GIANT SPIDER INVASION, THE (director: Bill Rebane; screenwriters: Robert Easton/Richard L. Huff/story by Richard L. Huff; cinematographer: Jack Willoughby; editor: Barbara Pokras; music: Bill Rebane; cast: Robert Easton (Dan Kester), Leslie Parrish (Ev Kester), Steve Brodie (Dr J.R. Vance), Barbara Hale (Dr Jenny Langer), Alan Hale Jr (Sheriff Jones), Kevin Brodie (Davy Perkins), Dianne Lee Hart (Terry), Christiane Schmidtmer (Helga), Paul Bentzen (Billy Kester), William W. Gillett Jr (Paul Rider, NASA boss), Tain Bodkin (Preacher), Christiane Schmidtmer (Helga), Tain Bodkin (Preacher), Bill Williams (Dutch), Paul Bentzen (Billy Kester); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Richard L. Huff/Bill Rebane; Rhino Home Video; 1975)
“Filled with unintentional humor.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Hack filmmaker Bill Rebane (“The Capture of Bigfoot “/”Invasion from Inner Earth “/”The Alpha Incident”) directs this absurd comic-strip-like low-budget cheesy horror film that’s either a second-rate homage or a ripoff to those sci-fi films in the 1950s like Tarantula (1955). It’s adapted by Richard L. Huff from his own story and his cowriter is Robert Easton-who also stars. The thin story line, filled with unintentional humor and stilted dialogue, concerns nuclear fall-out on a farm in rural Northern Wisconsin, where a small black hole occurs after a mysterious meteor shower hits on the farm property of sleazy small-time cattle rancher and marijuana grower Dan Kester (Robert Easton). Many spiders emerge from cystal geodes found in the farm area and soon the hairy killer spiders become menacing to the community. The spider eggs are mistaken by the repulsive Dan and his sullen drunken wife Ev (Leslie Parrish) as valuable industrial diamonds, but are instead spider eggs. Thinking he’s suddenly rich, the unethical Dan doesn’t report to the authorities the diamonds, the dead cows, or the dead motorcyclist found on his property after the outdoor gamma rays light show and the discovery of the black hole on his property. NASA sends its leading scientist from Houston, Dr. J.R. Vance (Steve Brodie), to investigate and the chauvinist brain teams with Dr. Jenny Langer (Barbara Hale), the scientist who heads the local observatory and reported the strange light show phenomena in the sky and the aftereffects of heavy amounts of radiation in the air. It’s up to these two middle-aged lovebirds to save the world, while the jolly obese sheriff (Alan Hale) cracks lame jokes, an Old Testament fire and brimstone preacher (Tain Bodkin) holds fiery revival meetings, a slovenly Dan pretends to go to the revival meetings but instead bangs the local waitress Helga (Christiane Schmidtmer), and Ev’s hot-looking younger sister Terry (Dianne Lee Hart) dates rich boy newspaper reporter Dave (Kevin Brodie)–hoping to hook him so she doesn’t have to live anymore with her low-life sis and slob brother-in-law. Dave’s dad is the publisher.
The film’s highlight is not the climactic scene with the giant spider, the size of a Volkswagen Beetle (actually a VW covered with fake fur), but when the drunken Ev sips a Bloody Mary which, unknown to her, contains a spider that got blended into the drink.
REVIEWED ON 11/23/2008 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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