Horrors of Spider Island / Body in the Web
Here’s another IMDb Bottom 100 entry with a whole lot of alternate titles. Most commonly called “Horrors of Spider Island”, it also shows up under anglicized versions of the original German title (“Body in the Web” usually). The movie was re-released as “It’s Hot in Paradise” in an attempt to capitalize on a different marketing approach, but I have rarely seen it labeled under that title in the secondary market nowadays.
The plot of “Horrors of Spider Island” is pretty straight-forward: a plane full of dancers, accompanied by their manager, crashes into the ocean en rout to an overseas gig. All of the survivors wash up on an uninhabited island, which they learn contains a giant spider. The manager is ultimately bitten by the spider, after which he turns into a sort of were-spider-creature and starts hunting down the other survivors.
Once again, the basic plot-points here could make for a pretty decent movie. I would rather have seen the spider as the primary monster than a poorly designed man-spider, but in general the setting and set-up work for a monster movie. Unfortunately, the potential is absolutely squandered.
As mentioned, the monster design is less than inspiring to say the least. The movie is kept pretty dark to cover up the shoddy work, but there a few instances where it really stands out in a bad way. Particularly, the monster’s death is a moment where it appears prominently on screen. Speaking of which, the monster dies by wandering into quicksand and drowning, which is one of the worst anticlimaxes I’ve seen so far among the IMDb Bottom 100.
I’m not sure if the blame should lie more with the writing, the acting, or on equal shares of both, but absolutely none of the characters in this movie are interesting, and most of them are utterly indistinguishable. Part of this is just due to the cast being far too large and filled with too many similar characters (all of the dancers), but there were certainly no compelling personality traits or performances to make any of them stand out either. The movie tries to balance out the horror with some light-hearted romance, but none of the characters are strong enough for it to work, so those segments ultimately just drag the whole movie to a screeching halt.
This movie strangely reminded me of a very unrelated fellow IMDb Bottom 100 feature: “Miss Castaway and the Island Girls”. Despite the films being from different eras and made in different genres, there are some really distinct similarities. “Miss Castaway” features a group of models who are stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash, only to discover that there is a monster inhabitant that starts to pick them off. “Miss Castaway” came by that plot by combining “Miss Congeniality”, “Castaway”, and “Jurassic Park”, so I am pretty sure it is pure coincidence that the plots have so many similarities. Still, it was an unexpected find that was interesting to note.
There aren’t enough genuinely enjoyable moments in “Horrors of Spider Island” for me to recommend it, but it does have a pretty solid episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is considered a classic B-movie, and it isn’t quite a painful watch, so I wouldn’t specifically advise against watching it either.
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