This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to ...
See full summary »
Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero talked into escorting a precious religious artifact to Kyoto, Japan. A sect of Christian swordsmen are lying in wait to steal the ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero involved when as an act of vengeance a band of samurai whose master was unceremoniously assassinated by agents of the clan, when he ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the red-haired swordsman on his way to the city of Edo when he comes across the scene of a woman in the midst of a knife fight with a man. When... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series sees the orphan swordsman wander into a town and stumble upon the opportunity to conduct righteous deeds. With the smaller acts of kindness aside ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the quite reluctant hero refuse to come to the assistance of a Japanese Christian in an age of both proselytizing and persecution, but later ... See full summary »
Just when you think Kyoshiro's life can't get any stranger, someone starts running around raping and murdering, and leaving notes proudly proclaiming that he did it. Tracking down the real ... See full summary »
Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »
This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series finds the anti-hero in an area where the locals are oppressed, suppressed and held against their wills. Part of the coercive forces trace back to the lord of the area and for the swordsman to rise, resist and fight he first has to wade his way through a number of traps and assassins, except luckily a couple of them are female and attractive and hence desirable in bed.Written by
"A gift to celebrate your departure from this world"
"I will show you my Full Moon cut as a gift to celebrate your departure from this world," so mocks Kyoshiro Nemuri to one villain at the end of In the Spider's Lair, the eleventh of the Sleepy Eyes of Death films.
This entry (also known as The Human Tarantula) was picked as the best in the series (and one of the ten best martial arts movies) by the writers of the 1985 book Martial Arts Movies, Richard Meyers, Amy Harlib, and Bill and Karen Palmer. They put it this way: "A nihilistic samurai cuts down all in his path in an attempt to understand his love/hate relationship with Christianity."
While I prefer Sword of Seduction (#4), Hell Is a Woman (#10), and maybe A Trail of Traps (#9) as well, In the Spider's Web has much to recommend it. First, the evil siblings make for good villains. These illegitimate children of the shogun were supposedly executed, but in fact have been shipped off to the country due to their sadistic behavior and incestuous longing. However, not liking the slow pace of the countryside, the two have found a new hobby. They kidnap the local youths and kill them for fun. The brother likes to practice his archery on the peasants. The sister has migraines which she eases by watching others die.
In addition to the villains, In the Spider's Lair features a great deal of action. This entry probably has the highest body count since Sword of Satan (#6). Third, the film stands as one of the most downbeat of the series. Often in the Sleepy Eyes of Death films there is a silver lining, not so here. Fourth, the film has an especially memorable music score. Some of the other entries have featured good music as well, but I particularly liked the score for this film. Finally, the swirling color over the opening credit makes for a pleasing beginning (even if the viewer has no idea what it is supposed to mean).
A few quibbles, the evil spawn of the shogun plot has been done by the series at least twice before. Also, while there is a lot of swordplay, none of the fights have that wow quality to make any one of them stand out.
These are minor complaints for what is one of the best in the series. A little over twenty years ago, I saw this film without subtitles. Understanding the plot definitely improves the viewing experience.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this