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Spider Baby (1967)

The Merrye children of Spider Baby don’t seem like they would have much to be merry about. The poor kids suffer from a rare neurological disorder particular to their bloodline. As a narrator helpfully tells us in the opening, at around the age of 10 or so Merrye family members regress to a “pre-human condition […]

Earth vs. the Spider (2001)

Part of the Creature Features pentalogy of in-name-only remakes of AIP classics — in this case, Bert I. Gordon’s 1958 tarantula-on-the-loose tale — Earth vs. the Spider stars the bland Devon Gummersall (Independence Day) as comic-obsessed geek Quentin Kemmer, a security guard at a genetics lab wherein experiments are conducted on arachnids. In broad daylight, […]

Big Ass Spider! (2013)

Big Ass Spider! needs a lesson in basic punctuation. Its title includes an exclamation point that is not needed, yet excludes the hyphen that is. After all, this is a movie about a big-ass spider, not an ass spider that also is big. (I do not know what an ass spider is. Oh, if only […]

Web of the Spider (1971)

Bachelor journalist Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosa, Tenebre) wanders into a bar late at night where that nutball Edgar Allan Poe (played by nutball Klaus Kinski, 1979’s Nosferatu) is holding the tavern spellbound with his tales of mystery and horror. Some dude mentions to Foster that no one has survived a night in a neighboring haunted […]

Spiders 3D (2013)

It’s appropriate that Spiders‘ third act hinges on a trip to a toy store, because what is its sector of science fiction but a big game of pretend? Directed by The Gate‘s Tibor Takács, Spiders proves as harmless and hard-hitting as a Nerf football. A Soviet space station containing experimental arachnids crashes into the New […]

The Spider Woman (1944)

As the seventh in the utterly splendid, 14-film series that paired Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, 1944’s The Spider Woman is one of the most purely entertaining. It’s also as close as the franchise got to adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” story — […]

Spiderbabe (2003)

In the Spider-Man spoof Spiderbabe, Misty Mundae plays Patricia Porker, a hot female nerd who is bitten by her science teacher’s giant arachnid. At first, she just feels sick, but then a car comes along and — whoosh! — she is crawling on the walls of a building. Spider-Man enthusiasts will recall this scene from […]

Spiders (2000)

Stick a spider in a movie, and I’ll see it. While this movie’s title (Spiders, duh) promises more than one arachnid, it really only features one … but the damn thing grows to be about 30 feet tall, so who’s complaining? Here, a shuttle mission goes awry when the spider on board for experimental purposes […]

The Spider Labyrinth (1988)

Professor Alan Whitmore doesn’t like spiders. We know this because through the entirety of Italy’s The Spider Labyrinth, first-time director Gianfranco Giagni keeps flashing back to a childhood incident in which Whitmore (a mamby-pamby Roland Wybenga) was locked in a closet with one big mofo of a creepy crawler. What’s this have to do with […]

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

When Peter Jackson, flush with post-Lord of the Rings clout, finally got to birth his pet project in 2005 with his King Kong remake, the result was a trifecta of well-deserved technical Oscars … and 187 punishing, interminable minutes of a mess, suggesting a director’s self-indulgence left unchecked. Now, the big ape returns — Kong, […]

Arachnid (2001)

On a medical expedition to a remote and seemingly uninhabited South American island, a team of researchers and their guides finds itself stranded when the plane loses power and crashes. That’s the least of the travelers’ troubles, as they’re soon deluged by giant, acid-spitting spiders — yes, that’s spiders, plural, despite Arachnid‘s singular title — […]

Reading Material: Mars in the Movies: A History

With movies, as with potential mates, everyone has a type toward which he or she instinctively gravitates. For me, it’s heists or spiders. For Thomas Kent Miller, it’s that angry red planet — a lifelong fascination that culminates in the publication of the book Mars in the Movies: A History. Released by McFarland & Company, […]

Reading Material: Short Ends 1/6/17

Now adults, the children of the 1980s clearly are nostalgic, judging from this past fall’s glut of books on that era’s teen movie. Hadley Freeman’s Life Moves Pretty Fast came first, followed closely by Kevin Smokler’s travel-leaning Brat Pack America. Now, journalist Jason Diamond joins the fray with Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I […]

Mutant (1984)

En route toward some much-needed R&R, the oil-and-vinegar brothers Josh (Wings Hauser, Vice Squad) and Mike (Lee Montgomery, Burnt Offerings) run afoul of a truckful of rednecks on the open road. The encounter ends with the sibs’ car in a ditch, effectively stranding the boys in this tiny town of Confederate flags, Royal Crown Cola […]

Reading Material: Monstrous Nature: Environment and Horror on the Big Screen

It took one childhood viewing of William Shatner taking on a small town’s Kingdom of the Spiders to make me an instant, lifelong fan of the horror subgenre of animal-attack films. Widening the scope to nature overall fighting back against an unappreciative and oblivious populace, Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann explore how these […]