horror, movie, movie review, thriller

June 9th, 2019 Movie – Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo

tarantulas the deadly cargo

So I decided to go ahead and continue watching/reviewing some old TV movies from the 70’s this month. Today’s movie is one that I remember watching once as a kid back in the 2nd/3rd grade. The problem is, I kind of mixed portions of this movie with Kingdom Of The Spiders, which came out in theaters the same year and I had seen about the same time. When I obtained my copy of Kingdom Of The Spiders, and realized that some of the scenes I remembered where not in that movie, I considered trying to locate the movie that had those scenes in it, but will admit that I didn’t put much effort into it. Then I came across a couple of old movies on YouTube and realized that one of them was the movie I remembered. That is how I came to find myself watching Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo today.

The plot: At a small airstrip in Ecuador, some farmers are loading sacks of coffee beans onto a plane, not noticing that some tarantulas are getting into the bags with the beans. The two pilots, Buddy and Fred, are discussing how much money they will make selling the coffee back in the states when some Federales show up, telling them that they owe $300 as an export tax. Having no money between them, Buddy and Fred try to bribe the officers with some of the coffee but when the men refuse, they get the money buy agreeing to smuggle some men into the US on their plane. After paying off the officials, they get their plane ready to take off, sneaking the men on board as they move the plane to the runway. As they fly through the night, the fly into a storm, where the turbulence causes the bags to fall over and the tarantulas escape and bite one of the men in the cargo hold. The next day, one of the engines goes out on their plane and Buddy and Fred attempt an emergency landing near the small town of Finleyville, CA, but some of the tarantulas had made it into the cockpit when Fred had gone to check on the men in the hold and begin attacking the two pilots, causing them to lose control of the plane and crash. Cindy Beck and Joe Harmon, who had been in contact with the plane when it crashed, call the town’s emergency services and then head out to see if they can help. As a crowd starts to form in the area, Joe talks with Bert Springer, one of the town leaders and head of the volunteer fire department, and when they notice fuel leaking from the wing, the work on getting a trench built around the plane to contain the fuel. As the trench is finished, a kid riding a dirt bike rides up but loses control of his bike, crashing into the trench and causing the fuel to ignite. The fire department works on getting the fire under control, not noticing that the tarantulas are escaping from the plane. Once the fire is contained, Joe and Bert head inside to check if anyone is inside, finding one survivor, while Doc Hodgins oversees getting Buddy and Fred out of the cockpit, with Fred being the only one still alive. As Mayor Douglas talks with Hodgins to ask what could have caused the crash and the mens deaths, worrying that any negative press or possible plague could have an impact on their orange harvest, a man that had been stealing some of the coffee from the plane is bitten by a spider and goes into convulsions, though nobody saw the spider. The next day, a teacher is bitten by a tarantula and dies and when another teacher finds the spider and takes it to Hodgins, he checks the teacher and compares it’s fangs to the wound he found on her leg. Hodgins contacts Joe, who was riding in the ambulance with the two survivors, and when they find bites on them as well, Joe tells Hodgins to have Cindy pick him up, then has the ambulance pull over so he can get out. Joe and Cindy head to the plane to see if they can find some more spiders there and after finding one, they take it to a friend of Joe’s in L.A., who identifies it as a Banana Spider, one of the most venomous and aggressive spiders in the world. As Hodgins talks with Bert about the spider, Cindy’s brother Matthew attempts to grab one that was in a truck full of oranges that was leaving the packaging plant, and ends up getting bitten and dies. Meanwhile, Mayor Chad Douglas is with an inspector, who approves of the plant’s oranges, and he makes plans to get them shipped out, unaware that all of the spiders have been drawn to the plant due to all of the oranges inside. When Joe and Cindy arrive back in town and learn about Matthew’s death, Joe heads to the plant with a container of strong pesticide so he can kill the spiders but Bert stops him, as it would ruin the crop. As the townsfolk gather at the plant and argue over what they should do, Chad says that they have only 16 hours to before the train arrives to pick up the oranges and if they don’t make it on the train, the town will be monetarily finished. Joe gets the book his friend loaned him about the spiders and learns that they will become paralyzed when they hear the droning of wasps, their mortal enemy, so the townsfolk come up with a plan to get rid of the spiders. Recording the droning of angry bees, they place speakers inside the warehouse, then place some fruit in the middle of an open area to lure in some insects, which will attract the spiders. When a large group of spiders converges on the fruit, they begin playing the recording, causing the spiders to freeze up. After they are sure the spiders are paralyzed, Bert, Joe, Cindy, and some other people head inside and begin grabbing the paralyzed spiders, dropping them in buckets of gasoline and alcohol to kill them. As the people outside watch their progress, Rich, who is part owner of the warehouse, attempts to burn the warehouse down to collect on the insurance money but trips on the roof and falls off, taking out the power lines as he falls. With the power out, the automatic doors close, trapping the people inside the warehouse just as the spiders start moving again. Steve, who had seen Rich head up to the roof, decides to head up the same way and enters the warehouse, then leads the trapped people back outside. As they make it outside, Chad manages to get some people to repair the lines so that they can continue getting rid of the spiders and save the oranges.

You know, sometimes you have to give props to the simplistic approach to movies, especially the made-for-TV variety. This was actually a pretty decent movie, because they went with a more simple, and somewhat realistic approach to it instead of going for a more flashy/showy style like with Kingdom Of The Spiders. The acting was pretty good, with Claude Akins (Bert), Charles Frank (Joe), Deborah Winters (Cindy), and Pat Hingle (Hodgins) doing good jobs in their roles. Even though they had smaller roles, I also liked Tom Atkins (Buddy) and Howard Hesseman (Fred), but I did wish they could have done more in the movie. The story was pretty simplistic in it’s scope, with the idea that the venomous spiders were accidentally scooped into the bags with the coffee, then got free after the crash being pretty believable. Since they had such a simple plot to follow, the actors really had to ramp up the tension and drama to help sell the movie. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects outside of the plane crash, as mostly you had people just interacting with the spiders, which honestly wasn’t too scary unless you suffer from arachnaphobia. A decent TV movie that is worth watching if you are in the mood for a “bug” movie, but not one that is an absolutely must see.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum

Flashback Review: April 26th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (2012)

bigfoot 2012

Ahh, an Asylum movie that involves Bigfoot. This sounds like it should be a lot of fun, so let’s see what exactly we have here. Two rival musicians as the main characters, who are at odds with each other in the film. A giant monster that terrorizes the region. A third musician that gets killed by the title monster. You know something, this honestly sounds pretty familiar to me. Wait a minute….I got it. This is just a reboot of Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Ok, I know it really isn’t but you have to admit that on some levels, Bigfoot (2012) does kind of seem that way. Well, let’s see how similar, or different, they are.

The plot: Outside of Deadwood, SD, a hunter lines up his shot and shoots a bear but before he can approach his trophy, he is attacked and killed by a large Bigfoot. Meanwhile, radio DJ Harley Anderson is using his show to complain about the freak snow storm the area is getting in April, as well as promote his 80’s flashback festival next week. When his show is finished, Harley heads out to the site of the festival and tells the foreman setting up the stages to clear out some trees. Harley’s former band mate, Simon Quint, has become an environmentalist and, along with some teenage followers, attempt to stop them by chaining themselves to the bulldozers but one of the drivers proceeds to start moving anyways, dragging the kids behind him. Sheriffs Becky Alvarez and Walt Henderson show up and stop the bulldozer and after listening to Harley and Simon arguing over who should be arrested, they end up taking Simon into custody. Harley’s crews get back to work but as one man heads into the woods to start cutting down some trees, he is attacked by Bigfoot. Bigfoot then heads after the rest of Harley’s crew, killing several of them and destroying the vehicles, causing a fire to break out. The fire is eventually put out and the fire chief shows him the footprints left in the snow but Harley says the festival is still on. As the festival draws closer, a couple in an RV are driving towards town when they accidentally hit Bigfoot, who throws the RV off the road. With the festival one day away, Mayor Tommy Gillis wants to pull the plug on the festival, but Harley tells him he can work out a deal with Simon to get him to stop trying to ruin the festival. Harley meets with Simon and offers to let him perform at the festival as a way to get his message out and Simon agrees to the deal. On the day of the festival, the snow has finally stopped but many of the acts, as well as the fans, have not shown up. Simon heads out to perform to a lackluster crowd while back stage, Alice Cooper, Harley’s special guest, complains about the event and threatens to quit. Harley sabotages Simon’s performance, causing feedback that wakes up Bigfoot from his cave and sends him heading towards the festival. When Alice Cooper starts performing, Bigfoot attacks the festival, killing several of the attendees and kicking Alice Cooper off the stage, killing him. As the news reports on the catastrophe, the National Guard is brought in to try and locate and kill Bigfoot but Simon tries to organize a movement to save him. Harley calls Al Hunter, a hunter friend of his, and hires him to come down and kill Bigfoot for him. As Bigfoot continues to terrorize the town, killing anyone that ventures into the forest, Simon tries to come up with a way to tranquilize it instead of killing it so it can be taken to a preserve. Harley joins Al and his team and they head out to try and kill Bigfoot but are unable to do so and Al loses two of his team members. Harley then talks with Mayor Gillis and convinces him to let him try and capture or kill Bigfoot and turn it into a tourist attraction. He then sends someone in to steal Simon’s tranquilizers so that he can use them for his plan. Simon and some of his group head out to try and track Bigfoot and run into Becky, who is searching for it as well. They find some tracks and Becky notices a cave nearby and goes to investigate it, with Simon and one of his group following her. The two team members left outside are attacked and killed by Bigfoot and when Becky, Simon, and the others go try to help, Simon realizes that his tranquilizer darts are missing. Harley and Al show up in a helicopter and try luring Bigfoot out to the open so Harley can get a clear shot at it. As Simon and Beth try to get away from Bigfoot, it continues to chase them as a National Guard tank fires at Bigfoot, burning it with it’s explosive shells and finally chasing it away. As new plans are made to deal with Bigfoot, Becky and Walt realize it is using the cave systems to travel around and try to figure out where it will show up next. Bigfoot ends up in Rapid City and begins a rampage there. Harley and Al hire some local hunters to help them try to stop Bigfoot but several of the men end up heading off early and get killed. As the rest of the hunters try to trap and kill it, Harley notices Simon flying by on his glider and shoots him down, refusing to let him stop his plans but Bigfoot still gets away. Simon and Priya, the only member of his team still there, head out to the caves to try and tranquilize Bigfoot. Meanwhile, Becky and Walt try their own way to stop him but Walt ends up getting killed in the process. Harley and Al make their way past a National Guard blockade and enter the caves looking for Bigfoot, with Al accidentally shooting Priya and wounding her when Simon and Priya surprise them. Hearing Bigfoot approaching, Al panics and runs out of the cave, followed by Harley, Simon, and Priya and Al ends up being killed by the National Guard by accident while Priya is killed by Bigfoot. Bigfoot makes it’s way to Mount Rushmore and Becky leads the National Guard to try and kill it. When the helicopter she is in is brought down, she sees Bigfoot climbing to the top of Mount Rushmore and calls in an airstrike. Simon and Harley both head to Mount Rushmore, with Simon still intending to try and tranquilize Bigfoot while Harley wants to kill it. The two end up fighting on the top of Lincoln’s head and Harley falls off the edge, Simon reaches down to try and save Harley as Bigfoot approaches them, and Simon reaches out to him for help. Seeing them on the monument, Becky tries to call off the air strike but is too late and as the missiles hit the monument, Harley, Simon, and Bigfoot are knocked off the monument and fall to the ground, where they are buried underneath the rubble. One year later, Mayor Gillis is on hand to dedicate a statue to the memory of Harley and Clint, celebrating them as heroes, while Mount Rushmore is also being rebuilt.

Yeh, it’s hard not to think that they took the plot of Mega Python vs Gatoroid and tweaked it a little because there really are a lot of similarities to it. That being said, this was a pretty decent movie, although it was a little slow to start. The acting was ok, with Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce doing decent jobs as Simon and Harley respectively. I honestly thought that Bruce Davison (Walt), Sherilyn Fenn (Becky), and Howard Hesseman (Mayor Gillis) gave better performances while Alice Cooper’s brief appearance was just hilarious. The story honestly felt a little disjointed, as the starting point of Simon trying to save the forest from Harley was then transferred to trying to save Bigfoot, but it just felt odd with everything else going on in the movie. I liked the design of Bigfoot and how they showed it’s face taking the damage from when it was burned throughout the movie. That being said, the CGI looked a little weak and there were times where the scale felt off with the Bigfoot, as it’s size kept seeming to change somewhat in scale with the people when it was attacking them. I mean, it would always be bigger/taller than them but sometimes the size difference was a lot bigger than others. Still, it is another enjoyable movie, at least for me, from The Asylum and if you like their movies, it is worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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