Monday, August 16, 2010

Klaus Know Me?: Web of the Spider

Antonio Marghetti is a name that should be more famous than it is.  Known more in the States as Anthony Dawson, the director made over 50 films in his forty-plus year career.  Highlights include Yor- The Hunter From The Future, Cannibal Apocalypse, Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye and Castle of Blood.  The latter is important to speak for today's review.  Blood was made in 1964 and features a really, ingenious premise.  Famous author Edgar Allen Poe and a friend meet up with a man and make a bet with him: spend a night in this haunted house and you'll win some money.  Despite having it's only star be Barbara Steele (nothing to scoff at, mind you), the film is an amazing triumph in Gothic sensibilities.  Seriously, check it out- you'll love it.  For some reason, Antonio decided to remake his own movie a mere seven years later.  Why?  All we can figure is that Blood was made in lovely, monochromatic black & white and he wanted to make a color version.  Sure- why not?!?  There were some changes, however.  A new star was brought in- Tenebre's Anthony Franciosa- for the lead, Steele was out and an international star was brought in to play Poe.  Obviously, given the title of this segment, you can guess who- Klaus Kinski.  Yes, a German actor is playing an American writer in an Italian film.  Just wow.  Will his presence make this film a winner?  Get out your 1,000,000 candles for my review of...

Okay, truth time: this is almost the exact same movie.  They put in a new introductory sequence with Kinski wandering angrily around a room, but, otherwise, it's the same.  After ten minutes, Klaus and his non-mustache are gone from the film.  What follows is a dull exercise in repetition that even a good actor can't save- sorry Franciosa.  Klaus returns in the ending for the same, ironic finale to the film.  It has a low-resolution, pan-and-scan VHS print to boot.  Feh.

Man, this movie really sucks.  It's a shame too, since Castle of Blood is so great!  Everything about the movie is just lost in this pointless remake.  For example, a lot of the tone has to do with the great, moody atmosphere set in the dark, dreary castle.  In this movie, it's gaudy Technicolor that makes everything visible at all times.  This is especially noticeable in re-used dialogue referring to 'objects viewable by candlelight.'  News Flash: it's visible from space!  The acting is not all that bad, but, to be fair, this thing is dubbed.  Is Blue Underground too busy to get us a good quality, un-dubbed version?  Does Anchor Bay just have too many re-releases of The Evil Dead on its plate to get this movie released right?  Given the cast, the production quality and the director, this should be great.  Unfortunately, revisionist thinking, a bad transfer and poor pacing killed this experience for me.  I wanted to like you- I really did.  Much like free bread given to make up for late service, you're just too little too late.

Up next, Forgotten Sequels brings you a movie that comes all the way from Mars.  Can a movie involving sex, aliens and exploding heads be bad?  Stay tuned...

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