Earth vs. The Spider a.k.a. The Spider

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Earth vs. The Spider a.k.a. The Spider

Post  BoG on Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:30 pm

Mr. B.i.G. strikes again - Bert I. Gordon, who also gifted us with The Amazing Colossal Man, now tries to do Tarantula one better - a giant spider, yes. It takes place in a small American town and adjacent wilderness. Some guy driving back to town at night in a truck encounters a horrific impediment. His daughter and her boyfriend go in search of him the next day, find the truck crashed off the road, and then decide to investigate a nearby cave. This cave is well-known to the locals and has spawned some local spooky legends. The young couple do find a couple of fresh skeletons a ways inside, but this is not enough to deter them. Then they fall into what seems like a net of rope, but is supposed to be a large spider web. Next thing you know - that's right, a screeching giant spider! Yaggh! Run away, run away! (though it's remarked upon how the web is sticky, it luckily cannot hold them - not  a very effective web).

As expected, the authorities (a sheriff and his deputy) scoff at the story from the teens, but the teens gain an ally in their science teacher (Ed Kemmer), who convinces the lawmen to check things out. They all head over to the cave, along with some insect exterminators. The girl finally locates the dessicated remains of her father and the giant spider makes its presence known to the others. Fortunately, they brought along enough arachnid pesticide to spray the monster to death... or did they? Here's where the story takes an even more loopy turn - the science guy (Kemmer) is certain that the creature is dead, so they place the supposed dead monster in the school gymnasium. Oh, wait - the science guy says after the creature begins to rampage all over town, it was just stunned... sorry. tongue  Later, the giant spider selects a particular house to attack - it's the science guy's house, where his wife & son are threatened. Karma..? Suspect 
Mr. B.i.G. does the FX work himself as he did in most of his films and it's adequate, especially if you're a kid. Less successful is the selection of actors to play supposed high school kids; this was a problem in a few films back then, notably in the same year's The Blob. There's one in particular - I think the character's name is Joe and he's a buddy of the boyfriend - when we first see him in class, my first thought was, what is this 40-year-old doing in this classroom? I was surprised that I found this to be better than I thought it would be in terms of suspense in the first couple of acts, and the pace is pretty good. BoG's Score: 5.5 out of 10
Spider Trivia: Mr. B.i.G. indulged in some unusual self-promotion in this film: one scene takes place at the local movie theater, in front of which Gordon placed the poster for an upcoming film -  The Amazing Colossal Man; the film currently playing was Attack of the Puppet People.
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