Saturday, 4 May 2013

Arachnophobia (1990)

This is one of those films that can be described as a classic B-movie in both the good sense and the bad. Its very much like the film 'Congo' really, exaggerated characters, plenty of creepy moments, elements of hunting mixed with suspense...but all in a slightly comical way, not in an overly serious way. The films title says it all really, playing on the fears that many people have and doing it in bloody good fashion I'll say.

One big ugly motherfucker of a spider hitches a ride from Venezuela and ends up in a small wholesome American as apple pie town. Once there it breeds with the local spiders and creates a whole army of deadly eight legged facehuggers that go on the rampage biting all the lovely townsfolk, how horrific! Its up to the new doc in town, Jeff Daniels, to save everyone...yeah not good, having Jeff Daniels as you're only hope!

'A web would indicate an arachnoid presence'

Loved the whole scenario of Daniel's new in town City doctor character up against the aged, stuck in the past, doesn't like change, old fashioned methods small town doctor. Brilliantly played by Henry Jones.

This film is so darn hokey its fantastic, everything within it it cliched and predictable but that's the way it should be. There are no complaints here, no moaning, this is exactly what was set out to do and you get exactly what you'd expect, tiny aliens invading smallville USA. So yes the main daddy spider is an animatronic laugh out loud effect, they have clearly tried to make him look real but its very obvious looking yet highly cool at the same time. You don't see him too clearly, mainly the legs, but in the final showdown he presents himself (almost) in all his furry glory, hissing and screaming too I might add!

What was impressive about this film was they used real spiders alongside the fake ones. In fact they used lots of real spiders, it makes you wonder how on earth they managed to do it, get the spiders to go where they wanted and create some really decent spine tingling moments. I've read they attract them using cold or heat?? sounds bizarre, but you must admit many shots in this film look terrific as the little blighters scurry around. The more impressive shots are seeing the spiders dangling on their web threads.

Of course the winning formula here is the lurking fear factor. The devious fellows behind the film use every trick in the book damn them, things that you dread, that you have nightmares about. Spiders on your face, inside cereal boxes, in you bed, on your hand, in you hair, hanging down from the ceiling on their web threads and hovering above you or landing on your head! leaping at you, in the shower, inside slippers etc...There's an absolute multitude of moments that will make you jump or squirm involuntary (if you don't like spiders), just the sheer vision of seeing one of these little long legged arachnids spring into action is enough to give me the shits.

Its funny how such small little creatures that actually do exist (this ain't no fantasy monster flick) can create such powerful reactions from us. I'm sure some folk would say this is more scary than any slasher/psycho horror flick. Myself, I don't like spiders at all, and this film certainly made me check where my feet were whilst watching. A well made flick that gives you the creeps and also looks really good too, its still B-movie schlock but the wonderful characters, brilliant spider camera work and the full on American cheese is glorious.

Kudos to John Goodman as the exterminator, funny character, amusing look and of course completely hammy. 'Actually, he's probably still at the bottom of my shoe. You really can't tell what it is anymore'.