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1 rating: 1.0
1950s Horror movie

Kindly Dr. Reemer (Leo G. Carroll) has big plans for his new radioactive serum. It makes animals grow at a fantastic rate, and this could solve the world's food shortage, but when an accident at his Arizona laboratory leads to a tarantula injected … see full wiki

Director: Jack Arnold
Release Date: 1955
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Tarantula

Tarantula – 1955

  • Mar 15, 2002
Pros: how to make a bad movie good

Cons: please don't force me to comment

The Bottom Line: Good look at old 'monster' movies

note – spoiler alert - Just because I knew you would be dying to find out, I’ve told it all end of note

Well, well, well ….. here we are back in the labs and splicing a gene and screwing with DNA once again. Of course, back in 1955, they didn’t know about gene splicing or DNA (or maybe they did, where else would all this bizarre information in movies come from?), they were more interested in finding a better way to feed humanity. Sure, that’s it, a better way for life.

So, we have another demented professor played by Leo G. Carroll, that decides if he just changes a little bit here and a little bit there, we will have a more balanced food for critters, causing them to grow faster and supply the food chain a little quicker. Of course, we are never satisfied with this basic information, as demented scientists always do, they consider – hummm? Humans? But first, let’s try this out on this cute itty, bitty spider. Uh, oh! Big problem, with the emphasis on big here.

Naturally, his lab assistant tried a little of the serum himself, as they were wont to do in these older movies. Disastrous results on this bad boy as well as he is set with a little case of chronic hyperpituitarism. As in The Invisible Man, the assistant goes heartily insane, releasing the ever growing and voracious arachnid into the desert wilds.

Flies don’t satisfy this guy for long and he slowly starts eliminating the cattle population in the surrounding area. He eats a car or two, but doesn’t care for their taste apparently since he promptly spits them right back out. Finding the cattle less than filling, he starts in on humans, a much tastier source of protein apparently.

Finally realizing that they are powerless against this creature, which has grown about the size of the Empire State Building, the Air Force comes into play with the head pilot none other than a young and delightful Clint Eastwood, who blasts the spider with some bombs before dropping napalm. Frankly, I woulda gone with the napalm from the beginning, but that is just me, I don’t like those damn spiders.

For a movie of this age and makeup, it was somewhat decent if predictable. Of course, when released, it was terrifying, that huge lumbering spider walking all around the desert and town, munching everything in sight. Since then, with all the new computer generated stuff around, it is downright funny. But he is still a mean looking spider.

The acting was so overblown it caused laughter then and now. The women, once again, stand in their snappy little dresses and gloves, hands over their hearts, acting terrified. The men, in suits and hats, stand back and watch the creature come toward them without moving an inch. And everyone is so damn sincere!

But that was then, when creatures walked the Earth and we looked for bigger and better ways to destroy them, and ourselves. This is now and it looks like we have won that battle since we are achieving destruction on a daily basis. This is progress?

No nominations for this kids, let’s be realistic here. Directed by Jack Arnold, who used some unique shots of the desert to add terror to the movie. Written by Martin Berkeley, based on a story by Jack Arnold and Robert Fresco.

Stars: John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva and oh yeah, Clint Eastwood. Tell me, where do they get these damn ideas? Yep, I’ll give it a thumbs up, why not.


The Oracle says: Nestor Paiva has a Bacon number of 2.
Nestor Paiva was in With a Song in My Heart (1952) with Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner was in Wild Things (1998) with Kevin Bacon ***

***Compliments of: Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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