CURSE OF THE BLACK WIDOW (1977)
Article 4552 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Dan Curtis
Featuring Anthony Franciosa, Donna Mills, Patty Duke
What it is: Monster on the loose
A private investigator is called in on a series of murders in which the symptoms indicate attack by a giant spider. Could this be part of an ancient curse that causes women to turn into giant spiders?
There’s at least one thing I can feel confident about when I see Dan Curtis’s name in the credits, and that’s that we are going to end up with an authentic monster rather than just someone committing murders and making it look like a monster did it. This has the feel of an extended episode of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” with a few modifications to accommodate a different set of characters. I don’t mind that in the least; for the most part, the movie is lively and entertaining, and there’s quite a few familiar names in the cast, such as June Lockhart, Sid Caesar, Vic Morrow and (for the second day in a row) Jeff Corey. The movie only starts to lose steam in the final act, just about the time it really should be taking off. Nevertheless, I rather enjoyed it overall, and I’m a little surprised that it doesn’t appear to have been intended as pilot for a new TV series; certainly, the final twist in this one would have been a bit different if it had been one.