Earth vs. the Spider

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For the 2001 television film, see Earth vs. the Spider (2001 film).
Earth vs. the Spider
Spiderposter.jpg
Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Produced by Bert I. Gordon
Written by László Görög
George Worthing Yates
Starring Ed Kemmer
June Kenney
Eugene Persson
Gene Roth
Hal Torey
Sally Fraser
June Jocelyn
Music by Albert Glasser
Cinematography Jack A. Marta
Edited by Walter E. Keller
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release date
September 1958 (1958-09)
Running time
73 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000[1]

Earth vs. the Spider (a.k.a. The Spider and Earth vs. the Giant Spider) is an independently made 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. The film stars Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, and Eugene Persson. The special effects were by Bert I. Gordon and Paul Blaisdell. Earth vs. the Spider was released by American International Pictures on a double bill with either The Brain Eaters or The Screaming Skull.

Plot[edit]

Jack Flynn is driving down a highway at night, looking at a bracelet he has bought his daughter for her birthday, when he hits something and his vehicle crashes. The next morning, his teenage daughter Carol, is concerned that her ne'er do well father didn't come home last night. She convinces her boyfriend Mike to assist in a search for her father. 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 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 return to the cave and find the missing man's body, drained of fluids. The spider attacks again convincing the sheriff, who orders large amounts of DDT to kill the giant spider. 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. The music awakens the giant tarantula and crashes through wall of the gym. The janitor, stopping to call the sheriff, is killed.

The spider terrorizes the town, killing a number of people before it heads back to its cave. The Sheriff along with Kingman use dynamite to seal the spider in, but then discover Carol and Mike had gone into the cave to retrieve the bracelet her father had bought her. Kingman acquires a couple of large electrodes from the power company and runs cables to some power lines as the tarantula is descending on a strand of web to get at the trapped teenagers. Kingman and Mike use the electrodes to electrocute the spider. The arachnid falls, impaling itself on stalagmites at the bottom of the cave.

Cast[edit]

  • 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 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

Production[edit]

Lobby card under the alternate title The Spider

The film's original on-screen title is Earth vs. the Spider, but when The Fly (also released in 1958) became a blockbuster, the title was shortened to just The Spider on all of the advertising material. The original screen title, however, was never changed, so the film is frequently referred to by the title Earth vs. the Spider.

The movie theater in which Mike works displays a film poster prominently advertising the The Amazing Colossal Man, while the marquee shows that it is currently running Attack of the Puppet People, which happens to also star June Kenney. Both of these films were also directed by Bert I. Gordon. Attack of the Puppet People was the last film Bert I Gordon made for AIP for a number of years, with the director claiming the studio had not paid him appropriately. However, he returned to AIP in the 1970s.[2]

Some of the cave interiors were filmed using stills from Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, with live action scenes filmed at Bronson Caves in Griffith Park near Los Angeles.[3]

Reception[edit]

Influence[edit]

  • Earth vs. the Spider was featured on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 in season 3.
  • In the 2002 film Lilo & Stitch, a clip of Earth vs. the Spider is shown on a television set while Stitch is looking in an appliance store window.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Earth vs. the Spider. IMDb filming locations", Retrieved December 17, 2015

Bibliography[edit]

  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009, ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links[edit]