Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fangs a lot: The Spider(1958)

I was watching a documentary the other night about tarantulas and other large arachnids. I've always been fascinated by spiders and also creeped out by them all at once. I'm also a sucker for just about any horror/sci-fi film featuring a giant spider run amok. My favorite giant spider creature feature will always be the 1955, Jack Arnold directed Tarantula. I also like the "other" giant spider schlocker from the 1950's as well despite it's even more scattershot and uneven special effects. I'm referring to THE SPIDER , aka "Earth Vs The Spider" which was written, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon.

This film is available for viewing on YouTube, Vimeo and even DailyMotion and comes in at 73 minutes for viewing. There's a lot of things that annoy me about this movie: the inconsistent renderings of the giant spiders' size during its forays into the neighboring town and countryside outside its cave abode. I also dislike the almost banshee like wail that the monster spider emits. That said there are some huge positives for me with The Spider, none more so than the performance of Ed Kemmer, the local schoolteacher who is the film's primary protagonist, married family man(and father) and also who lends a helping hand to the town sheriff and his deputies in figuring out how to stop and ultimately destroy the mysterious, menacing giant spider. I also like the spider's main raid on the town and the sequence where it escapes the high school gym after its temporary capture. Some level of suspense is maintained because the initial attempt to kill the enormous spider, while it's still inside its cave lair, fails. The spider is instead captured but escapes a high school gym and crawls around again, understandably scaring the hell out of everyone who is unfortunate enough to see it. (no spoilers on the movie's ending)

The score is actually decent for this movie and there are ample enough scenes of chaos, mayhem and grisly images of the spiders' victims to make this movie a "keeper" for die hard sci-fi and horror movie fans. I remember when I first watched The Spider on television as a kid. It was this movie and others like it that helped kick start my long time interest in horror movies, especially those from the 1950's and 1960's.

A trailer:

THE SPIDER(1958) is available on official DVD. This movie was released as a double feature DVD along with 1958's War Of The Colossal Beast by Lions Gate in 2006. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon click the link: EARTH VS THE SPIDER/WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST double feature DVD