Curse of the Black Widow
A private investigator looks into the mysterious deaths of several men possibly committed by a woman who can turn into a giant spider.
Spoiler Level: Mild
Mark Higbie (Tony Franciosa), a private investigator, is visiting a few friends at a local bar, when a dark-haired lady asks one of the friends for an escort out to her car. When the friend is brutally murdered in the parking lot, Mark gets pulled into the investigation after being hired by his friend’s fiancée, Leigh Lockwood (Donna Mills Knots Landing). Leigh and her sister Laura (Patty Duke) become suspects as more men are brutally murdered all of them having two large holes in their chest and being completely drained of blood. As Mark investigates, he discovers an old legend existing in several cultures about cursed women who become giant spiders during the cycle of the full moon. He is incredulous at first, but as the bodies pile up, he begins to believe and suspects one of the sisters is the creature. Racing against time, as it is the last day of the full moon cycle, Mark attempts to save the women of the Lockwood family. Can Mark arrive in time to save the day or will he succumb to the Curse of the Black Widow? Watch and find out!
Curse of the Black Widow premiered on ABC on September 16, 1977, and was rereleased in 1979 under the name Love Trap. The film was directed by the legendary Dan Curtis, who brought us such great classics as Dark Shadow, The Night Stalker, and Trilogy of Terror. The music was composed by longtime Curtis collaborator, Bob Cobert, and had his signature 70s action vibe. The movie was met with mixed reviews with the negatives commenting on the less than realistic special effects and a meandering script and the positive reviews saying it was “a Wonderfully cheesy TV movie-of-the-week”.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the film, but I do understand the critics’ complaints. The special effects were horrible, which they tried to hide with POV shots and weird camera angles working to a certain extent, but anytime we see the spider movie, it is quite obvious that they did not invest a lot of the budget into animatronics. Tony Franciosa was wonderful as Mark. His facial expressions and vocal inflections added a type of quirky light heatedness to the story with a rye sarcastic sense of humor. Many movies of the week are pilots to potential series, and I wouldn’t have minded a series with Mark Higbie investigating supernatural mysteries, but this was not even a consideration. Although I thought the dialogue was mostly believable, the story did wander a bit and could have used some tightening up, but over all I felt it was engaging and fun to watch film. And as a fan of giant insect monster movies, even the really corny ones, this was right up my alley.
I really enjoyed this film. It was fun and cheesy and I really liked the leading character. On a personal note and totally not confirmed, there are two minor characters that I believe were being insinuated as being gay and that Mark Higbie, not only knew this, but used their attraction to him to his advantage. For a 1977 film, if this was the case, this was very progressive as it was not done in a negative tone, but just matter of fact. This could be wishful thinking on my part though.
Curse of the Black Widow can be found on Amazon Prime and You Tube.
Movie of the Week: Curse of the Black Widow
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 7/107/10
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