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Horrors of Spider Island

original title: Toter hing im Netz, Ein

Comparison:

  • US Version
  • Uncut
Release: Jan 27, 2021 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

A trash product that can hardly be beaten

After a plane crash, manager Gary Webster is stranded on a deserted island with a group of models, even though they were booked for a dance revue in Singapore. While exploring, the group finds a small hut containing the body of a man in a spider web. A short time later, Gary himself is bitten by an unusually large spider and mutates into a horrible monster that targets the girls. The women are helped by two daredevils, Joe and Robby, who have landed on the island in a small boat and can't believe their luck being surrounded by so many pretty women. The models are in a frenzy to win the favor of the dapper Robby, which leads to some quarrels. But when the monster strikes again, team spirit is called for.

After The Head, Horrors of Spider Island is the second horror film produced by Rapid-Film. The daring mixture of sexually revealing young women who have to deal with a spider monster is quite unusual for a German production and is more reminiscent of US exploitation cinema, which quite obviously served as a blueprint. Thus, the now B-movie specialized US actor Alexander D'Arcy got the lead role, while the roles of the models were filled by German actresses who were unknown at the time. Only Barbara Valentin (Fear Eats the Soul) and Dorothee Parker (The Black Panther of Ratana) appeared again in notable productions in the following years. The dashing Robby is played by German dubbing legend Rainer Brandt.

The film itself is splendid trash, which shuttles back and forth between monster horror and sexy imagery again and again, sometimes disregarding logic. The audience is just as puzzled as to why the titular dead man in the web does not mutate into a spider monster as the models who, in the face of the threat, decide to have a party first. At the time, Catholic film critics called it a trash product, but the film is an exceptional early product of German exploitation cinema. The sometimes slow pace and some lengths should be forgiven.

Uncut and uncensored version released on US Blu-ray

Basically, there are two different cuts of the film, each with alternative footage. While one version contains various nude scenes, mainly of Eva Schauland as Nelly, these were replaced in the other version by softer footage in which the women wear bikinis. It seems that the uncensored version was sold to the US, but there it was cleaned up and the too obvious nude scenes had to go. For a long time, only this cut version was available, which slipped into the public domain sector and was released on various DVDs.

On the US Blu-ray by Severin, two versions are included. One is the cut US version and the other is the uncut and uncensored German version. The cover mentions that Severin had access to a Dusseldorf dupe negative, but it seems like at least an additional French master was used, as the end of the film has "Fin" superimposed on it. Some of the extended scenes are in somewhat poorer picture quality. We suspect they had an HD scan of the US version and reconstructed the missing scenes from the best possible source. Severin's release is noteworthy as you can finally see the completely uncut and uncensored version of the film. Anyone interested in the film can grab this one without hesitation.

Runtimes:

US version: 77:01 min.
German version: 84:07 min.

Comparison between the shortened US version and the uncut German version. Both are included on the US Blu-ray by Severin.

[00:00:00][00:00:00]

The US version starts with a black screen, then the English titles follow.



The German version begins with a note board.



The German opening credits follow.



US: 1:49 min
GER: 1:48 min.


[00:06:26][00:06:25]

Ballet dancer Caroline's demonstration for Webster is significantly longer.



GER: 44 sec.


[00:07:05][00:07:48]

After Caroline is escorted outside, Cat is led into the room. She greets Webster and Georgia. Georgia mentions that she has lost weight and should not be getting any fatter now, while Cat starts unbuttoning her blouse. Georgia tells her to wait outside for now.



After Cat leaves, the US resumes.

GER: 17 secs.


[00:18:30][00:19:30]

After the models are stranded, the black screen is longer in the US version.



US: 1 sec.


[00:19:23][00:20:22]

As the models run to the water, Webster is shown picking up his shirt from the ground. He climbs onto a rock and calls out to the models.



GER: 18 sec.


[00:20:23][00:21:40]

Webster and the women walk toward the jungle. Georgia says she thinks it's like paradise here. Webster agrees with her and thinks they are safe here. He pauses for a moment, seeming to have heard something. The other women have not heard anything. Webster leads the way and climbs up a small hill with the others.



GER: 1:26 min


[00:22:44][00:25:26]

The German version cuts to the dead man in the net one more time. Webster says that he has to get him down from there. He can't do it with his hands and looks for a tool. He cuts through the ropes with a machete.



Outside the hut, the women can be seen. One wants to go in and get her bag, but is held back. The camera pans to the tree on which a large spider is sitting.



GER: 41 sec.


[00:23:10][00:26:33]

Blackwood is awakened by a phone call. He is told that the plane has been found, but there is still no sign of his squad. He reacts upset when he learns that the search operation has been called off. Blackwood wants to do his utmost to ensure that the search operation continues.



GER: 52 sec.


[00:24:40][00:28:54]

Before Webster counts the supplies, the black screen is longer in the German version.



GER: 1 sec.


[00:38:18][00:42:32]

Nelly rips Babs' blouse open as they tussle with each other.



GER: 7 secs.


[00:56:08][01:00:29]

The camera continues up to Nelly dancing for Robin.



GER: 8 secs.


[00:56:12][01:00:41]

Robin comes up to Nelly to dance with her, but she indicates that he should lie down on the floor. Nelly continues her dance.



GER: 1:49 min


[00:56:52][01:03:10]

While Robin is shown, the camera cuts to Nelly dancing for him.



GER: 9 sec.


[00:57:14][01:03:41]

Nelly plays with her flower necklace a bit while Robin is making out.



GER: 9 secs.


[00:57:22][01:03:58]

Another brief cut to Nelly dancing.



GER: 10 secs.


[00:57:44][01:04:30]

After Ann is kissed by Joe, the camera cuts back to Nelly.



GER: 7 secs.


[00:58:09][01:05:02]

Robin and Nelly dance together for a longer time.



GER: 14 secs.


[01:16:50][01:23:56]

In the US, the boat is shown a bit longer, with "The End" faded in. In the German version, you see a "Fin" instead.



No time difference