Giant Monstershow: The Giant Spider Invasion

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow continues on with a putrid mess of a movie. From 1975, The Giant Spider Invasion comes to us via screenwriters Robert Easton and Richard L. Huff (who also produced). Bill Rebane handled the directing. According to the internet, so it must be true, this stupid movie, despite its low budget and general incompetence, was a moneymaker for Huff and company. How a movie this bad, starring a disguised Volkswagen as a giant spider, ended up being profitable is beyond me. It feels something of a crime against the art of film that this movie found success.

Filmed on location in rural Wisconsin, The Giant Spider Invasion follows the events that afflict a community after a meteorite lands in a farm field. The meteorite carries with it spiders from space who are ready to take over the world. That’s a silly idea and is in keeping with what one expects from giant monster flicks. It’s in the execution that makes this film fail, whereas something like Beginning of the End is good for much mirth.

The film stars a litany of Hollywood film and television also-rans. Steve Brodie and Barbara Hale play Drs. J.R Vance and Jenny Langer. They are in the film as the resident experts who provide scientific exposition. With any luck, they will also provide a solution to all the nasty spiders running around.

These two are joined by Alan Hale, Jr as the local sheriff, Easton as an adulterous, trashy farmer, and Leslie Parrish as his drunken wife. These three cast members send this movie over the top in shittiness. In a movie that crawls very slowly along, these nonsense characters and the people who portray them provide the only signs The Giant Spider Invasionof life. This flick is a slog, and while Hale’s character’s lame jokes or Easton’s hurled abuse don’t make the journey that much easier, it’s still better than spending yet more lab time with Vance and Langer.

This movie is so somnambulistic that viewers will have a difficult time staying engaged. That’s not our fault, of course. It’s this shitty movie’s. Being low rent isn’t a sin in film. Great films have been made with bad film stock, cheap lenses, and muddled sound. This ain’t one of them.

The film climaxes with the giant spider promised by the title. And I was not exaggerating. It really is a Volkswagen. The filmmakers covered it with spider fur and attached some gigantic puppet arms for it to reach its victims. As bad as it looks, it could look worse. That’s because surviving prints of this dog are worn out and dark. It’s almost impossible to make out any detail in this film when natural light was used. It’s an almost impenetrable mud. I would like to think that age and lack of care is the only culprit, but I just can’t let cinematographer Jack Willoughby off the hook. His film looks bad.

There really isn’t much to recommend this film. It’s a 1950s-style monster flick that came a couple of decades late. It embraces all the cheapness of something Bert I. Gordon or Ray Kellogg would have made, only it’s even more inept. That’s quite a feat. The result is removing the last bit of watchability from a tired idea. The Giant Spider Invasion is not only a far worse film than Alien: Resurrection, it’s so bad that I wish I had found something else for this slot in the Giant Monstershow.

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