Horrors of Spider Island
|Horrors of Spider Island|
German release poster
|Directed by||Fritz Böttger|
|Screenplay by||Fritz Böttger|
|Edited by||Heidi Genée|
Horrors of Spider Island (German: Ein Toter hing im Netz, "A Corpse Hung in the Web") is a 1960 West German horror film directed by Fritz Böttger from his screenplay, and produced by Gaston Hakim and Wolf C. Hartwig for Rapid-Film/Intercontinental Filmgesellschaft. The film stars Alexander D'Arcy as a talent agent who invites several girls to a club in Singapore. Their plane ride ends abruptly when they crash-land into the ocean. D'Arcy and the women make their way to an island where they find a larger spider web. A giant spider sinks its teeth in D'Arcy which turns him into a mutant.
The film was released in the United States in 1962, and has been released with various English titles including It's Hot in Paradise, Hot in Paradise, Girls of Spider Island and Spider's Web. It was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1999.
Gary Webster (Alexander D'Arcy), a nightclub manager, flies a group of women from New York City to dance in his club in Singapore. While flying over the Pacific Ocean, their plane catches fire, splits in half, and plummets into the ocean; oddly enough, no one in Gary's group is killed. We next see the group a few days later, suffering from dehydration on a life raft, before they finally spot a small island and stagger to dry land.
Shortly thereafter, they discover fresh water and decide to go exploring. They are quickly relieved to find a cabin, but delight turns to horror when they open the door to discover a dead man hanging from a gigantic spider web. According to his journal, the man was a Professor Green researching and mining for uranium, but he feared something terrible was about to happen to him. There's no indication how long the professor planned to be on the island, but the women estimate there is enough food to last them about a month.
That night, Gary proceeds alone out onto the island where he is bitten by a giant spider and turns into some type of spider-man beast. He flees into the woods, leaving the women to wonder what has happened to him. The next day, seemingly possessed by uncontrollable violent urges, Gary kills one of the girls. The remaining women, still unaware of what has happened to him, have no idea that he is the one who has done this.
Twenty-eight days pass, and the women are running low on food when they spot a ship on the horizon. They are unable to signal it before it leaves, but two men arrive in a rowboat with supplies for the professor. They soon find the women, who tell them the professor is dead. As they all wait for the ship to return, they celebrate their last night on the island with a wild party. One of the men sneaks off to rendezvous with a woman, but both end up being killed by Gary. Finally aware of Gary's fate, the remainder of the group hunts him down with torches until he flees into quicksand and dies. Yet before he dies, he releases his spider eggs, which are sent off into the island.
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The film was shown in Berlin on April 16, 1960. Pacemaker Pictures distributed the film in the United States, originally under the title It's Hot in Paradise in March 1962 with an 86-minute running time. It was later released with the Horrors of Spider Island title as part of a double feature with The Flesh and the Fiends in November 1965 with a 75-minute running time. The film was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1999.
Horrors of Spider Island received mostly negative reviews from critics upon its release, with many criticizing the film for its poor quality, although some have noted the same aspects of the film contributed to its inept charm.
Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, calling it a "well-photographed sex film, typical of the period", with sci-fi elements almost casually tossed in. Allmovie also gave the film 1.5 out of 5 stars, stating that "while the primary purpose of this German-made oddity is to show scantily clad women imperiled by a decidedly male beast, it's also attractively photographed, and several scenes (most notably, Gary's first post-bite attack, and his final flight through a swamp) deliver a frisson not usually found in nudie-cutie/monster movie hybrid". Brett Gallman from Oh, the Horror! panned the film, writing, "No matter which mode it’s in, the film is mostly incompetent. Shots are staged with little imagination, the (presumably) stock music is often incongruous with what’s on the screen, and the acting turns are woeful". Gallman also criticized the film's poor dubbing, monster design and frequent day for night sequences.
Mondo Digital.com gave the film a mixed review, complimenting its atmosphere while acknowledging the film's faults, stating, "While watchable even in its shortest version, Horrors of Spider Island becomes a delirious experience with the added nude swimming footage. The atrocious dubbing contains some of the more quotable one-liners around, while D'Arcy's weird but decidedly non-threatening monster makes up for the decided lack of actual arachnids on screen". George R. Reis from DVD Drive-In.com gave the film a positive review, commending the film's climax as "moody" and "well-photographed".
- List of films in the public domain in the United States
- List of German films of the 1960s
- List of horror films of 1960
- "Ein Toter hing im Netz". filmportal.de. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "Credits". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Munden, 2007. p.549
- Erickson, Hal. "Horrors of Spider Island". Allmovie. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Reid, 2007. p.96
- Gaita, Paul. "Review". Allmovie. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Horrors of Spider Island (1999)". Allmovie. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Leonard Maltin (2015). Classic Movie Guide: From the Silent Era Through 1965. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-14-751682-4.
- Gallman, Brett. "Horror Reviews - Horrors of Spider Island (1960)". Oh, the Horror.com. Brett Gallman. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- "Horrors of Spider Island". Mondo Digital.com. Mondo Digital. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Reis, George. "Horrors of Spider Island". DVD Drive-In.com. George R. Reis. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Munden, Kenneth White (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films, 1961-1970, Part 2. University of California Press. ISBN 0520209702.
- Reid, John Howard (2007). Science-Fiction & Fantasy Cinema: Classic Films of Horror, Sci-Fi & the Supernatural. Lulu. ISBN 1430301139.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Horrors of Spider Island|
- Horrors of Spider Island on IMDb
- Horrors of Spider Island at AllMovie
- Ein Toter hing im Netz (Horrors of Spider Island) at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000" Horrors of Spider Island (TV episode 1999) on IMDb
- Horrors of Spider Island is available for free download at the Internet Archive