. The others pursue him after fashioning crude torches. Gary blunders into a quicksand bog and drowns; everyone else is saved.

No explanation is given for the existence of the large spiders (see Great and Small), conceivably mutated by the local uranium deposits. Intended as mild pornographic fantasy, this minor Horror in SF film is extremely mild by today's standards, even in the uncut version. [GSt]

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