Film #175: IL NIDO DEL RAGNO aka THE SPIDER LABYRINTH
Il Nido del Ragno aka The Spider’s Labyrinth
2.5 out of 5 stars
Just when you thought they’d wrung every possible drop out of the giallo / mystery genre, along comes director Gianfranco Giagni with THE SPIDER’S LABYRINTH to show that the old girl still has some kick in her. Story is slow to roll-out ( a professor is sent to Budapest to find a lost researcher and his work – lots of mystery and dark hallways ensue) with the slow burn sorta paying off toward the end with some neat FX work by Sergio Stivaletti (DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE and a bunch of Argento films). The Argento mention is on purpose as this feels very much like mid-career Argento (with less of the visual flair); think between INFERNO and TENEBRE and it could very well, dare I say, be one of the 3 Mothers mythology, thematically-speaking. Acting is stiff, particularly the main actor, Roland Wybenga (SINBAD AND THE SEVEN SEAS) who doesn’t play clueless, but is clueless. His tone is all wrong and he looks far too much like a model to be taken seriously. Luckily, his role here is mostly to look amazed and be Captain Exposition. The rest of the cast is a haze of feathered hair and big shoulder pads (it is, after all, the 80s) and they’re mostly there to move the story along. Overall, the film is odd, clumsy, with lots of driving scenes that go nowhere. Further, this is one of the films where it’s clear EVERYONE is in on ‘it,’ but ‘it’ is never explained until we walk in on the previously mentioned Stivaletti scene… and then, little is said. The mood is well handled and, again… this feels like a 3 Mother’s film. Murders are clumsy (knives) and aren’t particularly gory, but the main killer is cool looking and sort of fun. Huge plus for the stop-motion demon baby and spiders. Worth seeing on YouTube (see below), but mostly as an oddity and time-waster. Fun, but by no means, crucial viewing.