Friday, October 22, 2021

The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946) Kino Studio Classics Blu Ray Review

The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946) Kino Studio Classics 11/2/2021

Directed By: Arthur Lubin 

Starring: Gale Sondergarrd, Rondo Hatton, Brenda Joyce, Kirby Grant

Disclaimer: Kino Studio Classics has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

More Reviews:
Vincent Price in Tomb of Ligeia  HERE
Devil and the Deep HERE 
Vera Cruz HERE

Before I dive into this review (and boy, oh boy, is this a wild film) I think some context is in order. The Spider Woman (1943) is the fifth Universal Sherlock Holmes film. Though, Spider Woman Strikes Back is a in-name-only sequel. A young woman take a job as a companion to a pretty but odd blind woman named Zenobia Dollard (Gale  Sondergarrd). Meanwhile, the townsfolks crops are being destroyed in this '40s B-Universal programmer.  Yeah...Spider Woman Strikes Back is a pretty strange movie. Not only is it weird to have a unrelated sequel (that has nothing to do with Holmes) but the movie has a uncanny valley narrative that involves blood drinking plants. 

     The film tries to be scary but frankly it isn't. This rather bland Universal thriller is only noteworthy for the plots wonderfully batty scheme and of course the legendary Rondo Hatton. Hatton lived to be only 51 years old but made a lasting impact on Universal horror. The movie really holds back on the frights and doesn't even lean into its own wonderful bizarre premise. As it stands, the movie for all its muddling and lackluster story is mildly enjoyable in a cheesy spook-programmer. 

Picture: I am happy to report that The Spider Woman Strikes Back is really nice looking! The overall image has a nice level of brightness and clarity. The black-and-white contrast is balanced quite nicely and it showcases the decent re-used Universal sets and locales. The film does have artifacts and noise but it doesn't look bad especially considering this isn't even a 2k scan. Not perfect but really a nice looking presentation in my opinion. 

Sound: The Spider Woman Strikes Back has a DTS 2.0 track. Dialogue, sound design and score comes through quite nicely. No unwanted noise or crackling that I could detect. 

Extras: The Spider Woman Strikes Back has a commentary track by Tom Weaver and David Schecter.  

Mistress of Menace and Murder: The Making of The Spider Woman Strikes Back (10mins) This Bollyhoo produced featurette is a lot of fun and includes great interviews with C. Courtney Joyner, Bob Burns, Fred Olsen Ray, Rick Baker etc. 

Also includes a serial of trailers (including one for Spider Woman Strikes Back).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Mike, for the kind words and an honest look at one of Universal's last, and lesser, horror efforts as the horror boom was running out of studio steam.