Monday, 1 July 2013

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
















Probably one of the more well known older creature features that has obviously gone on to inspire further films. To be honest one reason why this is more famous than others is probably down to having Shatner in the lead role.

The plot is pretty obvious really isn't it, the title says it all, its about spiders and they're killing everybody. But more specifically its about the use of pesticides and how they are wiping out the food source for all these tarantulas (yep that's right tarantulas). This is causing the eight legged creepy crawlies to band together and go off in search of larger prey. So naturally they are after humans after taking down some other larger animals.

What is so funny about this film is the fact that the spiders clearly have no interest in being film stars. In every scene the arachnids are merely milling around like spiders do, obviously more terrified of what's going on around them. At no point do they ever look scary or intimidating because it was obviously very hard to get these furry critters to do what was intended. The way some victims are lurching about supposedly dying whilst being attacked is quite amusing because you can see they are trying to balance the spider on themselves so it doesn't fall off or run away.

In 'Arachnophobia' the spiders are actually really creepy and do make your hair stand on end because they are skinny, bony, fast and look vicious. Plus the camera angles and use of classic phobias relating to spiders such as finding them inside things, in the shower, in food, the way they scamper around so quickly etc...In this film you don't get any of that because tarantulas are big thick furry things that look like hairy gloves basically. Sure they are scary but they move slowly or not at all and they are known to be harmless so the terror effect doesn't really kick in.

The other issue is the fact this small town is being over run by the tarantulas, yet when you get shots of the spiders outside they are just sitting there doing nothing, and there might only be about ten of them. There clearly wasn't much care for these furry fellas either as you see some get crushed and run over by vehicles in some shots!. I think the tarantulas are in more danger than the humans in this film.

Its hokey ass stuff that's for sure, a guilty pleasure that's pure 70's garbage. It hasn't dated too well either geez, the soundtrack is awful and the picture quality is terrible, actually looks like its been filmed on a handheld by students. It looks like a typical seedy 70's porn flick in places.

Its the sight of good old Shatner doing his thing which keeps you going. His over acting in places is the stuff of legend and hilarious, yet I gotta give kudos to him for picking up live tarantulas and having them on his body brrrr (if they were real that is). There are also some other nice shots of victims covered in webbing and tarantulas, brave extras, I wouldn't.

Mega cheesy and utterly ridiculous but reasonable fun, the films final twist is actually really good and quite a bold move, don't get endings like that much.

6/10