Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
CURSE OF THE BLACK WIDOW
A woman comes into a bar and asks for help with her car. A guy named Frank obliges, and is later found dead and drained of blood. His fiancee, Leigh (Donna Mills), asks one of the men who was in the bar that night, private investigator Mark Higbie (Tony Franciosa of Wild is the Wind) to find out what happened, as she's under suspicion because her first husband died at sea under mysterious circumstances. Higbie learns that there were several previous victims found in the same condition and one witness saw what appeared to be a giant spider leaving the scene. Could Leigh's family be under some kind of mystical curse? ... This is an utterly absurd but entertaining horror film with good performances from Franciosa, Mills, Patty Duke Astin as Leigh's fraternal twin sister, Max Gail as a cop, and even June Allyson [The Shrike] as Leigh's aunt [you have to see her caught in a spider web]! The cast even includes Sid Caesar as a landlord, Vic Morrow [Great White] as a detective, Jeff Corey [Seconds] as a caretaker, and June Lockhart as a mysterious old lady locked in an attic. Roz Kelly nearly steals the show as Mark's spirited and funny secretary. The effects are not exactly high-tech but serviceable.The best thing about the movie is the ad [see photo]. Dan Curtis directed many made-for-TV horror films such as The Night Strangler, as well as such theatrical films as Burnt Offerings.
Verdict: Tarantula is way better but this has its moments. **1/2.