Earth vs. the Spider
|Earth vs. the Spider|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Produced by||Bert I. Gordon|
|Written by||Laszlo Gorog
George Worthing Yates
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Cinematography||Jack A. Marta|
|Edited by||Walter E. Keller|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Release date(s)||September 1958|
|Running time||73 minutes|
Earth vs. the Spider (also known as The Spider and Earth vs. the Giant Spider) is a 1958 American black-and-white science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon, who also wrote the story, upon which the screenplay by George Worthing Yates and Laszlo Gorog is based. It starred Ed Kemmer, Eugene Persson and June Kenney.
Jack Flynn is driving down a highway at night, looking at a bracelet he has bought his daughter for her birthday. Suddenly he hits something and his vehicle crashes. The next morning, his teenage daughter Carol, concerned her "bad-dog" father didn't come home last night, convinces her boyfriend Mike to go looking with her for him. They find his crashed truck and the bracelet, but not his body. Thinking he crawled into a nearby cave, they investigate. In the cave they fall onto the gigantic orb web of an enormous spider, a Mexican redleg tarantula, which emerges from behind some rocks to get them. They manage to escape and make it back to town.
Carol and Mike have a hard time convincing the Sheriff about the giant spider, but with the help of their science teacher, Mr. Kingman, they go take a look and when they are at the cave again the missing man's body is discovered drained of fluid. The spider attacks again convincing the sheriff, who orders large amounts of DDT to kill the giant spider, and appears successful. The apparently lifeless body of the spider is taken back to town to the high school gym where Kingman wants to study it. A group of teenagers uses the gym to practice rock and roll numbers they are going to play for a school dance. As other teenagers enter the gym they begin dancing and the giant tarantula regains consciousness and the kids run out of the gym screaming while the janitor, stopping to call the sheriff, is killed.
The spider breaks out of the gym and terrorizes the town, killing a number of people before it heads back to its cave. It also pays Mrs. Kingman and her baby an unwelcome visit at their home until her husband, in his car, bangs the creature at its leg and leads it from the house. The Sheriff along with Kingman decide to use dynamite to seal the spider in, but they discover Carol and Mike are in the cave looking for the bracelet her father had bought her, which she had lost the first time in the cave. The spider chases them out onto a narrow ledge. Kingman acquires a couple of large electrodes. They run cables outside to some power lines as the tarantula is descending on a strand of web to get at the trapped teenagers. Kingman throws Mike one of the electrodes, and then they turn on the juice and electrocute the spider. The arachnid falls, impaling itself on stalagmites at the bottom of the cave.
- Ed Kemmer as Mr. Kingman
- June Kenney as Carol Flynn
- Eugene Persson as Mike Simpson
- Gene Roth as Sheriff Cagle
- Hal Torey as Mr. Simpson
- June Jocelyn as Mrs. Flynn
- Mickey Finn as Sam Haskel
- Sally Fraser as Mrs. Helen Kingman
- Troy Patterson as Joe
- Skip Young as Sam (the bass player)
- Howard Wright as Jake
- Bill Giorgio as Deputy Sheriff Sanders"
- Hank Patterson as Hugo (High School Janitor)
- Jack Kosslyn as Mr. Fraser (camera club teacher)
- Bob Garnet as Springdale Pest Control Man
- Shirley Falls as the Switchboard Operator
- Bob Tetrick as Deputy Sheriff Dave
- Nancy Kilgas as a Dancer
- George Stanley as One of the men in the Cavern
- David Tomack as the Power Line Foreman
- Merritt Stone as Jack Flynn (Carol's Dad)
- Dick D'Agostin as The Pianist
The film's original title was Earth vs. the Spider but when The Fly, also released in 1958, became a blockbuster, the film company changed the name to The Spider on all advertising material. The original screen title, however, was never changed.
The movie theater in which Mike works is showing Attack of the Puppet People, an earlier Bert I. Gordon movie starring June Kenney, according to the marquee and also a prominently displayed poster. It was the last film Bert I Gordon made for AIP for a number of years, with the director claiming the studio were not paying him appropriately. However he returned to them in the 1970s.
The film was released on VHS by Columbia/RCA on April 28, 1993. The film was released on DVD in February 2006 along with War of the Colossal Beast (1958).
Earth vs. the Spider was featured on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 in season 3. A clip from the film can be briefly seen during the 2002 film "Lilo & Stitch" while Stitch is looking in an appliance store window.
- Arkoff, Samuel Z.; Trubo, Richard (July 1, 1992). Flying Through Hollywood by the Seat of My Pants: From the Man Who Brought You I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Muscle Beach Party (illustrated ed.). Secaucus, New Jersey, USA: Carol Publishing Group. p. 213. ISBN 9781559721073. OCLC 25372204. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- McGee, Mark Thomas (1996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures (illustrated, revised ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland & Company. p. 117. ISBN 9780786401376. OCLC 33207391. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- Earth vs. the Spider at the Internet Movie Database
- Earth vs. the Spider at AllMovie
- Earth vs. the Spider at the TCM Movie Database