If there is one thing that the 50’s is known for in the realm of science fiction movies, it was the multitude of giant bug movies. Dozens of movies came out in that decade featuring all sorts of everyone’s favorite arthropods, everything from ants, grasshoppers, scorpions, and of course, spiders. Lots of people tend to have some form of arachnaphobia, so a movie featuring a giant spider attacking people and destroying towns would really be terrifying for them. I’m curious how many people were scared by today’s movie, Earth Vs. The Spider.
The plot: When her father doesn’t come home last night, Carol and her boyfriend Mike head out to look for him. When the discover the wreckage of her father’s truck, the two kids check out a nearby cave to see if he is in there, but what they find is a giant spider’s web, and the spider that built it. Heading back into town, Mike and Carol tell the sheriff what they saw and he agrees to investigate along with their high school science teacher, Mr. Kingman. The group find the body of Carol’s father and are attacked by the spider but they manage to kill it with a large amount of DDT. The spider’s body is taken to the high school gym for study while Mike and Carol sneak back into the cave where Carol dropped the present her father had bought for her. When a band begins to practice their songs for the upcoming dance, the spider is woken up from it’s stunned state and begins attacking the townspeople on it’s way back to the cave. Now the Mr. Kingman and the sheriff must find a way to kill the spider and save Mike and Carol before it is too late.
When this was first released, this was billed as Earth vs. The Spider, but after The Fly became such a huge hit, the studio changed the title on all the promotional material to The Spider to try and cash in on the success. Now aside from all of the giant bug movies, another thing that was featured in a lot of movies from the 50’s was rock and roll, or what passed for it at the time. If you had a bunch of teenagers in a movie, it was almost guaranteed that at some point, their would either be a band playing or a radio playing and the kids would start dancing and having an impromptu party. It started to become so prevalent that the studios began making entire movies dedicated to that premise. Needless to say, rock and roll played a somewhat pivotal part in this movie.
I love the classic sci-fi movies and this movie is definitely one of the good ones. While the story was not as good as in Tarantula, which came out the year before, I think this one had better effects. The acting from the teenagers was ok but I really liked the conflict between the sheriff and Mr. Kingman, the science teacher as they each had their own opinions on what to do with the spider but in the end, put their differences aside to save the kids. One thing that I found especially funny was the mention of two other films that the director made within this movie. A solid example of 50’s sci-fi.
If you are in the mood for a classic bit of sci-fi, then give this movie a try, unless you are afraid of spiders.
Rating: 3 out of 5