07th Feb2017

‘Spiders’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

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


How many “Spiders” films are there now on DVD? There’s my favourite: 2000s Spiders, directed by Gary Jones (Mosquito) and starring Lana Parrilla (Once Upon a Time’s Evil Queen), which had a sequel in 2001. Then there’s Spiders 3D. Originally released in 3D in 2013, the film dropped the “3D” from its title when it hit DVD the same year (though the 3D blu-ray didn’t)… And now comes Spiders, a retitling of an Italian monster-movie originally called Arachnicide – a much cooler title, yet one I’m guessing was too highbrow from the plebians that UK supermarkets think their “audiences” are…

Yes, surprise, surprise, 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 Spiders 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 (particularlythe 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 is forgiveable 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 Spiders.

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!

Spiders 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. The film is out now on DVD from New Horizon Films.

FYI: If you are curious as to how bad Spiders is and have Amazon Prime, you can watch it without spending any extra money – it’s on Amazon Video under it’s other title, Arachnicide.


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