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Inspector Tellini investigates serial crimes where victims are paralyzed while having their bellies ripped open with a sharp knife, much in the same way tarantulas are killed by the black wasp. As suspects keep dying, Inspector directs his attention to a spa all the victims had a connection with. Written by
THE BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA (Paolo Cavara - France/Italy 1971).
A deranged killer is injecting beautiful women with the poison of a rare wasp, paralyzing them and forcing them to witness their own brutal murders. When nymphomaniac Barbara Bouchet and somewhat later her husband have been disemboweled, inspector Tellini (Giancarlo Giannini) is called in to stop the killer's venomous rage. He loves his wife, but is dedicated to his police work above anything else and is away from home a lot, so this leaves his wife a little unhappy at times. Pressure on their marriage is rising, but when the killer targets him and his wife, his blasé attitude towards life won't do the trick anymore.
This is a fine Giallo with great cinematography and style to burn. And I'm very forgiving when a film opens with a buck-naked Barbara Bouchet parading around in the first five minutes. Definitely one the better gialli made, beautifully filmed, gorgeous sets, a sumptuous score by Ennio Morricone and on top of it, three Bond-girls, Barbara Bouchet (CASINO ROYALE), Claudine Auger (THUNDERBALL) and Barbara Bach (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME).
The film boasts some superb and highly stylized cinematography with evocative use of locations by Marcello Gatti, who lensed THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS five years previous and would later work on Polanski's WHAT. The film has a rather unusual setting, with many scenes filmed in Rome around modernist housing blocks. It's a shame so few of Paolo Cavara's other films are available on DVD. Perhaps "Black Belly" is not covering any new ground, but as far as perfection in Giallo mysteries goes, this comes very close.
Giannini looks a bit bored throughout the whole film. Perhaps he is contemplating about his appearance in yet another Italian B-movie. Speaking of Giannini, what's the deal with that little mustache he's cultivating? He looks almost exactly like Alain Delon in LE CERCLE ROUGE, made just a year earlier.
Camera Obscura --- 8/10
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