Let’s dance.

Earth vs The Spider or The Spider or The Giant Spider is an old schlocky sci-fi film from yesteryear. We follow a group of 30 something highschoolers (kids in this town must be dumb as hell) and their high school science teacher (who is also a professor) as they combat a giant spider and inept law enforcement.

After Carol’s (June Kenney) father goes missing she drags her boyfriend (?) Mike (Gene Persson) to look for clues. Obviously, they wander into a mine and discover a giant screaming spider. They report this to Sheriff Cagle (Gene Roth) who doesn’t believe them. It isn’t until he is prodded into remembering that there is also a missing person that he does anything. He too, finds the giant screaming spider.

As you can probably guess, the spider is more annoying than threatening. If they chose to not have it scream like a banshee every time it was on the screen, we could at least enjoy the efforts at tension. The special effects are primarily done by layering a real spider onto the scene to make it look larger. Sometimes it looks okay, but mostly it is what you’d expect from a film this old. I honestly do not have any complaints with the visual effects of this movie as doing so would be ignoring the technical limitations of the time. However, why on Earth they made the spider so damn loud is beyond me. Spiders are incredibly light and silent—this should have been used to create more tension as it could appear at any moment.

Our characters are also mind-meltingly stupid (as evidenced by their still being in high school I guess). Carol gets over her father’s death in about five minutes after her mom tells her to knock it off (she also seems real busted up about her husband dying). The characters simply have no emotional range here. Mike is probably the worst of them and fits into the whole “you’ve been so moody since your dad died last night” trope we see from men in horror.

Mike is a terrible person who belittles and abuses Carol at every turn. I suppose we could chalk this up to a sign of the times when this movie was made, but it is annoying as hell to watch. All of the characters lurch from inept to oddly scientific with no rhyme or reason.

Aside from being annoying, the biggest fault of this film is that it is boring. We get a couple inconsequential deaths—even the characters don’t seem to care—and a whole lot of nothing on the screen. I think this movie falls into the so bad it is kind of good category for some, but for me it isn’t engaging enough. There’s not enough happening on the screen to make fun of.

Fans of classics will appreciate this one, but there are better horror films from this era. It is streaming right now so there is worse you could do with your time, I guess.

One thought on “Earth vs The Spider (1958) Film Review

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