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Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977)

TV Movie  -   -  Horror | Thriller  -  28 December 1977 (USA)
4.5
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Ratings: 4.5/10 from 309 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 12 critic

An airplane carring coffee beans from South America has some unpleasant stowaways: a hoard of tarantulas which overcome the pilots as the airplane is flying over an orange-producing town in... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bert Springer
Charles Frank ...
Joe Harmon
Deborah Winters ...
Cindy Beck
...
Mayor Douglas
Sandy McPeak ...
Chief Beasley
...
Doc Hodgins
...
Buddy
...
Fred
John Harkins ...
Sylvan
Charles Siebert ...
Rich Finley
...
Gloria Beasley
Edwin Owens ...
Frank
Alex Colon ...
Hector
Lanny Horn ...
Harry Weed
Jerome Guardino ...
H.L. Williams
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Storyline

An airplane carring coffee beans from South America has some unpleasant stowaways: a hoard of tarantulas which overcome the pilots as the airplane is flying over an orange-producing town in California. The airplane crashes, and the unlucky inhabitants of the town release the poisonous spiders into their midst. Once the town's officials discover that the tarantulas are responsible for several deaths, the tarantulas have already descended upon the town's only orange-processing factory. The town's citizens risk their lives to remove the tarantulas from the factory while the poisonous pests are rendered motionless by the transmitted sound of buzzing bees. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

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Genres:

Horror | Thriller

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Release Date:

28 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carga mortal  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
There's a spider in my coffee
29 April 2011 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

A plane carrying a payload of Ecuadorian coffee beans bound for the US, plunges into a field in the struggling town of Finleyville. When rescuers discover that two survivors appear to be afflicted by a deadly plague-like condition, the townspeople are quick to respond to the threat. It takes the tenacity of local GP (Hingle) and occupation unknown jack-of-all trades (Frank) and his girlfriend (Winters) to determine that the mysterious deaths are attributed to a particularly toxic breed of Tarantulas that have stowed away on the doomed flight. Director Haggman applies a very matter-of-fact treatment to this above average thriller, with great attention to detail and a well paced continuity that builds to a satisfying climax.

A capable cast of familiar faces portray likable characters, who band together to solve their own problems and save the town from socioeconomic devastation, proving that necessity is the mother of all invention. Frank is an affable leading man well supported by durable character actors like Akins, Hingle and Remsen in sizeable supporting roles. John Harkins also has a key cameo identifying the aggressive arachnids as the most venomous of their species, sending the town into a virtual state of emergency. Mature, intelligent dialogue is sometimes too functional, but realistic and well delivered. It's just a pity that the rather vapid climax wasn't more rousing, as the impetus was there throughout the movie for a satisfying resolution.

There's an absence of smoke and mirrors to this small screen production that rejects the temptation to sensationalise the subject matter, focusing instead on the logical and convincing storytelling that saw this minor matinée nominated for two Emmy awards. Overall, while there's the obvious constraints of a television scale, and a curiously inapt jazz soundtrack bookends, this remains a taut, mature, well conceived little critter of a spider movie, and well worth a look.


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