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Killer Spider Movies

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Yeah they're essential to the ecosystem and all but they're still creepy little buggers.

While organizing my DVD collection I came across 8 Legged Freaks. What a disappointment that was! I was so excited for this movie I was almost marking off days on the calendar. Finding out more about it is what led me here to Creature Corner.

It had a multitude of problems, mainly its inability to decide what it wanted to be. But the big one to my mind was that they failed to capture the essence of what makes a spider such a spooky critter. The spiders in ELF could have been anything from aliens to lizard things whatever. They were used as generic CGI monsters not the lurking crawling creepy creature of menace.

Thinking about it more I wondered what movies did capture the essence of spiders and I had a tough time. Arachaphobia sort of did. By the very end, Kingdom of the Spiders did (although it's been a long long time since I saw it on a black and white tv-yes, a black and white tv! I remained under the impression that a massive snowfall had buried the town for years).

TV has done a better job with spiders I think. The new (I guess now middle) Twilight Zone adapted Bradburys The Elevator well, and either Monsters or Tales from the Darkside had an episode where a couple checks into a hotel room with an uninvited eight legged guest waiting for them. NightGallery had a good spider episode too as I recall.

So, for the killer spider aficionado, what else should I look for?
post #2 of 38
I completely disagree on Eight Legged Freaks. I loved it, and thought it captured that 50's monster movie vibe very well. The only thing I didn't like was that they tried to give the spiders voices, when their movements let you know everything they were thinking.

How can you leave out Arachnophobia!?! That movie was classic. Good job with the spiders because they kept them small, which is creepier because you never know where they hell they're gonna be.

The scariest thing with a spider I've seen in years has to be in Return of the King (which according to Fangoria is a horror movie!). The part when Frodo is oblivious to the giant spider positioned above him had the whole theater squirming in our seats. Great stuff!
post #3 of 38
Kingdom of Spiders d00t!!!!
post #4 of 38
I loved 8LF, but I have to agree that it didn't take itself seriously enough. I'm thinking of the cat imprints particularly. It was creepy and the scene of the spider coming up from behind the chair and through the window had me peeping through my fingers.

Shelob was masterful. I look forward to PJ's take on the spider in the valley of Kong.

KotS is good in my memory.

There does need to be another arachnid-centric movie soon. Maybe if Kong takes off that will bring giant monsters back to the fore. But spiders don't have to be giant. An infestation can be creepy enough. I would like to see a truly giant Mothra-sized arachnid. A web that went from skyscraper to skyscraper (a la the first Spidey teaser) would be nice to see.

Okay I'm through creeping myself out.
post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Capt. Eucalyptus
I look forward to PJ's take on the spider in the valley of Kong.
Has there been confirmation that PJ is going to revisit this bit? I'd been hoping against hope - especially since I'd give my left one to see the original spider footage from the first King Kong.
post #6 of 38
The scene is in the script according to what I"ve heard around these parts. And if Shelob wasn't part test case for KK then I'd be surprised.
post #7 of 38
For you all, I have one word:

TARANTULA .

Easily my favorite of the "big bug" movies of the 50's. Caught this one time and again on the late-night creature-features when I was growing up and always loved it. The titular tarantua has been injected with a special nutrient formula that causes it to grow and keep on growing--of course the scientists only mean to do good, hoping to create giant rabbits and cows and solve world hunger. Why a livestock nutrient is being tested on arachnids I can't recall, but hey, this is 50s sci-fi. Just deal with it.

Predictably, things go awry. In a lab accident the dog-sized spider escapes and the scientist developing the formula (Leo G. Carrol, I believe) gets sprayed with the nutrient. The tarantula continues to grow and starts feasting on local livestock, occasioning some very creepy scenes of post-spider-attack cattle that still haunt me. Even more haunting is the effect the nutrient has on our ill-fated scientist, causing his face to distort and grow in splotches until he's John Merrick's unfortunate twin. When the spider reaches 100ft the military is called in, leading to the inevitable big 'splosion conclusion.

I remember this film being great for many reasons. The female lead (Mara Cordray as Stephanie "Steve" Clayton) was a babe. The backscreen and double-exposure spider effects were better done than most giant-thing movies of the era--the giant spider was actually a spider, and thus effectively "spidery", unlike the fishing-line and pipe-cleaner models that were often used. And the b&w cinematography was beautiful, effective and almost masterful in evoking the creepy mood. The aforementioned cattle mutilations and body horror are just icing on the cake. But the cherry on top is a very young and uncredited Clint Eastwood on screen for maybe 5 seconds as a fighter pilot sent to bomb the bug into 'blivion.

I want a DVD of this, dammit!
post #8 of 38
I haven't seen that in so long it's criminal. Along the same line we really need a remake of THEM!
post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 
Don't get me wrong, I liked ELF. I did buy the DVD afterall. I wish it would have had more confidence in itself rather than feeling the need for self-depreciating humor. Confidence is as appealing a trait in a movie as it is in a human being.

Tarantula is the big daddy of giant spider movies without a doubt but I find spiders are scarier when they are smaller and can sneak up on you (the afore mentioned coming up from behind the chair in ELF). Like...(spoilers)

Resident Evil 2.

I played this before RE 1 and, when my character made that fateful climb down into the sewer tunnel, I had no idea there were giant spiders in the game.

When that big hairy f-cker came barrelling down the tunnel at me like an SOB I seriously screamed and threw the controller at the screen! My brother laughed his a-s off!

If a movie could pull that off on an audience it would make a 100 million.
post #10 of 38
Arachnophobia is the best "killer spider movie" small spiders = scarier then big ones , cause they culd be crawling up ur pant leg now and you wouldnt know it (go ahead check ill give u a second) , but i did however love 8LF it falls into my funny horror movie sction which most films do now IS THERE NO SERIOUS HORROR anymore
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Capt. Eucalyptus
I haven't seen that in so long it's criminal. Along the same line we really need a remake of THEM!
I was checking Amazon to see if it's out and apparently there's only an OOP vhs that sells for up to $75 in mint condition.

And no remakes of THEM! . You know they'd just CG the ants to hell and back. Rerelease it with Tarantula on a double bill and watch Scotty explode with delight.
post #12 of 38
CG doesn't have to be bad Scotty boy. Witness Shelob.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Capt. Eucalyptus
CG doesn't have to be bad Scotty boy. Witness Shelob.
PJ doesn't count 'cuz he's a diety of filmmaking. If he did THEM, I'd have less trouble.
post #14 of 38
I'm not a huge fan of ELF. It was OK, but it seemed a bit flat to me. Also, on a spider trivia side note: Kingdom of Spiders was filmed in beautiful Sedona, Arizona (or maybe Oak Creek) and was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

I'll take Tarantula over all of them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Gus Bjork
When that big hairy f-cker came barrelling down the tunnel at me like an SOB I seriously screamed and threw the controller at the screen! My brother laughed his a-s off!
Type with me Gus, you can do it...

FUCKER
Son of a BITCH
ASS

Whichever thirteen year olds are reading this have already been hit on in the Chewers thread anyhow. All innocence is lost...
post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
I held out as long as I could Farmer Vincent. I try so hard not to swear. But you're right, it's time to let it out.

FUCK THEM! FUCK THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Gus Bjork
FUCK THEM! FUCK THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!
You are now ONE with the Internet.
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 
My God. It's full of fucking stars.
post #18 of 38
Anyone remember the cheese-fest that is "The Giant Spider Invasion?" I saw it in the theater as a kid. I've always hated spiders but I could never resist a good spider movie. Go figure.

Anyway, a few months back, Giant Spider Invasion got the MST3K treatment. I had forgotten just how campy this movie was. It had the woman from Perry Mason in it (can't recall her name).
post #19 of 38
Quote:
It had the woman from Perry Mason in it (can't recall her name).
And Skipper from Gilligan's Island too. Probably got them as a package deal since they were married in real life.
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by foywonder
And Skipper from Gilligan's Island too. Probably got them as a package deal since they were married in real life.
Cool. Just learned something. Wasn't her name Barbara Hale? Of course, his was Alan Hale. You reminded me of hers when you mentioned the Skipper.
post #21 of 38
Kingdom Of The Spiders was the best killer spider movie ever.
post #22 of 38
Although it's not horror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has some excellent spiders in it. The huge spider, Aragon, doesn't do much but sit at the mouth of it's lair and talks to Harry and Ron, but it's easy enough to picture him as a huge funnel-web spider ready to jump out on it's prey. Great-looking giant spider. But, the scary part is the hundreds (thousands?) of smaller (but still pretty damn big,like dog-sized) spiders coming down from the trees and chasing the boys through the forest...

Still, Shelob is the best in recent memory.

In real life, go halfway down this page, to the second posting dated August 20, 2003.

http://www.rochedalss.qld.edu.au/spiderphotos03.htm

My favorite real-life spider story...

As a kid I remember playing on the side of the house where we used to store lots of old crap - old lawnmowers, junk like that. We had a few cinder blocks, the kind with the three holes. One block was full of thick webs with funnel-like holes all over, about five of them. Well, I found an inchworm and dropped it in to see what would come out. The inchworm squirmed, and a spider suddenly appeared at one funnel mouth. It hesitated, charged out and bit the worm, then disappeared back into the funnel. The inchworm squirmed, and a bead of blood/innards welled out of the bite. the spider then dashed out of a completely different funnel, bit the inchworm again, then disappeared again. It did this about six times, while the inchworm thrashed and bled all over the web, jumping out and biting and disappearing again, only to appear from a different hole. Finally it grabbed the writhing, bleeding inchworm and dragged it into a hole, out of sight. The whole thing took maybe 10 seconds. Freaky, and (obviously) I've never forgotten it...

Sweet dreams, everybody!
post #23 of 38
Spiders are one of my biggest fears (and therefore a surefire hit for horror movies). I figure I've seen a good number of movies on the subject. Spoilers abound. But for the most part, these movies either sucked or are classics, so I doubt I'm spoiling much:

Eight Legged Freaks - Loved it. Yeah, the spiders were a bit cartoonish. But I think they managed to balance out the comedy with some seriously disturbing death scenes. The diner patrons getting dragged into the trapdoor spider dens. The people getting cocooned. The motorbikers getting taken off their bikes in midair. And for some reason, the idea of dog-sized spiders (give or take) is more horrifying to me than either little ones or enormous ones. Enormous spiders, I like to think, I'd see coming. The tiny ones are scary. But I've seen small spiders. And while I certainly wouldn't want to be bitten by a funnel web spider (for example), being brought down by one the size of a german shepard is far creepier.

Tarantula - One of the best (if not the best) spider movie ever. Precisely because it's a real spider. Watching it walk around is a thing to behold. And as a trivia bonus, it was Clint Eastwood's big screen debut. But don't blink. He's the jet fighter pilot at the end. He's wearing an oxygen mask. But look at the eyes and listen to the voice. You can tell, if you're looking for him.

Spiders - Sucked. CGI spider vs. a bunch of soldiers and meddling kids in an underground military bunker. Something about NASA sending a genetically-altered spider into space with a manned flight. It gets loose, kills everyone on board (apparently by floating slowly toward them in zero grav), and causes the shuttle to crash. A shadowy government agency shows up at the crash site, the meddling kids sneak into the installation, and hilarity ensues as a super spider erupts from the body of one of the astronauts. Awful.

Spiders 2 - I'm like a dumb animal. I really am. This one was even worse than the first one. A couple's sailboat sinks in the middle of the... water. They get rescued by a research vessel. The captain covets the wife and plots to rid himself of the husband. The creepy doctor (Night Court's "Bull" aka Richard Moll) plays the mad scientist. He's got people downstairs impregnated with killer spiders. Does the same with the husband. The spiders eventually escape, grow, and kill people. They look ridiculous. And the death scenes manage to avoid everything that's scary about spiders. Every death scene involves a spider sneaking up on someone and then that person looking down to discover two enormous fangs protruding from their chests. Awful. The only spider movie I turned off before it was finished.

Arachnid - Better than Spiders(2) but not by much. Less CGI thankfully. Let me see if I remember this right. Jet fighter shoots down UFO. UFO crashes. Jet fighter crashes. Fighter pilot discovers UFO crash site and alien pilot. Alien pilot is clearly in distress. Fighter pilot soon finds out why. But how did the giant spider evolve in the first place? Something to do with the aliens, I think. But the timeline?! Whatever. A bunch of people venture into the wilderness (complete with indigenous guides) to rescue said pilot. They encounter giant spider. Again, hilarity ensues.

Kingdom of the Spiders - Man, this one's a classic. The Citizen Kane of William Shatner/spider movies. Look for the spidercam as several tarantulas sneak up on a cow in the opening scene. And Shatner's buffoonish attempts to investigate an airvent later in the film. Good times everybody. Highly recommended.

I vaguely remember a TV movie in England in the 70s called "Tarantula: The Deadly Cargo." That was a long time ago, but I'd be tempted to watch that again if I could find it.


Stuart B.
post #24 of 38
I forgot Arachnaphobia. But most everyone thinks it's good. I'll leave it at that.
post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Farmer Vincent's fritters
I'm not a huge fan of ELF. It was OK, but it seemed a bit flat to me. Also, on a spider trivia side note: Kingdom of Spiders was filmed in beautiful Sedona, Arizona (or maybe Oak Creek) and was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

More trivia....we filmed "Eight Legged Freaks" in Superior AZ and in Glendale,AZ.
I really like the spider stuff from "Harry Potter..." and the newest "The Lord of the Rings" movie.
post #26 of 38
Somewhat (not really) ironic that Superior is one of my favorite places to climb. Too bad I missed out on my chance to gawk at a movie-in-action.
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by BillJohnson
More trivia....we filmed "Eight Legged Freaks" in Superior AZ and in Glendale,AZ.
Were the mall shots done in Glendale?
post #28 of 38
Yes, at the Mantee(SP?) mall. I think that it got torn down later.
post #29 of 38
Did I see a different ELF to you guys? All I saw was Will Ferrell as an amusingly out-of-his-depth Santa helper. No spiders at all, giant or otherwise.
post #30 of 38
The last shot in Kingdom of the Spiders always freaked me out as a kid. The camera pans back to the town covered in webs.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Dan Whitehead
Did I see a different ELF to you guys? All I saw was Will Ferrell as an amusingly out-of-his-depth Santa helper. No spiders at all, giant or otherwise.
Actually, Will Ferrell as a normally sized human among elfs was a carefully constructed analogy for a giant spider among a normal populace.

Read between the lines, dude.

post #32 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Floydian Trip
The last shot in Kingdom of the Spiders always freaked me out as a kid. The camera pans back to the town covered in webs.
I first saw this as a kid on a little black and white tv. Here's what I saw.

The cast was gasping as they looked out the window. They were witnesses to something horrifying. Then the camera pulled back on the town. It had snowed! It had snowed and killed all the spiders! Hooray!
post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Gus Bjork
I first saw this as a kid on a little black and white tv. Here's what I saw.

The cast was gasping as they looked out the window. They were witnesses to something horrifying. Then the camera pulled back on the town. It had snowed! It had snowed and killed all the spiders! Hooray!
Heh.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by Dan Whitehead
Did I see a different ELF to you guys? All I saw was Will Ferrell as an amusingly out-of-his-depth Santa helper. No spiders at all, giant or otherwise.
If it had had giant spiders, it would have won an Oscar.

And that cretin over at MoviePoopShoot would have hated it.
post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by BillJohnson
Yes, at the Mantee(SP?) mall. I think that it got torn down later.
Wow. That mall was known as Manitee for a very short time (right before it was torn down). For years it was called Valley West Mall and I spent a lot of time there as a kid.

For instance, I saw "Something Wicked This Way Comes" there as a kid. Now it is just an empty lot.
post #36 of 38
I've seen a few spider movies in my time:

Kingdom of the Spiders: The best spider movie that I've seen. William Shatner is his usual self in this film. It's a cheesy film, but I like these types of movies.

Giant Spider Invasion: The film itself is okay to watch. But the M.S.T.3K version is much better. All the jokes during the movie make it watchable. Too bad M.S.T.3K didn't work on the bottom two films.

Spider and Spider 2. I watched these on the Sci-Fi channel last weekend I think. Boy, they sure sucked!! I was laughing at the whole film thinking of my own M.S.T.3K style of jokes.
post #37 of 38
Thread Starter 
The Giant Spider Invasion!

My dad used to buy Famous Monsters of Filmland for me whenever he could. I remember their coverage of this. The giant spider was a Volkswagon Bug covered in black fur. I don't recall what the legs were but probably PVC pipe also covered in fur. To operate the spider they drove it around with puppeteers crammed inside to move the legs up and down through the open windows. I thought that was pretty clever (I was 10).

I saw it once years and years ago and wasn't too impressed although I recall being creeped out during one scene where a young gal was being chased around her house by increasingly bigger and bigger spiders.

Checking it out on the IMDB I see it comes in at #13 at their bottom 100 list.

You know I kind of liked Arachnid. Sure it was goofy but more stuff happens in the first 5 minutes than in most sci-fi films. It would have been better if it stayed wacky like that the whole film. I kind of dug it. Also, the natives are portrayed as intelligent and capable people, not just fodder for the monster until it gets to the white folks. In fact, I think one of the natives is a surviving hero.
post #38 of 38
Anyone remember Krull way back in 84. They had a great spider in that movie. Very creepy. All white and translucent
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