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The Spider (1958)

Earth vs the Spider (original title)
Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | September 1958 (USA)
Teenagers from a rural community and their high school science teacher join forces to battle a giant mutant spider.

Director:

Bert I. Gordon

Writers:

László Görög (screenplay) (as Laszlo Gorog), George Worthing Yates (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Spider See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Santa Rosa Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mike mentions on the phone that his father's theater is showing a new film, "Attack of the Puppet People." See more »

Goofs

The so-called teenagers look more like post-graduate students than high schoolers. Skip Young, who was also a regular on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," was 28 and Tony Patterson, who played "Joe," was 35 years old. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Kingman: [to Mrs. Kingman] It'd be a good idea if you'd stay inside the house for awhile.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
As Silly As They Come... and I'm Loving Every Minute
7 August 2001 | by EdYerkeRobinsSee all my reviews

There is a saying that a true artist can make an error into a masterpiece. While this doesn't exactly apply to film-making, it can easily apply to film-viewing. Think of lots of 1950's low budget sci-fi cliches (bad acting, bad special effects, etc.), and then throw them all into a single movie. The outcome of this is a critic's nightmare, 1958's "Earth vs. the Spider". There's no way such "trash", with all its errors, can be entertaining, right? Wrong.

The only real disappointing goof in this film is the title, a horrid misnomer as the spider only gets to crawl about its web in a cave and a small town, and less than 10 people in the town actually "fight" it. Of those 10 people, most are represented by the driest actors imaginable (except for the women, who get to scream and sob), and the "teenagers" are obviously not, especially Joe, who looks like he's in his mid-30's. Said teenagers also make decisions in the film that are stupid, yet at the same time have enough logic that the audience is able to forgive them for it (as opposed to some movies of the genre where people just act stupid out of the blue). It might seem like a really bad idea to go to a killer giant spider's cave, but if it is to retrieve the last memento of one's father, its understandable, although still not a wise choice. The teen characters in this film act like that, making them less annoying and more lovable than most teen victims in the genre.

The spider they take on, is, unimaginatively, a run-of-the-mill tarantula filmed and super-imposed over scenes to make it seem gigantic; sometimes it's really noticeable and looks awful, but most of the time it works, yet still comes off as tacky since the spider is always moving in the same direction. Besides that fact, the other main reason that this barely works is that the spider and the people are rarely in the same shot at the same time. This also means that all deaths are off-camera (but accompanied by the spider's un-spider-like hissing and growling), and the resulting corpses are really weird-looking: by no means realistic, but odd enough to be entertaining.

Which is really the reason why films like these are watchable, and to some (like me) even enjoyable. Sure, there won't be any Oscar nominations for the acting, but isn't it funny to hear a science teacher call a spider an insect? He should obviously know better. Isn't it funny that the route the lead teens take to escape from the spider at the beginning of the film leads to a dead-end at the end of it? That was obviously a mistake in the script writing. Granted, these mistakes aren't intentional or intelligent humor, but it's humor nonetheless, and there's enough of it to recommend this film to fans of the genre. It's also worth noting that this film thankfully knows its limits, and is thus quite short, so that it can be enjoyable without dragging on and on.


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