The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on November 13th, 2021 | Movie Review | Campy, Creature, Spider, B-Horror

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It’s about an invasion – of spiders – which start out small and end up tall.

The Giant Spider Invasion was directed by Bill Rebane (The Capture of Bigfoot and Monster a Go-Go) and stars Steve Brodie (Frankenstein Island), his son, Kevin Brodie (The Night of the Grizzly), and Barbara Hale (Della Street from Perry Mason), who is not related to co-star Alan Hale Jr. (Skipper from Gilligan’s Island).

What happens when a black hole hits Earth and tarantulas begin to emerge from geodes?

The Giant Review

The basic idea of The Giant Spider Invasion can be summed up with this bit of earnestly-delivered dialogue between two astronomers:

Dr. Langer:                  Looks like our black hole has turned into an open doorway to hell.

Dr. Vance:                   And we’re gonna have to find a way to close it.

The 1970s were still the golden age of B movies. Cast ‘the Skipper’ from Gilligan’s Island as the local sheriff, fold in a cast of flawed Stephen King characters sleeping around and drinking too much, one apocalyptic preacher, and half a bar-full of misfits, set it all in rural Northern Wisconsin – and stir with a generous helping of tarantulas. You’ve got yourself a pretty fine flick.

Plus, the film is required to abide by that unwavering rule of 1970s cinema: Each and every fender-bender must conclude with a spectacular car explosion.

To a large degree, given the low budget (most of which was expended those car explosions), the plot has to be helped along by actors covering both sides of telephone conversations with chatter like: “What’s that? You say that spiders are invading? Well, have you tried squishing them? You have and they’re still coming strong?”

The special effects here are noteworthy. Initially, the film utilizes pet store tarantulas and lots of Halloween store cobwebs. As the spiders get bigger, the effects team constructs some genuine large spider contraptions to lumber about. Purportedly, the spider locomotion effect was achieved by means of putting a Volkswagen Beetle in a spider suit and driving it – spider-like – in first gear/attack mode. Would that be a dream job or what?

The crowd and vigilante-mob scenes are well assembled, too. Director Bill Rebane has a gift for portraying the shotgun-armed mob pursuing the giant spider as well as the streams of carnival-goers fleeting. In fact, in the last act of the film, it’s as if mobs and giant spiders have replaced the characters. They move with the fluidity of actors.

Is this an attempt at nuanced social commentary – or just giant spiders? You be the judge.

Worth Watching?

Why not?

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