Horrors of Spider Island (1960)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Natural Horror, Sexploitation  |   Release Date - Apr 16, 1960 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - Germany   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Paul Gaita

A plane crash strands eight showgirls and their manager Gary (Alex D'Arcy of The Prisoner of Zenda, 1937) on a seemingly deserted tropical island. Despite their discovery of a corpse hanging in an oversized spider's web, the ladies blithely busy themselves with bouts of sunbathing and skinny-dipping, while Gary traverses the island. His exploration earns him a bite from an enormous spider, which transforms into a slavering creature with a newfound appetite for dancers. While the primary purpose of this German-made oddity is to show scantily clad women imperiled by a decidedly male beast, it's also attractively photographed, and several scenes (most notably, Gary's first post-bite attack, and his final flight through a swamp) deliver a frisson not usually found in nudie-cutie/monster movie hybrids (e.g., House on Bare Mountain, 1962). Pacemaker Pictures distributed the film in the United States, first as an adults-only feature under the title It's Hot in Paradise, and later, in a slightly "cooler" print under the Spider Island moniker, which played as part of a double bill with 1959's The Fiendish Ghouls (aka Mania). Image Entertainment and Something Weird Video's DVD is the uncut Paradise version, and includes a trio of spider-themed stripper/cheesecake shorts, as well as an eye-popping gallery of exploitation poster art.