Kiss Of The Tarantula - Kiss Of The Tarantula( Blu Ray & DVD) [VCI Entertainment/MVD Visual - 2019]Part bleak regional gothic horror, part low-key creepy Crawly fun, & part unhinged teen movie Kiss Of The Tarantula appeared in the mid-1970ís- then seemingly disappearing into obscurity. Here on VCI Entertainment/ MVD Visual is duo format Blu Ray/ DVD release of the film- offering up a new 2k scan, and a commentary track from the always excellent cult film loving duo David Del Valle & David Decoteau.
Released in 1975 Kiss Of The Tarantula was the second feature-length film from Chris Munger- who before this directed in 1970 The Year of the Communes- a fifty-minute documentary about urban and rural communes in Northern California and Southern Oregon, and forgotten blaxploitation film 1974ís Black Starlet. So seemingly he was hunting for his niche, and while at times Kiss Of The Tarantula has some pacing issue- itís not half bad for moody 70ís horror, with fairly fleeting arachnid action.
The film's plot revolves around teen Suzanna- who lives in mortuary/ funeral home with her father & overbearing mother. From been a young child she was fascinated by spiders- her mother hated this, but her father supported her love for her eight-legged friends- so sheís allowed to keep Tarantulas in the properties basement. The film sees Suzanna taking vengeance on various people who have done her wrong- sometimes with the use of her furry & crawling friends, and some times not. Coming into the story we have a creepy uncle, a group of obnoxious teen boys, and fair few coffins.
The films the main setting is great- a decidedly rundown mortuary/ funeral home in a rural & wooded area, so we get a great feeling of 1970ís forlornness- both in the setting, and its surrounding land which is often bathed in autumnal light. The soundtrack brings together creepy nursery rhymes melodies, with brooding & swirling 70ís synth scaping. The cast is largely unknown- but Susan Bradley, as the haunted-to- subtle unhinged lead is good. As is Ernesto Macias, as me creepy, touchy & feely uncle.
As mentioned early, & considering the ĎTarantulaí in the title- there is really only one prolonged interaction with the spiders. And this comes in a drive-in scene when Suzanna releases the critters into a car of teens- itís an effective enough encounter, though it does take itís time for the panic to kick in, but I guess thatís the downside, such slow-moving killers. On whole, Iíd say Kiss Of The Tarantula is an enjoyable enough slice of region gothic American horror- with fleeting spider action, and if you go into with that in mind & enjoy downbeat 70ís vibe, I reckon youíll get a kick out of this.
Moving onto to talk about this new duel release- we get a well balanced restored & remastered print from the original 35mm negative. The films not really very bloody, so itís the 70ís browns & the more forlorn colour pallet that gets the most from the new print. We get another great commentary track from B movie fans & cult film experts David Del Valle & David Decoteau- this sees the pair discussing the producers, who had a good perigee in B movies, the crew & cast. Going onto talk about the films production, films that influenced it's making, other similar spider based films, some of the more unsavoury plot points, what phobias they have, and more- itís a really chatty & enjoyable track- these pair always do a great job, even on lesser films. The other extra is an original trailer.
While Kiss of the Tarantula may not be most original of films, and clearly there are pacing issues- itís a well enough made example of 1970ís regional horror- with a most effective key setting, an often rewardingly bleak tone, and an interesting enough blend of different horror sub-genres.