Black Widow 1987 Movie Scene Theresa Russell as Catharine Petersen seducing her husband Sami Frey as Paul Nuytten

Black Widow [1987]

I wonder what this movie could be about. Perhaps it’s about that infamous species of female spiders? Female spiders which kill their male partners after they’ve finished mating with them. Or this could be a refreshing thriller featuring an intriguing story? Black Widow is a serial killer movie with a feminine touch. It’s not sleazy or in-your-face like many of the eighties erotic thrillers. There will be some nudity here but it’s handled tastefully. We will be following Alex Barnes, a spunky investigative journalist on a trail of a gorgeous but deadly woman who kills her husbands soon after she marries them.

The story is structured in a quite unusual way. Right from the start we know who the killer is and who’s looking for her. We also know how she kills her victims and, as time goes on, we will learn more about both her and her methods. And yet Black Widow manages to maintain this suspenseful atmosphere throughout its short, 90-minute, running time. The pacing is excellent and the story will take to many different cities and even countries. The second half of the movie takes place in a truly magical place, Hawaii. We will get not only beautiful beaches and mansions but also attractive people.

The stars of the show, however, are Debra Winger and Theresa Russell. While Debra was solid as Alex, Theresa fucking crushed it as the Black Widow. Her honest performance here is absolutely amazing and it made the movie so much better. Mostly because it turned it into a character study on top of the classic game of cat and cat. I don’t want to reveal too much but let’s just say things will become intense during the second half of the movie. Still, I wouldn’t go so far as to call Black Widow a neo-noir movie despite this serious and rather dark tone. To combat it, we will get a slew of interesting characters.

Apart from all the husbands, Terry O’Quinn’s (Lost, Stepfather) and James Hong’s (Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner) characters were the best. To get back to our lead duo, both of the women have rather deep voices. Something I find rather sexy. And I think you already know Theresa was my favorite here. Man, I guess I would drink that poison not giving it another thought. Since this is a late nineties movie, another aspect emerges as somewhat fascinating. Just how do you conduct an investigation into a person if there’s no Internet?

There are no mobile phones, databases, or any of that shit. Well, the answer is through good old footwork. Of course, since this is a good eighties thriller you can count on a couple of big twists. Moreover, the Ondine’s Curse is a real medical condition that’s today known as the Central hypoventilation syndrome. Death occurs while you’re sleeping and there are no telltale signs pointing towards CHS. Quite a handy explanation for your rich husband’s death, don’t you think?

You know what, I’ve changed my mind, Black Widow is a neo-noir movie. After all, it features one of the deadliest and most puzzling Femme Fatales I’ve seen in the past few years. Finally, I must recommend you Guilty as Sin, a nineties thriller starring Don Johnson as Homme Fatale. He plays a handsome playboy whose wives unfortunately just keep on dying…

Director: Bob Rafelson

Writer: Ron Bass

Cast: Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Terry O’Quinn, Sami Frey, James Hong, Nicol Williamson

Fun Facts: The production wanted Cher to play the role of Catherine but she turned it down. I think this was the right move on her part as I simply can’t see her in that role. On the other hand, Theresa Russel was the perfect choice for the role.


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