I was so excited to watch The Evil Dead. Tragically, when I opened my Netflix envelope, I discovered that the disc was cracked in half.
So I ended up watching the 1960 German-Yugoslav exploitation film Horrors of Spider Island. This was on my Mills Creek Fifty Chilling Classics set and it officially broke my winning streak of good movies. Good gravy, this movie was painful. I don’t know how the Mystery Science Theater 3000 writers could stand to watch this ugly little movie multiple times.
The movie starts with a group of dancers assembling in Los Angeles to audition for a dance troupe. The troupe will be performing in Singapore because once you make it in Singapore you can make it anywhere.
I’ve watched this movie infinite times via MST3K yet I still can’t tell any of the dancers apart. They’re pretty much interchangeable.
We see some of their auditions and the overcomplicated way that Gary, the troupe’s manager, selects dancers. See, if he crosses his legs, that means he likes the woman and Georgia, his lady assistant (“assistantress”) lets them know they’re in the gang.
If Gary doesn’t cross his legs then he isn’t interested.
Of course, Gary is ribbed by one of his friends for letting a woman make decisions. Imagine.
Anyway, the plane flies from Los Angeles to Singapore but first we take a stock-footage visit to NYC. Uhm, yeah. Then we see the plane catch on fire, turn into a different plane, and plummet in the sea.
They end up stranded on an island with a single puppet spider who gets about two minutes of screen time. You see, when this movie was first released in the U.S. in 1962 it was known as It’s Hot in Paradise and was an adult movie. The version that Mills Creek has is the 1967 release that’s severely edited. So, I guess the movie was meant to originally have minimal spider time and lots of nude women frolicking and having sex with Gary’s Spongebob Squarebody. Seriously, he makes Don Draper look svelte.
What this version has is a goofy spider.
There’s a goofy dead guy in a goofy web.
Gary is bit almost immediately and turns into an even goofier monster.
The women spend the rest of the time cat-fighting and trying to get boats to notice them on the island.
Finally, a couple of the skeeviest guys to ever grace the screen come to deliver supplies to the professor and find the women. One of the guys, I’ll call him Pervert 1 sees one of the dancers swimming and just kidnaps her. She immediately falls in love and brings him to their camp. They decide to celebrate their rescue and a good twenty minutes of the movie is devoted to party planning.
The movie ends, somehow. I think Gary tries to go to the party and they trap him with torches and he dies in quicksand. This isn’t clear, though, I’ve only seen this movie about twenty times.
This is an ugly little movie and the disc left an oily film on everything it touched. The sleeve it comes in bills it as a movie starring Harald Maresch. According to Wikipedia, he played someone named “Joe.” Damned if I know if anyone named Joe was in the movie. Harald Maresch is only notable because Lupe Vélez was pregnant with his baby when she killed herself. This isn’t really an incentive to see this movie.
This movie is literally ugly to look at. There are some scenes where the actors’ features just go dark. I remember during the MST3K episode, Gary’s features just go black mid-conversation and Mike quips, “That darkens my features.” Other times, it looks like the sun has gone supernova.
The music is wildly inappropriate and is mostly sixties stripper music. I cracked up when the camera pans over one of the dancers, after her dead body is found, this sexy sax music starts to play. Yeah, that’s not scary.
Finally, any message that exists is ugly. Mostly, I learned that men are gross and just want to use women and women are also gross and want to be used by men or want to use men. Also, that if a spider bites you then you will become a spider. So I guess that Spiderman is based on real-life.