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Kingdom of the Spiders

1977 film directed by John Cardos

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Right Up Your Legs!

  • Jun 14, 2011
In this typically crude John Cardos thriller, a horde of hungry spiders in rural Arizona organize to eat - first livestock and pets, then their human masters (especially the malicious ones). A rugged local veterinarian (William Shatner, in his mid-'70s slump) joins forces with a frigid entomologist (Tiffany Bolling) to confront this theraphosid menace, which terrorizes a cattle farmer (Woody Strode) before moving onto his neighbors. In the meantime, a provincial mayor (prolific character actor Roy Engel, in his final performance) complicates matters by resorting to the use of DDT, a course of action which the film's protagonists oppose in a topical manner. It's mostly as one would expect, but the sheer number of spiders assembled for this tarantulan massacre (5,000!) is enough to draw a viewer's bemused notice. Cardos' direction here is identical to that of The Dark two years later: competently pedestrian, zooming for effect every fifteen minutes.

As usual, Shatner's performance is anything but kosher, and he's at his hammy best with the script's sillier scenarios. He generates no romantic heat whatsoever opposite love interest Bolling, who's all forehead, cheekbones, and mandible, barking too many of her lines shrilly. Probably the best acting here is that of a tense Woody Strode as the tormented rancher whose livelihood is endangered by marauding arachnids; unlike most of his fellow cast members, Strode grapples with a lot of dumb dialogue and comes away retaining some dignity. As this is just one of many cheesy B-features (see also: Impulse, The Devil's Rain) and TV movies that Shatner starred in before being beamed back up as the figurehead of a wildly successful theatrical franchise, it's anyone's guess if he even remembers this movie.

As schlocky as the script, this flick's music is an odd combination of gawky Dorsey Burnette songs, stock tunes by the likes of Richard Markowitz and Dominic Frontiere, and Twilight Zone cues composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of which serves as the main theme.

In summary: tarantulas galore overtake small-scale civilization and a Shatnerian mating ritual is documented in what might be a good companion to The Bat People or Jaws of Satan in a double feature. If you see it on TV at 3 A.M., it's worth a watch. Otherwise, move on...
Right Up Your Legs! Right Up Your Legs! Right Up Your Legs! Right Up Your Legs!

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More Kingdom of the Spiders reviews
review by . May 15, 2009
Kingdom of the Spiders is one of the many low budget films that "Captain Kirk" worked on during the seventies. Despite being too theatrical of an actor and his constant flirting with his female co-stars, Shatner was the man. No matter what lame movie he was shooting, Shatner always found the time to mug for the camera and cruise through his performances with a smirk or with his eye bulging out of his head. People may mock him for his odd music career but the man can work a cigarette and still make …
review by . February 23, 2004
Pros: ..     Cons: ..     The Bottom Line: ________        I’ll admit I bought this for two reasons, no three reasons. It was cheap, less than $6, I wanted to laugh at Shatner, and it was the “Special 25th Anniversary Edition”. Well, I got to laugh at Shatner so it wasn’t a total bomb, the $6 was still too much to pay and the 25th anniversary - nothing came of that.      When a movie starts …
About the reviewer
Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #2
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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About this movie


$50,000 of the film's budget went towards obtaining tarantulas.
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Director: John Cardos
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: August 24, 1977
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Alan Caillou, Richard Robinson
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Arachnid Productions Ltd.
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