Eight Legged Freaks

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Eight Legged Freaks
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ellory Elkayem
Produced by Dean Devlin
Screenplay by Ellory Elkayem
Jesse Alexander
Story by Ellory Elkayem
Randy Kornfield
Starring David Arquette
Kari Wuhrer
Scott Terra
Doug E. Doug
Scarlett Johansson
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography John S. Bartley
Edited by David Siegel
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
July 17, 2002 (2002-07-17)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $45 million[1]

Eight Legged Freaks is a 2002 horror comedy film directed by Ellory Elkayem and starring David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra and Scarlett Johansson. An international co-production between Germany, the United States, and Australia, the plot concerns a collection of spiders that are exposed to toxic waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions and begin killing and harvesting. The film was dedicated to the memory of several people: One was Lewis Arquette, father of the star of the film David Arquette, who had died in 2001 from heart failure, and the other two were Don Devlin and Pilar Seurat, the parents of producer Dean Devlin, who both died of lung cancer in 2000 and 2001, respectively.


The quiet Arizona mining town, Prosperity's problem with giant spiders started with a simple accident where a truck carrying barrels of toxic waste swerved trying not to hit a rabbit, throwing a barrel into the reservoir. Thus, begins the food chain reaction. An exotic spider farmer named Joshua Taft (Tom Noonan) feeds his collection of spiders, which include jumping spiders, tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, male orb-weaver spiders, and a female orb-weaver named Consuela, with crickets caught from the reservoir. As a result, they grow to enormous size, with an ever-increasing appetite. They start terrorizing the town, attacking, killing, abducting and devouring people. So begins the battle between the giant spiders and the people of Prosperity.



Director Ellory Elkayem got the idea from his 1997 short film, Larger Than Life, which also handled a spider-fighting storyline.

The film was originally titled Arac Attack (under which it was released in some parts of Europe and other countries around the world) but its similarity to "Iraq Attack" made the title seem inappropriate near the start of the Iraq War.[citation needed]

The title Eight Legged Freaks is a line that Arquette ad-libbed in the movie: "Get back, you eight-legged freaks!"[citation needed]

Filming locations
  • The town of Prosperity does not exist in Arizona. The scenes inside Prosperity Mall were actually shot in an abandoned mall in Glendale, Arizona. The location was formerly Valley West Mall and also known as Manistee town center. This movie would be the last operation that took place in the mall, as it was demolished soon after shooting was completed. The Mall land was redeveloped into a retail strip afterwards.
  • The scenes in Aunt Gladys's house in the kitchen and in Gladys' basement were filmed at the Manistee Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, directly adjacent to the Mall itself.
  • Some of the town scenes were shot in the old copper mining town of Superior, Arizona.
Spiders used in the film
Alternate credits
  • The alternate beginning is an extended version in which Harlan does a broadcast promoting the mall, after which a worker at the mall sees Wade having the toxic waste put in the basement.
  • In the alternate ending, after the mines are blown up, the townsfolk walk down a road to get help. They meet up with Pete and Harlan who were walking through the desert, Pete trying to convince Harlan the spiders were not aliens. Afterward, Sam and Chris kiss as the scene ends.

Video game[edit]

A video game adaptation titled Eight Legged Freaks: Let the Squashing Begin was also released in 2002 for PC and Mac and could be downloaded from the official website, which is currently inactive.[2]


On January 5, 2003, the news-website Moviehole reported that Eight Legged Freaks 2 was in development, but no additional information has come forth since then.[3]


Eight Legged Freaks was met with mixed reviews. It currently holds an approval rating of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes stating: "This homage to the B-movies of the '50s has a promising first half, but runs out of ideas in the second".[4]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[5]


External links[edit]