2 items from 2017
Never mind the holidays; dealing with family can be stressful any time of year. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or just a mandatory visit to a forgotten aunt you haven’t seen in 15 years can all hold their share of tension and misery. But at least be thankful you’re not part of the Merrye clan, the family at the center of Jack Hill’s Spider Baby (1967), a quirky yet clever examination of the prototypical horror tribe that influenced the likes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977).
Filmed in 1964 but not given a limited release by American General Pictures until late ’67, it languished in general obscurity until a video restoration in the mid ‘90s shone a light on its peculiar charms. Filmed in 12 days on a budget of $55,000, Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (full title) is like watching The Addams Family shake the family tree and having incest, »
- Scott Drebit
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Jack Hill's Spider Baby (1967) will be showing January 24 - February 23 and Pit Stop (1967) will be showing January 25 - February 24, 2017 in the United States.Quentin Tarantino, unsurprisingly a gushing fan of Jack Hill, once famously compared the exploitation specialist to venerable Hollywood icon Howard Hawks, presumably on the basis of his distinctly personal preferences and his unassuming, across-the-board genre dabbling. Of course, those genres explored by Hawks—from westerns to screwball comedies—were considerably different than those in which Hill excels, but the point is well taken: within his respective niches, Hill does it as well as anyone, with skill and without pretense. This includes quintessential Blaxploitation classics like Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), and some of the finest women-in-prison films ever made—yes, there are some very fine women-in-prison films—namely The Big Doll House (1971) and The Big Bird Cage »
2 items from 2017
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