In the Arizona desert, Professor Gerald Deemer is experimenting with growth hormones in the hopes of finding a way to increase the world's food supply. His partner in the project was recently found dead in the desert, suffering from a disease that normally takes years to advance but in his case seems to have afflicted him in only a few days. The local doctor, Matt Hastings, is puzzled by the strange case and with Deemer's recently arrived - and very pretty - assistant Stephanie Clayton tries to figure out what is going on. When cattle remains are found in the countryside, the evidence points to a giant tarantula as the culprit. Written by
Ostensibly a quickie b-flick targeted at matinée audiences, "Tarantula" certainly isn't High Art but it does take a refreshingly serious tack on its story. Mad scientist in small desert town experiments with growth serum, accidentally unleashing one humongous spider on the terrified locals. Very nice atmosphere, decent special effects, not-bad performances. John Agar is the stalwart hero, and of course he's coupled with a pretty girl prone to screaming (Mara Corday as Stephanie, whom Agar affectionately calls 'Steve'). Probably more fun today for nostalgic adults than modern preteens, and certainly not as gripping as "Them!", but still a well-enough produced creep-show. Look fast for Clint Eastwood in an uncredited bit. ** from ****
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