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The Black Belly of the Tarantula is a 1971 Italian giallo film directed by Paolo Cavara. It is one of many Italian giallo films to be inspired by Dario Argento's successful debut thriller The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The film was shot on location in Rome, Italy, in 1970. It starred Giancarlo Giannini, Barbara Bouchet, and Barbara Bach. Ennio Morricone did the music score for the film. Though fairly obscure for many years the film has recently made a comeback thanks to the rising fan base for the giallo genre. The film has gained much praise from the horror community, one writer at cited it as the best giallo ever made. Blue Underground Entertainment released the film on DVD in 2006.

The Black Belly of the Tarantula
Film poster
Directed byPaolo Cavara
Produced byMarcello Danon
Written byMarcello Danon
Lucile Laks
StarringGiancarlo Giannini
Claudine Auger
Barbara Bouchet
Rossella Falk
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyMarcello Gatti
Edited byMario Morra
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 12 August 1971 (1971-08-12)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryItaly, France



A mysterious killer is attacking women associated with a blackmail conspiracy. The deranged murderer, wearing surgical gloves, kills his victims by paralyzing them with a needle and then slicing open their bellies with a knife (in the same way tarantulas are killed by the black wasp or spider wasp). The victims are conscious and can feel the pain, but they are unable to move, resist or scream. One victim (Barbara Bouchet) is wearing a yellow nightie when she is killed, an obvious nod to the giallo covers of the lurid Italian murder mysteries on which the films were based. It is up to the reluctant Inspector Tellini (Giancarlo Giannini) to find out who the killer is, before he or his girlfriend become the murderer's next target.




  • P. Bondanella, History of italian cinema, 2009
  • Luther-Smith,Adrian (1999). Blood and Black Lace: The Definitive Guide to Italian Sex and Horror Movies. Stray Cat Publishing Ltd. p. 9

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