Horrors of Spider Island (1960)


I’m way too lenient on these, aren’t I?  Horrors of Spider Island (a.k.a. It’s Hot in Paradise a.k.a. Body in the Web a.k.a. A Corpse Hangs in the Web) really is a piece of shit and it’s fitting that the only company that gave the movie a VHS/DVD release was Something Weird.

According to IMDB:

“First released in the United States in 1962, as an Adults-Only movie titled It’s Hot in Paradise. Three years later, trimmed of its nude scenes, it was re-released in the U.S. as a horror/sci-fi monster film, Horrors of Spider Island.

So really Horrors of Spider Island is just a nudie-cutie flick no different from Monster at Camp Sunshine or The Beast That Killed Women only with one tiny, little problem.  THERE WERE NO FUCKING NUDE SCENES!!!  I don’t know why Something Weird released the film without the nude scenes since that seems to be their raison d’etre; to release shitty, boring nudie flicks whose only saving grace is the nudity!  But they did and what we’re left with is another snoozer that begins promisingly but soon degenerates into a series of boring sub-plots and drama that nobody cares about and make the movie seem interminable in spite of its relatively short length of 76 minutes.

The movie begins in someone’s office with a bunch of hot dancers auditioning to be part of a dance troupe and go to Singapore (or somewhere like that, I forgot) to dance.  Instead their plane crash lands and the ladies and the guy in charge of watching them end up marooned on a tropical island where a giant spider turns people into killer spider people.  Only problem is that barely happens at all.

Again it starts off promising when the ladies walk into a cabin and see a dead man in a spider’s web; an obviously freaky site (or at least it’s supposed to be if I didn’t know it was fake and the spider web was just some rope).  Then the guy who was in charge of the girls goes wandering, gets bit by a spider and turns into an honestly cool looking spider monster.  This looked like it was leading somewhere.

But, unfortunately, when your movie is just an edited down nudie flick, you can only expect the rest of the scenes to be nothing but obnoxious filler and the music to be cabaret/burlesque rather than horror movie music.  And so it goes… the rest of the film involves two sailors who stumble on the island and engage the women with their tomfoolery; one of them is suave and charming and goes after one girl after another while the other guy is just like a normal guy looking for a special gal.  There’s also a bit of sexy cat fighting and some skinny dipping.  But aside from those scenes, the film turned into one of the most uninteresting soap operas until, finally, the spider monster starts killing again, resulting in one other death – and that wasn’t even from the monster, it was from the girl jumping off the cliff trying to escape!

One last point of interest is that, during the scene when the plane takes a dive, the filmmaker or whoever was so lazy and lacking in imagination that he didn’t even try to create the inside of an airplane when showing closeups of the girls screaming.  He could have taken a couple of car seats and put them next to a window and at least tried to make it look like the shot was from inside a plane. Instead he just uses two extreme closeups of the ladies with a black, nothing background.  Truly amazing.

Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)


Pear-shaped girls in leotards running around on a sound stage that’s decorated with fake rocks and with an obviously painted space background and you expect me to not like Cat-Women of the Moon?  Apparently someone thought this concept was so good that it was remade shortly after as Missile to the Moon and to some extent as Queen of Outer Space.  Clearly the film is the product of someone’s fetishistic mind set because otherwise, how can you explain a plot in which a bunch of sex starved humanoid women want to keep a bunch of men captive on their abode even if the men are middle aged and overweight?

What also saves this schlock-fest from turning into a suck-fest is something that many producers, writers and directors seem to have forgotten in the years following the drive in, quickie science fiction film.  You ready?  IT’S SHORT!!!  When your plot is paper thin and the only things holding it together are some mediocre actors and some neat visuals – both the hot women and the neat set designs – it doesn’t hurt that the movie is only 64 minutes long!

It’s also fitting that I watched Cat-Women of the Moon on what I guess was Star Wars day because it shows where my radar is at.  I cannot stand Star Wars and its overly earnest, adventure, science fantasy bullshit but a movie like Cat-Women on the Moon or the other hundred or so science fiction films from the 50s and 60s that I’ve seen will do nicely, thank you!

The movie gets going right away as we see a space crew consisting of four nondescript, middle aged male astronauts and their cute as heck female partner Helen (b movie starlet Marie Windsor) sitting in a neat looking, rocket ship control room, blasting off to the moon for some reason which I forgot.  When they get there, they’re confronted with not one but TWO spider puppets that hang from the ceiling on strings!  After a bit of wandering around the sound stage, they encounter a temple or palace with an underground civilization of said leotard wearing nymphos and that pretty much covers it.

Oh there’s some romance, some intrigue and even some fighting amongst a couple of the male members of the crew because this was the 50s and men fought over women but otherwise, there really isn’t all that much else to say about Cat-Women of the Moon except some of the main “cat-women” have names like “Alpha” and “Beta” and one of the crew members shoots a couple of them dead with his gun.  That’s right, his gun, which he took with him to outer space “just in case.”

The Flesh and Blood Show (1972)

More like The Bland and Boring Show if you ask me!  The Sci-Fi channel has a rule for their made for TV movies that, regardless of what happens, the monster has to be shown on the screen every eight minutes.  While I think this is limiting for the director’s artistic vision, especially if the director wants to build up some sort of suspense, I can see the logic to it.  Like, if a rule like that were applied to The Flesh and Blood Show, it might not have been such a snoozer.

Indeed both the salacious poster and trailer claim that the movie will offer up some tasty goodies in the form of naked nubile actresses and lots of gore.  Well it certainly has one of those things.  But, if director Peter Walker was intending to just make a piece of Eurotrash ertoica, he could have been a bit more up front about it.

Instead, we get so much promise and so little payoff, it’s a wonder why the director bothered with the film in the first place.  Did he really just want an excuse to film naked flesh?  The very opening scene is two ladies (lesbians?) sleeping in bed, one getting up completely naked (because women with big boobs forget to put on clothes) to check the door and finds a man who has been STABBED IN THE STOMACH… only he wasn’t actually stabbed and was just playing a prank.  By the way the woman is still naked during all of this.

Apparently this movie has a plot; something about a group of actors and actresses going to an old theater to rehearse a play called (you guessed it) The Flesh and Blood Show.  During the course of their rehearsals, some mad man picks off one actor and/or actress after another.  Or rather that is what is supposed to happen.  Instead we get long, drawn out dialogue sequences, a lot of people hanging in various locales (dining room of some house, out on the pier where the theater is, etc.) talking to each other about god knows what.  Occasionally a new actor/character will be introduced into the story and not add or take anything away.  You would think the more characters, the more kills but this movie is supposedly a “thriller” rather than a “slasher” and thrillers are the ones that are supposed to build up the suspense and not just offer up a bunch of violent kills facilitated by stupid characters who make bad decisions (makes jerk off motion with hand).

I gave the movie two iron crosses so there must be a reason other than the hot women who are often disrobed.  The first of those reasons is that, in spite nearly nothing happening, the movie takes place in an old grand guignol style theater with some old torture props lying around and thus kinda looks cool and the other reason is that one of the victims gets her head put on a plaque within the first 20 minutes.  The only problem is that kind of stuff doesn’t keep happening.  Another woman gets stabbed but, by that time, I stopped caring.

Also, I have absolutely no desire to recall any of the actual actors since their acting can be described as serviceable at best.  Even the old man charcter is just, ya know, meh.  Typically I let others crow about the whole “male gaze” concept but, in this case, I can’t help but think there were some noticeably gratuitous shots of some of these ladies such as this:


and this:


In that second one, she was sleeping like that in the theater.  Why?  I dunno, maybe they’re hippie free spirits or something.  Or maybe Peter Walker wanted to a chance to frame this shot and do as many takes as possible.  Anyway, unless you like what I described above, I’d highly suggest skipping this movie.