The Giant Spider Invasion

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Killer bug movies, arachnids in particular, are as sizable a cornerstone of the killer animal movie as sharks and crocodiles and yet the eight-legged bastards claim a sneaky advantage that their toothier compatriots do not. A phobia. If you claim you’re scared of crocs, gators or sharks, then that’s just labelled as common sense whereas arachnophobia can nail sufferers in their very own home. If you wanted to beat this “irrational” fear, then you may be looking at expensive therapy sessions or even hypnosis; but I have a third option – one that’s mega cheap and only takes an hour an twenty minutes to complete and that’s to sit down and watch Bill Rebane’s 1975 clunker The Giant Spider Invasion. I guarantee than no matter how sensitive you are to our web spinning friends, there’s little to no chance of you being scared here…

Somewhere in Wisconsin where soap presumably fears to tread, a meteorite from another dimension emerges from a black hole and crashes onto the land owned by professional scumbag Dan Kester, but the rocks that lay scattered from the impact hatch to give birth to spiders from another universe – that suspiciously look just like tarantulas from this universe – that start snacking on the livestock in the surrounding area. However, it’s tough to feel particularly bad for Dan as he’s the kind of man who looks like Colonal Sanders’ younger, sex offender brother and who brings a back brace with him when cheating on his incredibly alcoholic and equally awful wife, Ev and in the midst of such heartwarming soliloquies such as “Sometimes the only way I know you’re alive is when you flush the toilet!”, the two seem barely aware of how perilous their situation has become thanks to their staggering booze and infidelity intake.
While Dan is ignoring the randomly mutilated cows on his property and the spiders gaslight Ev to their very existence due to the alarming amounts of booze she’s necking, the rest of the town goes about its stunningly banal business. Salad-avoiding Sheriff Jones makes good natured, but chronically unfunny banter with everyone, while Dave Perkins strives to make out with Ev’s sister, Terry – but elsewhere, middle-aged NASA scientists Dr Vance and Dr Jenny Langer attempt to look into this black hole phenomenon while a May to December romance (no wait, make that an October to December) blossoms among the test tubes.
They’d better get their skates on, because while the normal-sized spiders seem to be taking this whole invasion thing a bit casually, a spider that’s quite a bit larger emerges from the meteor crater to lace its diet with some filth encrusted rednecks – although if it consumes Dan or Ev, it’ll surely need its stomach pumped…

Cheap, amateurish and in places barely even comprehensible, The Giant Spider Invasion hints a white knuckle adventure that sees cities brought to their knees by huge arachnids scuttling over skyscrapers but instead gives us a bunch of hick bottom feeders yelling at each other until the slow moving invaders get sick of their shit and finally kills them.
Ok, yes, there is a giant spider, but the googly-eyed bastard, while impressive in size, simply looks like a dune buggy covered in fur with eight, huge pipe cleaner legs sticking out the side because that’s exactly what it is. Looking as formidable as Fozzie The Bear with a wiffle bat, the thing doesn’t show up until the final third, seemingly has the power to sneak up on people in fields despite being the size of a camper van and wanders aimlessly around the city while people run directly past it while screaming their heads off. While there is admittedly a couple of messy casualties (the picture quality isn’t great but I swear that Dan gets sucked up its butt for some reason) and a few genuine moments that stand out – Ev drinking a bloody mary made out of blended alien spider is a winner – the movie is nothing less than a complete and total wash out. If you think I’m being strangely harsh on a 1970’s, low budget, killer bug movie, then I’ll kindly direct your attention to the superior and legitimately creepy Kingdom Of The Spiders that came two years later and manages to remain mostly serious despite the presence of William Shatner in a lead role…
While we patiently wait for the noticably slow spider to do…. well, anything, we’re forced to endure the ins and outs of a town that seems to be populated with the worst stock characters from other movies. The jokey sheriff is played by Gillian’s Island’s Alan Hale Jr. and the movie insists on using his catchphrases every chance they get to get its money’s worth while everyone else has the chemistry of bits of belly button lint with around half of the dialogue being borderline unintelligible due to copious amounts of slurring – although to be fair, if I had to be in this film I would have been three sheets to the wind too…
Why the director seems to be so obsessed with having the majority of the cast be so hygienically challenged is a mystery (the spiders seem to exclusively target victims who don’t have indoor toilets) as this collection of drunks, bullies, morons and sexual deviants are hardly the sort of people you’d want to cheer for, but things are made even worse by the fact that any night scenes are rendered so incomprehensible you might as well be listening to a fucking radio as you sit in front of a completely black screen for long periods while something is going on onscreen.
However, as borderline unwatchable as The Giant Spider Invasion is, you can take my single star review as a badge of honor that this horribly made movie is a veritable prince among so-bad-its-good movies and many an accidental chuckle is yielded by this tarantula travesty but if you are willing to seek it out, do yourself a favour and try and find the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version for maximum yucks.

An absolute goldmine for bad movie enthusiasts (like myself) at one moment a character states that the titular creepy crawly make the shark from Jaws look like a goldfish – pretty ballsy attitude considering almost every other creature movie even made makes this look like a giant sack of spider shit.

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