Gorgeous sets, gorgeous cinematography, and gorgeous leading ladies — what more can one want? Oh, and Richard Burton somehow both hammy and disinterested at the same time. Add a playful Ennio Morricone score, and I don't see why this one has fallen by the wayside. Perhaps people don't like dark comedy with their Eurohorror.
I had vague memories of watching this when it first aired. This and Dan Curtis' "Dracula" with Jack Palance were two of the three scariest movies of my youth. (The two-part "Salem's Lot" was the third.) TV movies couldn't touch theatrical films when it came to gore and sex, but that didn't stop them from being genuinely frightening.
I regret to report, however, that while Dan Curtis' "Dracula" and "Salem's Lot" hold up, "Curse of the Black Widow" doesn't. It…
I imagine this is the sort of movie Lamberto Bava might make with a Hollywood budget and a script with more twists than, say, "demons kill everyone in a movie theater." I've seen "Malignant" compared to giallos, but apart from a few little nods to films like Dario Agento's "Opera" and a conspicuous "black glove" scene, it's much more like the grotesque supernatural movies coming out of Italy in the '80s, except more clever and coherent, borrowing one plot twist from an American movie I can't name without giving it away. I saw it coming, but I was smiling the entire time.
I'm glad I saved this one for last, because it is definitely the standout of the four films in Panik House's "Pinky Violence Collection," featuring some of Noribumi Suzuki's most assured direction and just about the perfect mix of exploitation sleaze and social commentary. Reiko Ike gets a supporting role here and doesn't show up until midway through the proceedings, making this a true vehicle for her frequent co-star Miki Sugimoto.