Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)
"La tarantola dal ventre nero" (original title)

R  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  12 August 1971 (Italy)
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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 ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Inspector Tellini
Maria Zani
Rossella Falk ...
Franca Valentino
Silvano Tranquilli ...
Paolo Zani
Annabella Incontrera ...
Mirta Ricci
Ezio Marano ...
Anna Tellini
Giancarlo Prete ...
Anna Saia ...
Maria's friend
Eugene Walter ...
Ginetto, the waiter
Nino Vingelli ...
Inspector Di Giacomo
Daniele Dublino ...
Giuseppe Fortis ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With needles dipped in deadly venom the victims are paralyzed - so they must lie awake and watch themselves die!


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 August 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Black Belly of the Tarantula  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Crew member visible in second victim's clothes shop. See more »


Featured in Profondo Delle Tenebre: Memento Mori (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

I Find This Giallo Refreshinly Special!
29 March 2001 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

My God! The opening scene alone is worth the price of admission! Barbara Bouchet being given a nude body massage while Ennio Morricone's score (hightened by Edda Del Orso's seductive vocals) explores our aural senses is nearly the best opening I've ever seen... period! Paolo Cavara's brilliant Giallo "The Black Belly Of The Tarantula" is definately special. The film contains a beautiful (Euro Babe) cast, that would please James Bond afficianados everywhere. It contains three Bond Girls in one film! The wonderful Claudine Auger ("Thunderball"), Barbara Bouchet ("Casino Royale"), and Barbara Bach ("The Spy Who Loved Me"), all lending shady perversity to the proceedings. The title refers to the sadistic means in which a killer is performing on his prey. An acupuncture needle is inflamed with a paralysing poison that the killer inserts into the neck of his victim (realistically, this would probably kill someone, but hey... this is an Italian B Movie!!) thus insuring that the victim is paralysed yet concience while the killer tears open their belly with a knife (eehhh...hella creepy!). The story primarily surrounds the investigation by Inspector Tellini (well acted by Giancarlo Giannini) of the murder of Maria Zani (Barbara Bouchet) who was being blackmailed before her death. Other murders follow, as the Inspector's trail leads to a Fashion Boutique, a Science Laboratory, and then a Health Spa, which are all linked to drug traffiking and sexual deviant politics. Like "What Are Those Strange Drops Of Blood Doing On Jennifer's Body" this film as well could be a kind of prototype Giallo film. If you are familiar with the genre, you can only laugh at the way the victim always says to the Inspector "I can't talk right now... but I think I know who the killer is. Come back later (or tomorrow), and I'll tell you. (another equally laughable sentence is: "I just want to check something out, but I'll meet you later!) This line is usually a recipe to get yourself gutted and tortured in the most painful of ways. Also, like "What Are Those..." this film again has the theme of moral avenger (quite often this theme is linked with something resembling impotence... c'mon you got to laugh at that!) that strikes out on the poor girls with viciousness. I'm still trying to sort out if this is somehow linked to the cynicism surrounding Catholicism in Italy? But the killer's use of fetishistic surgical gloves only insures that this is pure Euro-Trash at it's best.

Giancarlo Giannini's Inspector Tellini is a slightly different breed of cop. The film interestingly delves further (then most Gialli) into the relationship of him and his wife Anna (played by the beautiful Stefania Sandrelli), and the moodiness surrounding his job. He neurotically says "I just don't think I can do this anymore. I want to quit." (echoing my own displays of verbal discontent in the work world, as my girlfriend pointed out) And in the end when Inspector Tellini loses his cool, as the killer gets closer to getting to his wife!

This is a great little Giallo, which unfortunately is a tad hard to find in America. But I nevertheless highly recommend it to those who love weird and twisted little masterpieces that come from a country of machisimo mentality. And the music score is to die for!!!!

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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