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Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | November 1977 (USA)
Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas. Before he can take action, the ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Diane Ashley
...
Walter Colby
...
Emma Washburn
...
Gene Smith
...
Linda Hansen
Altovise Davis ...
Birch Colby
Joe Ross ...
Vern Johnson
...
Terry Hansen
Adele Malis-Morey ...
Betty Johnson (as Adele Malis)
...
Mayor Connors
...
Earl Forbes
...
Clyde (as Bill Foster)
...
The Baron
Jay Lawrence ...
Deputy
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Storyline

Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas. Before he can take action, the streets are overrun by killer spiders, trapping a small group of towns folk in a remote hotel. Written by Ross Horsley <ics6rh@leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spider | death | farm | calf | tarantula | See All (125) »

Taglines:

There's no escaping their web of terror... See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La invasión de las arañas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$17,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

50,000 dollars of the movie's budget went towards spiders. The producers offered to pay ten dollars each for live tarantulas, and handlers collected 5,000 of them. See more »

Goofs

The stunt driver who hits Mayor Conner misjudged his speed and hit the brakes just as he made contact. Instead of the car taking out the mayor and then careening into the water tower, you can see it stop briefly and then accelerate again to get enough speed to take out the water tower. See more »

Quotes

Betty Johnson: I understand you're... you're a scientist. You know you and Vern have a lot in common.
Diane Ashley: Oh... uhh, really?
Vern Johnson: That's how I make all my money... kinda scientific you know... through chemicals.
Diane Ashley: Oh, you're a chemist?
Betty Johnson: You dont understand, Vern invented a new kind of chemical toilet... you know the kind they use at construction sites.
Vern Johnson: Sold the business though... sold out to my partner... just couldn't take the pressure anymore.
[Laugh]
Vern Johnson: Uhh Say
[looks over shoulder at wife]
Vern Johnson: Uhh, say, can I buy you a drink?...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hunt for the House on Cuckoo Lane (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Peaceful Verde Valley
Written and Sung by Dorsey Burnette
Available on Calliope Records and Tapes
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User Reviews

 
The eight-legged vengeance of nature!
23 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Right off the bat, you have to know going in, that "Kingdom of the Spiders" is hardly a tour-de-force effort of film-making. It's a low-budget suspense horror film, filled with 70's cheese-tasticness. That said, however, the film does manage to entertain.

William Shatner, the perennial "cool guy" every nerd-boy wishes they could be, plays Dr. Robert "Rack" Hansen, a vet who's town is soon overrun by the eight-legged fury of millions of tarantulas. It seems the destruction of their usual food supply, by the careless use of pesticides, has caused them to look into a new source of sustenance... humans!

The overall acting in the film is passable, if unremarkable. Even the usually flamboyant stylings of "The Shat" are subdued here. There's the attempt to play up some human drama, through a love triangle between Rack, the beautiful entomologist (played by Tiffany Bolling) and the widow of Rack's dead brother (played by Marcy Lafferty). You get a couple of glimpses of Shatner's typical sexual charisma from it, but little else as far as the story goes. In fact, the whole pacing of the story is quite slow for the first 45-55 minutes of the film. This is surely to help set up the film's final act, when the spiders go on their rampage, but it isn't as effective as they probably were intending.

Really, the story and drama hinges on the spider attacks. Building slowly on the creepy feeling invoked by the spiders, watching them move from killing livestock to humans, it does create a sense of eerie tension. It plays to a fear many of us have of creepy-crawly insects and their ability to overwhelm us with sheer numbers. Director John "Bud" Cardos does effectively make the spiders into not only a credible threat, but a menacing one, as well. The scene of the townsfolk running in chaotic panic when the spiders begin attacking in force, will surely make most anyone's skin crawl. And the downbeat ending of the film is, without question, one of the best parts of the film. No typical Hollywood "happy ending" here, which only helps the movie to retain it's cult status. The film's attempt at a morality tale, by showing that mankind needs to show more respect towards nature, is both heavy-handed and poorly contrived, but that's only to be expected in a b-grade piece of 70's horror.

"Kingdom of the Spiders" is a fine piece of 70's kitsch-cinema, which doesn't try to make itself out as much more than that. And while it may pale in comparison to other movies about man facing "nature's revenge" (like "The Birds" or "Jaws", just to name a couple), it certainly is worthy of it's place of cult horror status. Just make sure to keep a can of bug spray close by, as you watch it.


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