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Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1967)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  24 December 1967 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,712 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 84 critic

A caretaker devotes himself to three demented adults after their father's death.

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Title: Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1967)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Bruno (as Lon Chaney)
Carol Ohmart ...
Quinn K. Redeker ...
Peter Howe (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Jill Banner ...
...
Mary Mitchel ...
Ann Morris
Karl Schanzer ...
Mr. Schlocker
Mantan Moreland ...
Messenger
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Storyline

In a dilapidated rural mansion, the last generation of the degenerate, inbred Merrye family lives with the inherited curse of a disease that causes them to mentally regress from the age of 10 or so on as they physically develop. The family chauffeur looks out for them and covers up their indiscretions. Trouble comes when greedy distant relatives and their lawyer arrive to dispossess the family of its home. Written by D.A. Kellough <dkelloug@infinet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Not for people who faint easily! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

24 December 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cannibal Orgy, or The Maddest Story Ever Told  »

Box Office

Budget:

$65,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio where the bulk of the film was shot was not equipped with air conditioning, only fans. With temperatures in the triple digits outside, the crew were all uncomfortable, but none more than Lon Chaney Jr., who was often dripping with sweat by the end of his takes. A bucket of ice water was brought in so Chaney could be mopped down with a cold, wet towel after each take. See more »

Goofs

When Peter reads the textbook's description of Merrye Syndrome the following text on the page is a random patchwork of unrelated paragraphs. See more »

Quotes

Schlocker: This has gone well beyond the boundaries of prudence and good taste.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the film ends, "THE END" appears on the screen, then suddenly changes to "THE END ?". See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hatching of Spider Baby (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Spider Baby Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Ronald Stein
Performed by Lon Chaney Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Creepy, funny, irregular, occasionally brilliant
25 November 2004 | by (Tucson, Arizona) – See all my reviews

At one point in this movie, Virginia (Jill Banner), the "Spider Baby" of the title, grabs a spider from the table and pops it into her mouth. Her sister Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) quips, "Spiders don't eat spiders."

"Cannibal spiders do," retorts Virginia, and this scene sums up everything good about Spider Baby: twisted, funny, and possessing an internal logic that pretty much justifies anything it does, no matter how preposterous.

Originally funded by two real estate developers and locked away for years after a bankruptcy filing, Spider Baby hit the drive-in circuit, made its modest sum of money, and faded away--almost. Somewhere down the line, it developed a cult status despite only being available on low-quality, grainy video. It is now available on DVD in a restored cut that reveals strikingly beautiful black-and-white cinematography. Low-budget it may be, but it's gorgeous to look at.

Lon Chaney Jr. stars as a butler taking care of his deceased employer's children (Washburn, Banner and Sid Haig). The siblings suffer from a hereditary disease that leaves them intellectually childlike but also makes them casual murderers, a problem compounded when distant cousins (Quinn Redeker and the stunning Carol Ohmart) arrive with designs on taking over the estate. The plot is simple and the movie is short (only 81 minutes), but it wastes no time and delivers plenty of creepy thrills, among them cannibalism, implied necrophilia, and midnight chases through the woods.

The acting is a pleasant surprise as well. The entire cast does a convincing job of bringing these oddball characters to life. There are a few missteps here and there: a couple of moments, for instance, when Redeker addresses the audience directly, and it's hard to know if the humor is intentional or not. Overall, however, the quality of each performance is pretty high. Especially touching is a scene where Chaney's character realizes there will be no good end to the situation, and his obvious affection for these mad but dangerous children actually brings a tear to the eye.

Well worth checking out if you're into horror, grim humor, or very, very odd movies.


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