Nella stretta morsa del ragno (1971) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In an attempt to convince journalist Alan Foster [Anthony Franciosa] that his horror stories are not pure fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe [Klaus Kinski] challenges the journalist to spend All Soul's Eve in Lord Thomas Blackwood's [Enrico Osterman] mansion, a challenge from which no one has ever returned. Alan's evening in the uninhabited, spiderweb-invested castle starts out uneventfully, until Alan discovers that he is not alone. Sharing the house with him is Elisabeth Blackwood [Michèle Mercier], sister of Lord Blackwell and the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, along with Elisabeth's lover Julia [Karin Field], a murderer named Herbert [Raf Baldassarre], one Dr Carmus [Peter Carsten] who writes books about metaphysical medicine, and an entire ballroom full of dancers.

    Within 15 minutes, Alan and Elisabeth have fallen in love, but it is Dr Carmas who explains the scene that begins to unfold before them. While Elisabeth's husband William [Silvano Tranquilli] was away on business, Elisabeth took up with Herbert. Upon William's return, Herbert stabbed him in a jealous rage. When Herbert turned on Elisabeth, Julia killed Herbert. Elisabeth then killed Julia in revenge. Yet, there they all are, alive and Well.

    It's like a snake, Carmus explains, that will continue to bite even after having its head separated from its body, because its sense of defense does not die when the body dies. The soul and the senses can continue to live on, even when the body has passed and begins to disintegrate. Now, each year on All Soul's Eve, the dead ones come to life in search of human blood to tide them over another year.

    Suddenly all the players begin advancing on Alan. "We need your blood," says Carmus. "Your blood is our life," says Julia. "It's the only way to assure us a night of life one year from now." Alan tries to escape but all the doors are locked. Out of love for him, Elisabeth offers to help Alan escape. She leads him out to the front gate but, being dead, she can go no further. Alan tries to pull her with him, but she disappears. As Alan goes through the front gate, he is impaled on a wrought iron spike.

    Epilogue: Poe and Lord Blackwood ride by the gate in their carriage. Seeing Alan impaled on the gate, Lord Blackwood pronounces him the loser of the wager. Elisabeth's voice is heard asking Alan whether he stayed for her, and Alan replies, "Yes, Elisabeth." [Original Synopsis by bj_kuehl.]

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