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Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula
Eight Legs to Love You

USA/Spain 1998
produced by
Kevin Collins, Peter Evanko, Hugh Gallagher, Jess Franco for one shot Productions
directed by Jess Franco
starring Lina Romay, Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley, Amber Newman, Analía Ivars, Robert King, Peter Temboury, Mavi Tienda, Rachel Sheppard, George Martinez
written by Jess Franco, music by Jess Franco, Daniel J. White, special effects by Joaquin Phre, digital effects by Santiano Aumesquet, Juan Jose Villar

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Someone is killing rich people around town, and Sheriff Marga (Michelle Bauer) - whose uniform seems to consist of nothing more than a cowboy hat, boots, a g-string and a leather jacket she leaves pen most of the time to show everyone whe wears nothing underneath - wants to find out who, so she questions Mari-Cookie (Lina Romay), who acts way too perfect as the innocent and utterly dull housewife to not have an evil second life, but Marga can't get a word out of her. Of course though, Marga is absolutely right, Mari-Cookie has an alter ego, punk performance artist Tarantula, who has made it her habit to lure rich patrons of her shows (which include striptease and on-stage sex) to her home where she keeps them prisoners in her spider web.

Marga gets a lead on Tarantula from Queen Vicious (Analía Ivars), whom she questions during one of her sex shows ("Moan once for yes and twice for no !" - Moan - "Someone is kidnapping rich people, is it you ?" - Moan, moan - "Are you sure ?") and teams up with Leona Tarantino (Mavi Tienda) to catch Tarantula red-handed, and Leona chooses young Amy (Amber Newman) as her bait for Tarantula, who's in turn the daughter of Marga's uptight friend Terry (Linnea Quigley) and the mistress of Mari-Cookie's uptight husband Martin (Robert King).

Eventually, Marga, Terry, Leona and Martin all arrive at Tarantula's place where she is busy having sex with Amy (with whom she also had sex in her stageshow), but instead of putting an end to her evil shenanigans, the women now all turn on Martin, make him Tarantula's prisoner as well, and decide to all become Tarantula's accomplices, with Sheriff Marga seeing to it that the law stays off their trail.

 

No doubt about it, Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula is what you would call a bad movie: The plot is as feeble as it is stupid, most of the scenes come up with at times outrageous excuses to show naked female flesh, most of the actresses (with the notable exception of young Amber Newman) look way past their prime, and in the nude even more so, and the special effects are terribly unconvincing.

And for exactly those reasons, Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula is nothing short of GREAT. Because you know, the film isn't meant to be taken seriously, it is a comedy, a parody of bad movie clichés (many of which Jess Franco himself has applied in his earlier films). Plus, it is so silly (and intentionally so) you have got to love it. Take Michelle Bauer's sheriff-outfit for example ! Take the stupid dialogue ! Take the nonsense storyline ! And by God, take the many excuses Jess Franco comes up with to show his actresses naked !!! It's just so over the top and crazy it's ... oh, i don't know, it's simply wow ! And then there's of course Amber newman who has never looked hotter than in her three Jess Franco films (even if Franco himself was not too fond of her), and a really great score, blending easy listening, jazzy tunes and contemporary electronica into a fascinating whole.

Recommended - if only to those still childish enough to understand this (intentionally) stupid film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD