10th Aug2017

‘Arachnicide’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Gino Barzacchi, Gabriel Cash, Riccardo Serventi Longhi, Crisula Stafida | Directed by Paolo Bertola


Just how many giant spider movies will we get before filmmakers realise that NONE will beat 2000s Spiders, directed by Gary Jones (Mosquito) and starring Lana Parrilla (Once Upon a Time’s Evil Queen), which had a sequel in 2001… This week’s contender for the spider-movie crown is the Italian monster-movie Arachnicide, a title which connotes a much greater movie than this film actually is!

Yes this latest giant spider movie is an ITALIAN horror film, however don’t expect Fulci levels of spider-based gore, this one is sadly a made-for-TV affair directed by Paolo Bertola, who has been working steadily away producing TV movies in Italy for some years. However only his 2011 film My Lai Four has made it to these shores previously, released by Scanbox (remember them?) back in 2011 as Massacre at My Lai Four.

Bertola’s latest sees a task force composed of 6 of the best soldiers from different Special Forces Units, named L9 Commando, reassigned after a successful drug operation take-down. They are are called on for an important mission that brings them to Albania where they discover… I’ll let you guess. Hint: see the title.

When a film opens with a CGI visual of a satellite that looks worse than the CG in an episode of Babylon 5 (whose effects work was created on Commodore Amiga’s back in the early 90s) you should know what to expect, and Arachnicide does not disappoint. Let me clarify, by “does not disappoint” I mean the film lives down to the terrible CGI by being a equally terrible film. As expected. Though the early, brief, shots of the spiders in action aren’t actually that bad – they have some cheesy 80s monster movie charm (particularly the scenes in which the spiders grow – in a haze of pink electricity!) but the effects aren’t something that can save this film from itself. Especially considering we don’t see the spiders until 50+ minutes into the film!

If the bad CGI is unforgiveable, one thing that you can forgive is the ridiculous dubbing; after all it was – and still is – a staple of Italian Horror cinema. Part of the “enjoyment” of this film is laughing at the overly-macho, gruffly-voiced commandos and the utterly idiotic board of drug dealers – who growth serum for their drug crops is ultimately responsible for the creation of the titular spiders! Speaking of commandos, who knew they drove round in red Mitsubishi Shoguns? I certainly didn’t. I always thought they were black or camo colours, but then if you want to blend in with an army that looks like they’re fishing then… That’s just one example of the sheer ineptitude of the filmmaking present in Arachnicide.

On the plus side, fans of the cheesy, over-loud, often frenzied, Euro soundtracks of Italian cinema of old will be happy to hear (pun intended) that they at least makes a comeback here – in this case blending pop, euro-sleaze, Benny Hill-style music (yes really) and even techno – in the most ill thought out, badly placed way possible!

Arachnicide is a case of truly joyous, bad Italian cinema right here folks! Scratch that, it’s just bad. Really bad. Like avoid at all costs, burn any copies that exist bad… You have been warned. Oh, and if you bought Spiders, released back in February by New Horizon Films (and now already OOP), then you’ve already got this one in your collection.

Yes folks, that’s right, this might be the quickest re-release in UK DVD history!


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