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Earth vs the Spider (1958)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  September 1958 (USA)
3.9
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Ratings: 3.9/10 from 1,717 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 32 critic

Teenagers from a rural community and their high school science teacher join forces to battle a giant mutant spider.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Kemmer ...
Professor Art Kingman
June Kenney ...
Eugene Persson ...
Mike Simpson (as Gene Persson)
Gene Roth ...
Hal Torey ...
June Jocelyn ...
Mickey Finn ...
Sally Fraser ...
Troy Patterson ...
Joe
Skip Young ...
Sam the Bass Player
Howard Wright ...
Bill Giorgio ...
Deputy Sheriff Pete Sanders
Hank Patterson ...
Hugo the Janitor
Jack Kosslyn ...
Bob Garnet ...
Pest Control Man
Edit

Storyline

When a man doesn't come home one night his daughter and her boyfriend go out searching and encounter a giant spider in a cave near the man's wrecked car. Coming back with the Sheriff, the spider is seemingly killed by DDT spraying, and the body then hauled for storage in the high school gymnasium. However, a loud dose of rock music by a teenage garage band revives the arachnid and sends it rampaging through the town. Written by Jeremy Lunt <durlinlunt@acadia.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

[The Spider] will eat you alive! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Earth vs the Spider  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Blaisdell had created a small makeup appliance ("about the size and weight of a postage stamp") meant to go on the live tarantula's back to make it look like it had "eerie, catlike" eyes, but this was never used. See more »

Goofs

When the young couple find skeletons in the cave,the bones are all connected together. Without muscles or skin, they would look like a random pile of bones, even if they were in the same area. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Kingman: Well, speaking of spiders - are you sure rifles are just the thing? Insects have a pretty simple nervous system, sheriff. You could plug holes in one all day and never hit a vital spot. If you want to be on the safe side, call the pest control people in Springdale and have 'em send out all the DDT they can find.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lilo & Stitch (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chilling AIP programmer which succeeds in investing its proceedings with a definite air of spookiness.
16 August 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

When EARTH VS. THE SPIDER crawled onto theatre screens nationwide in 1958 and first appeared on television in 1963 it was under the title THE SPIDER. Thus its current label is somewhat of an enigma. Perhaps the additional prefix of EARTH VS. was part of its original intended title (with actual prints struck as such) but was deemed too ambitious for what actually transpires in the movie. Possibly because of this title's similarity to the Ray Harryhausen epic EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (released a few years earlier) it was feared to be an infringement on the Harryhausen work (or it could be mistaken as a re-release of same) and was shortened to the more appropriate THE SPIDER.

EARTH VS. THE SPIDER has the handicap of being a steal of Jack Arnold's TARANTULA (1955) and like all giant mutation films of the 1950's following in the wake of the 1954 sci-fi masterpiece THEM! (trying to emulate its distinctive qualities and commercial success) but taken on its own terms it successfully establishes its own eerie atmosphere and excitement that makes it popular today.

Comparison with TARANTULA is unavoidable but while both films utilize an actual tarantula spider (for practical purposes) EARTH VS. THE SPIDER usually manipulates the title protagonist in confined, claustrophobic surroundings when pursuing its intended prey to great effect (the expansive yet enclosed underground caverns, the high school gymnasium and the climatic confrontation on the cavern ledge, etc.). Further this monster also spins a web (unlike the title menace in TARANTULA) and a great deal of suspense and tension is achieved as nosey intruders are caught in it while the wailing bellow of the approaching creature is heard.

The giant spider's cave sanctuary is as much a character as the spider itself and it engenders a tremendous sense of foreboding and dread as the two teenagers and later as the town sheriff, his deputies and some townspeople approach and enter it (the mood is beautifully underscored by Albert Glasser's ominous background music).

In comparison to the technical virtuosity of THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD released the same year (or any Harryhausen film of the period) the special effects in EARTH VS. THE SPIDER are thin beer indeed but adequate. These effects include rear projection, split screens, superimposures, miniatures and forced perspective utilizing photographic plates of famed Carlsbad Caverns. At the film's suspenseful finale there appears to be an unheralded moment of stop motion animation of the giant spider dangling along a precipice and the closing image of the dead creature impaled on stalagmite on the cavern floor (actually a painting) is quite impressive.

All told EARTH VS. THE SPIDER is a film well worth looking into.


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