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John’s Horror Corner: Spider Labyrinth (1988; aka, Il nido del ragno), an Italian B-movie about a cult and their demonic spider god.

October 2, 2018

MY CALL: It’s not the worst Italian B-movie I’ve seen (not by a long shot), and it was worth it just for the zany monster at the end! MOVIES LIKE Spider Labyrinth: For more “enjoyable” B-movie Italian horror, try Alien 2: On Earth (1980), Evil Clutch (1988), The Church (1989) and Shocking Dark (1989). And for more evil monster baby B-movies that are hardly worth watching except for the creature finale, go for Night Feeder (1988) or The Unborn (1991).

Professor (of Oriental languages) Alan Whitmore is summoned to go to Budapest to investigate the disappearance of Professor Roth and his Intextus project. In Hungary Alan finds notes about a labyrinth, a group called the weavers, and discovers the existence of “living Gods” being worshipped by a sect.

At this point I feel it’s only fair to offer a DISCLAIMER: 1) There basically is no “Labyrinth,” but instead some catacombs. 2) Almost all of the spiders in this movie suck… except one very special one at the end.

The plot is tossed haphazardly in our lap, characters seem to randomly disappear mid-scene without explanation, windows magically fix themselves, Roth ends up hanged and festooned in cobwebs, and Alan is bombarded by dire warnings that he should return home.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that basically nothing interesting happens in the first hour. Yes, some people die. But they are lackluster death scenes by some random (perhaps mutant) cultist and the special effects… well… aren’t so special. We have some unnecessary stop-motion spider work, some weak stab wounds and a sharp-toothed crazy cultist lady.

But after the 60-minute mark (i.e., the last 20 minutes) things get interesting! The catacombs sets are decent (maybe the most ambitious aspect of the film), complete with corpses, cars and cobwebs. We enjoy a spit loogie-noose strangulation (yup, you read that right), an enthusiastic sex scene, yet more action/fight scenes with the crazy-toothed cultist lady, and then there’s the living god. Oh, this is a pleasure! A green-skinned evil demon baby gorily transforms, sprouting a long prehensile neck and spider legs from its side to create a stop-motion/puppeteered monstrosity! This was really cool and more than worth the price of admission!

I’m not surprised I could only find an old gritty version of this film. But it’s too bad since that final effects scene was just glorious (in that bad 80s vein). Honestly, as a big fan of B-movies, this was more enjoyable than I expected.

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