The film's original title "Cannibal Orgy or, The Maddest Story Ever Told" was incorporated into the theme song, which culminates with a line that states "This cannibal orgy is strange to behold and the maddest story ever told."
The film had a $60,000 budget. Lon Chaney Jr. was paid a flat fee of $2500 for his performance, each of the other actors were paid $100 a day. Coincidentally, the price of the actors salaries was the same as the daily rental of the Duesenberg that Bruno drives.
Thought to be a "lost" film in the 1990s, it was learned there was a badly-dubbed 16mm VHS copy in release. Writer/director Jack Hill found the original negative, got a clean digital transfer from it and put that in circulation. As the picture was not copyrighted, he was able to market it on his own. Hill added a scene cut from the original theatrical release and promoted it as the "Director's Cut".
The film was shot in August of 1964 with the title "Cannibal Orgy, or The Maddest Story Ever Told", but there was no premiere. Its release was held up for 3-1/2 years because the producers went bankrupt, which tied up the film in legal limbo. Independent producer David L. Hewitt acquired it for distribution in December 1967 and changed the title to "Spider Baby" and, the following summer in 1968, "The Liver Eaters."
Quinn K. Redeker would sometimes sit in Lon Chaney Jr.'s trailer while Chaney told him stories and anecdotes about his films. Chaney would often be making his specialty--homemade mustard--while doing so.
For the scene in which Ralph climbs down the house and peers in the window, Sid Haig had a rope tied around his feet and was lowered in front of the window. Pressure built up behind his eyes and he panicked, so this footage was shot very quickly.
Sid Haig admitted to avoiding Lon Chaney Jr. for the first two days of filming, simply because he wasn't sure what to say to the veteran actor. One day Chaney was needed for and Haig was sent to Chaney's trailer to retrieve him. Haig nervously knocked on the door and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Chaney. You're needed on set." Chaney told Haig, without skipping a beat, "Stop that. I'm not Mr. Chaney. I'm Lon. You're Sid. Let's leave it at that." Haig later said that this interaction put him completely at ease.
The wrap party was held at the home of actress Mary Mitchel and her then-husband, producer Bart Patton. The couple's dog had recently had puppies, and that evening co-star Sid Haig and his wife took one of the pups home and named it "Uncle Ned" after the character in the film.
The studio where the bulk of the film was shot (in August of 1964) 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.
During the climax as he's struggling with Mary Mitchel, Sid Haig had the flu and a temperature of 103°. The producers employed a doctor to standby on the set to give Haig an injection every few hours so he could continue to work.
According to Sid Haig, when Lon Chaney Jr. finished the scene where Bruno talks about the toy, the crew was in tears. Chaney also received a standing ovation and wasn't able to leave the set for five minutes.
Released to drive-ins simultaneously under two different titles--in 1968 as the latter half of a double-feature paired with Hells Chosen Few (1968); the print was titled "Spider Baby", When it was paired with Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) (aka "The Blood Suckers") it was titled "The Liver Eaters."
After dinner, there's a brief scene that ends with Schlocker wagging his cigar at Emily. Originally this scene ended with Emily ripping the cigar from his hand and puffing on it, but the producers hated this irreverent moment and demanded it be cut.