The journalist Alan Foster makes a bet than he can spend one night at the haunted Blackwood Castle. As he learns, the rumors of ghosts at the castle are indeed true. On All Soul's Eve the ... See full summary »
The journalist Alan Foster makes a bet than he can spend one night at the haunted Blackwood Castle. As he learns, the rumors of ghosts at the castle are indeed true. On All Soul's Eve the ghosts of the castle search for blood to tide them over for another year. In the castle Foster meet and fall in love with Elizabeth Blackwood. Written by
Some people really suck at negotiating business deals. "In the Grip of the Spider" revolves on a guy who accepts a bet to spend the night in a secluded and reputedly haunted castle and if he survives the ordeal, he receives the astonishing, stupendous and exhilarating reward of 10 pounds! Ten pounds?!? Even in the 19th century this probably wasn't even enough to pay the coachman to drive you back to civilization! At least the eccentric Vincent Price offered his guests $10.000 to spend one night in his house on haunted hill; now there's a guy you can do business with! "In the Grip of the Spider" is an accomplishment of the hugely underrated Italian director Antonio Margheriti (better known under his international alias Anthony M. Dawson) and apparently a remake of his very own Gothic horror classic "Castle of Blood" starring Barbara Steele. By doing this Margheriti was far ahead of his time, as it's extremely popular among directors nowadays to remake their own earlier movies. Unfortunately I haven't seen "Castle of Blood" (or at least not yet), so I can't compare, but reliable sources tell me this early 70's version can't hold a candle to the original. This may be so, but I still wouldn't call "In the Grip of the Spider" a bad film especially not if you're a sucker for Gothic atmospheres. Admittedly the storyline is a little flimsy and unspectacular, but the film nevertheless has several things going for it, like the presence of Klaus Kinski (depicting no less than Edgar Allen Poe), lovely luscious ladies and a downright sardonic finale. The American journalist Alan Foster is desperate to get an interview from the notorious novelist Edgar Allen Poe, but he gets more than he bargained for when Poe and his friend challenge him to spend the night at Blackwood castle. Convinced that ghosts and vampires don't exist, Foster accepts and remains alone in the dark and ominous castle. Things start out great for him, as the lucky bastard even has sex with the perplexing beauty who appears out of nowhere. Several more suspicious individuals make their appearance and, through flashback, Alan gradually learns they're all ghosts trapped inside the castle for all eternity. "In the Grip of the Spider" is slightly overlong (110min) and a lot of footage easily could have been cut. There's a lot of ballroom dancing and painting observing going on, which is quite unnecessary and in fact only undermines the atmosphere of Gothic morbidity. The scenes where random characters dwell through the castle's catacombs and stumble upon ancient tombs are irrelevant to the plot at well, but at least they fit the Gothic concept. The rare moments when Kinski appears on screen are sublime even though he doesn't even remotely resemble the real Edgar Allan Poe since there is no other actor more suitable to play a neurotic and lightly inflammable genius than him. Michèle Mercier (as Elizabeth) and Karin Field (as Julia) are both extremely beautiful and sexy starlets, but I'm sort of convinced that Barbara Steele was even better than the two of them combined in the original. I guess I'll have to track that one down as soon as possible. Overall this is a flawed but interesting film, recommend to fans of vintage Italian Goth-horror.
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