We open with a meteor shower streaking sort of
OK-ly across the night sky, then cut to the interior of a plane where
the occupants (grungy guy, black girl, impatient professor and two
idiettes) are making ooh-ahh noises. The idiettes wonder where
“shooting stars” go. The black gal says they fall to
earth. The idiettes say, get outta here, a star is bigger than the
earth! They are informed that they are meteors, not stars, at which
point they shudder and cringe and wonder if they're going to get hit.
They hope the pilot will fly between the meteors. (This is actually
not a bad idea, but these women are so stupid you automatically
disregard everything they say.) Bear in mind, these are not
kindergartners. They are grown women. Honestly, me calling them
idiettes is neither mean nor hyperbole. If they're not making this
up (and they don't seem to be) they are dumber than the very rocks
cascading around them.
Black gal (Chondra) makes her way to the
cabin. She introduces herself to the pilot, who looks like one of
the guys from that show, Friends. She says that Grungy Guy (Deke) is
a grad student, Professor is an expert on paleontological life, and
the two idiettes are also students (which answers the question,
“We're you born stupid, or did you study?”). There's
some sexual bantering, and Pilot asks why they're going to Arizona.
A colleague of Prof's has found an unusual dinosaur fossil.
talk about how meteors usually burn up in the atmosphere, then a big
green one shoots by and explodes in the ground before them. A big
green atomic type explosion, that throws the plane into
The plane crashes pretty spectacularly (wings and
tail shorn off) but of course Grungy sleeps through it all. He wakes
up, thinks the plane is gonna blow, and throws himself on the ground
(about ten feet from the plane). Then he runs away, whimpering.
Man, this Shaggy act is already tiresome. Hope he gets et first.
The rest of them all wake up and escape the plane afore it blows.
Deke pretends to be hurt, and I still hate those two girls. And I
hate Deke too. C'mon, spiders. Nice fresh idjits! Well, we find
out Pilot is named Shawn. And they're all gonna hike to find a town
or something. Idiettes are whining and whining and Prof tells em to
shut up. Good for you, Prof.
Uh, oh—infrared POV of our
intrepid band. But they find an abandoned house. They build a fire
and Shawn gets the pump going. No, no--the water pump, you guys,
with your dirty minds. They also find some moonshine. And Deke
drinks it right up. Deke and the Idiettes are really well hated by
me at this point. Prof and Shawn start getting on each others'
nerves. Prof is a bit of prick, see, and Shawn is kind of sensible,
More POV of cattle, and a quick shot of a spider face.
Interestingly enough, the POVs of the cattle are all normal vision,
while the shots of the spider are tinted red. Um, it must have been
looking in a mirror. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, the POV attacks the
Back inside, one idiette is taking a bath, and Deke is all
whining about wanting to peek. Then the makeshift door falls down
and everyone gets a peek, to a brief wailin' sax. Deke whines like a
dog and grabs the moonshine jug again. Oh Shaggy, you're so lovably
hopeless, will you ever learn!
Idiettes are having a water fight,
giving us a bit of nudity. Shaggy can't take it anymore and goes for
a walk. C'mon spiders! Let's get going, here! I mean, “the
early spider catches the Deke” and all. Prof and Shawn argue a
bit more, and I think Prof reminds me a whole lot of Jeffrey Combs.
He has the same clipped, supercilious delivery laced with a
touch-and-a-half of contempt. He's just older than Jeff and is
losing his hair, other than that he could be Jeff's uncle. More
chatter about stuff, by the way.
Back to Shaggy, he's going to
peek at the gals. He gets an eyeful (“It just doesn't get any
better than this!”--man, his internet access must be terrible),
before a gun pokes the back of his neck.
It's Angry Farmer time.
He kicks Shaggy (still alive, damn it) back into the house and asks
what the hell everyone's doing here. Except, when you imagine that
being said, imagine it acted much worse than you were imagining it.
“Who are you?” asks Shawn. “I'm Otis Cobb, and I
own this place.” “You live here?” “Hell no,
who'd live in a sh*thole like this? But I own it all the same, which
makes you tresspassers.” Thank you, Angry Farmer, for the
first joke in the film which made me...well, it didn't make me laugh,
but I could see how it was funny. There's some more talk, in which
Angry Farmer says his ownership of the gun entitles him to answers
and such. It's more amusing than I made it out, there, but not by
much, I'm not holding out on you.
Anyway, he sees naked Idiette
and says these are the kind of tresspassers to have. “Thank
you,” says Idiette coyly. And we cut to some other place.
random guys are putting the horses away for the night. One of them
gets into his truck and squashes a toy spider. Then the truck
shakes, and in a really quick shot, a giant, house-size spider
skitters over the truck in stop-motion.
A digression. I love
stop-motion. It rarely looks “real” but, like
black-and-white film, it has a reality of its own, with rules and
atmosphere and a kind of “life.” I always enjoy seeing
it. One thing where it works is that, unlike bad CGI, there is no
attempt to say “This is really happening.” You watch the
stop-motion, and know what it is, and enjoy it for that reason. No
one's trying (and failing) to trick you.
Another digression: You
might have noticed how this whole thing is pretty dull (more than
usual I mean) with all this blather and such. And you might be
saying, “Really, I understand how you hate Deke and all, after
all I'm only reading this and I hate him too, and I'm pretty
easy-going, ha ha ha! But when is something entertaining going to
happen? They say movies are your best entertainment value, but
you're not giving me more than a couple of pennies here, and I'm
being more generous than I am usually.” Well, dear reader,
you're right! But you don't know the half of it. There's lots and
lots more dull stuff I could have written about, but didn't. I mean,
mostly all this stuff above is to keep my fingers limber when
something DOES happen. Which it might, any time, I sure hope!
corner: There's a movie out there called Arachnid which is much,
much better than this movie. Yet, the differences between the two
films' titles couldn't be further from the letter grades they would
get! Arachnid would definitely not get a D but Arachnia...well, no A
for sure, but they just might pass if they write an essay for extra
credit. And that's this week's Trivia Corner! I sure have drifted
far afield here, but trust me there's nothing worthwhile on screen
Anyway, Angry Farmer attempts some more comedy and fails and
itches for his Worst Actor Trophy. More talk and blather. Angry
Farmer talks about the meteor, and says he has something cool
everyone should see. Prof says no thanks, but Angry Farmer uses the
gun trick again, so they all troop out to the barn. It's an obvious
sculpture of a giant spider, about the size of a car. I'm sorry, it
doesn't look real at all. It looks like part of a kiddy ride at the
carnival, Ride The Giant Spiders or something like that. Prof
proclaims it a “sideshow prop” made of “paper mache
and chicken wire.” Oh, the Post-Modernism of it all. “An
arthropod of this size is impossible,” Prof goes on, “its
legs would snap if it tried to stand up, its respiratory system could
never support life. No insect has ever grown larger than a foot in
length.” I quote all this because it's true, and I'd like to
see how the film deals with it. And it does by...yelling at the
professor. Basically he's wrong because he's No Fun. Angry Farmer
locks Prof in the barn with the spider (of course, Angry Farmer said
it's been dead for a long time, so big whup), because, um, he was
disrespectful of said spider. I guess. Makes no sense to me. And
next, I'm sparing you from some awful “comedy.” You're
And some more comedy you probably wouldn't like. I'm
sure not liking it, so I'm just guessing. Then a lesbian scene
between the idiettes, but don't get excited, it's very lame and
nothing is shown. Whattaya think this is, Cinemax? Chondra and
Shawn (in different rooms) hear a crappy noise. I mean, creepy.
Man, it's been thirty-two miutes of this, this thing! Help!
a giant spider face crawls down the window! And there's a few
seconds of excitement as folks panic, but apparently the film can't
take too much of this here “excitement” so it's all over
now. Sigh. I suppose it's back to the comedy. Damn it. Only one
idiette and Angry Farmer saw the spider and no one believes them so
the stupid film will be longer. Deke slept through it all. I hate
The next morning...oh, I'll write if anything
interesting happens. Pause.
Um, well, here's
a theory, put out by Angry Farmer. It seems that the spider in the
barn was found in the area after the “Big Earthquake” of
100 years ago. He thinks the recent meteor strike brought another spider up
from deep in the earth. Angry Farmer is going to go check out the
meteor's crater, just to show em! Ha ha, show them all! Hey, that
sounds like a good idea, huh? Let's recast this in more plausible
terms. “I think the earthquake damaged the old army base,
where they stored nerve gas. Maybe some nerve gas got out and killed
those people! I think I'll take myself over to the base and check it
out. Before you start worrying, I have a gun to protect myself from
the gas. Let's you and I go. No, maybe I'd better wait until Friday
the 13th. I'll break this mirror under this ladder of
black cats before I go.” Sound any better? And before you say
that a gun would be OK against a giant spider, these spiders are the
size of houses and we all saw Starship Troopers. Well, I did. And I
bought the laser disk, too. Hey, lots of people did. I bet.
shows up and wants to go, so Angry Farmer and Shawn trick her and
leave without her. She's pretty mad, but really, all I would have
said is, “Chondra, we need to leave someone competant in
charge. Would that be you, Deke, the Idiettes, or PO'd Prof?”
Angry Farmer and Shawn get to this field covered in snow...what the
hell? OK, I guess I wasn't paying attention when they said “Hey,
it's winter-time!” but this really seems out of nowhere. Or
maybe Angry Farmer has been driving around for weeks! He has an old
Chevy truck, I bet it runs on corn-squeezin's, and that's lots of
miles to the gallon I hear. Well, they get to the crater. “See
over there?” Angry Farmer points, and we get this big closeup
of a damn obvious cave in the crater. And they go into the cave. An
old guy, our designated hero (I hope, cos if Deke lives I'll bust
this DVD into a million pieces) and one shotgun. Man, I thought they
were dumb in Starship Troopers....
Oh, now Shawn goes back to the
truck to get the flashlight. And he grabs another gun, too. NOW, he
does this. And he gets back, just in time to see Angry Farmer in the
jaws of a stop-motion spider! He shoots at it a couple of times,
lamely, but it drags off Angry Farmer anyway. You forgot Deke,
Spider! Come back! And, impressed as I am by someone who will do
stop-motion in this day and age, I have to say, the detailing on the
model isn't that great. But, you know, B for effort and all.
Shawn heads back to the farm and tells everyone it's time to go. But
Prof has discovered that the old spider is real. Which we know, of
course, having seen the live one. But Prof has a Discovery which
Will Make Him Famous! So he doesn't want to leave. He also said, a
propo his remarks about size limitations on arthropods, “This
is not a bug. Look at the thorax.” Well, I'm convinced. But
how to prove it? I should point out that spiders don't have a
thorax, insects do. Anyway, sensing a heap of fame for himself, Deke
will help, he'll bring the truck around so they can take the body.
But as he gets into the truck and locks the door (and Shawn threatens
to shoot him—go Shawn!), suddenly Shawn lifts his gun to aim at
something else...is it a spider? No!
Actually, its two spiders!
They're only horse size, but they're after Deke! Go spiders, go go!
Go spiders, go go! YES!!!! They bite him into bits. Good spiders,
now they go after the idiettes! Oh, I like you spiders! But Chondra
stabs one in the eye, and the spiders say, Man, the heck with this.
And they leave. And there's this sad music, about Deke? No, no,
it's about the truck. It's all crumpled up, no escaping in that
vehicle now. And Prof shows up, and vomits. Uh... OK. Glad to see
the movie knows about the finer things in life.
that they just killed Deke but didn't eat him, they just left his
bits there. Prof says something about how “they [Deke's
Pieces, I guess] may be no good to them, dead.” He says he'll
explain. He explains that the “parasitoids” need a live
host to lay their eggs. Shawn says they should bury Deke. Ha, ha,
Rest in Pieces, Deke! Sorry, I am showing my non-sensitive side,
right? Honestly, though, I don't think I've ever hated a character
more than Deke. Not even the Smurfs. Not even Scrappy Doo. Hitler,
yeah, and Stalin, sure. But then they only did bad things. Not bad
Anyway, Shawn goes to get a shovel, and finds a chainsaw
and a case of dynamite. And they bury Deke. And I've spared you
some comedy and assorted dull stuff. No, no...thank you! And
then there's some more comedy, too! No, no, please, I'm just doing
Anyway, it turns out they all had cell phones...yes, all
that time, they had cell phones, and they work just fine in this remote area. Shawn
calls and yells about spiders, and no one believes him. So Chondra
calls and cries to Daddy (but, it's all an act! Ha ha!) and says Prof
tried to molest her! She hangs up and says they should be rescued
Okay, this next humorous bit requires a bit of setting up.
Sorry! Anyway, Prof starts going on about how these are social
creatures and they'll be back, and Shawn takes him into another room
and hits him! Even though Prof is telling the truth, still, Shawn
says, “If you see more of those creatures, you tell everyone,
Oh, those are good monsters, here to help us!” Okay...you're
right, it's not that funny. I'm sorry. No, no, don't spare my
feelings (hey, I didn't write this screenplay...). I thought it was
kind of amusing, and thought I'd tell you. But it was wrong of me.
But, in my defense, you take what you can get, right? And right now,
I have a sense that my life is just slipping away. Cough. It's this
damn movie, I tell you, it makes everything bad.
Anyway, the Prof
lies to everyone to make them feel better about the spiders. Oh,
good plan. Let's calm everyone's fears so when they're bitten in
half, one half will be smiling! And then we get the boarding up the
house montage, laying in supplies for a siege stuff. Nice piano and
drums music. Hey, you take what you can get.
And I'll give the
film props for the interracial romance between Chondra and Shawn. I
mean, it hasn't happened yet, but it's inevitable. Oh, the first
kiss! Now it's daylight? Or do they have really bright lights?
Conflict twist Chondra and Prof. Yawn. Now, Shawn just said that
the bugs won't attack from one side of the house. And he said it
with such confidence that I bet they do just that...oh, hell with it. I'm tired
of the cliches. And whoa, bad effect...look at that tiny fire on
that windmill! (No idea why that previous sentence is there.) More
comedy. By the way, it's not really comedy. That's the intent, but
it just ain't.
OK, Spider attack. Not very well composited with
Shawn on the roof, but props to Shawn for dueling with a chainsaw and
not falling down off said roof, which is slanted. Ever try to even
stand on a slanted roof? It's pretty hard, so fighting a spider at
the same time I imagine would be pretty difficult-a-rama. Of course,
Shawn does lose the chainsaw. So, he lights a stick of dynamite and
throws it at the spider, and the spider eats it. Boom. The film
hasn't mentioned it, but I wonder if the spiders absorbed Deke's
brain power (like Attack of the Crab Monsters)? It would explain a
lot. Even my cats won't eat something if, you know, it's ON FIRE on
More attacks by lots of spiders, but they're vulnerable
to dynamite and fire. And pretty dumb, too. Anyway, we get lots of
cool stop motion, lots of spiders blow up, but they get under the
floor and burst up, and grab an idiette. Prof pulls a Dr. Smith and
cowers cravenly. Satisfied that they've lost lots of fellows but
captured one idiette, the spiders leave. Blah blah, the humans
decide to rescue idiette. Oh—thanks. Thanks a lot. Off to
the cave. Remaining idiette, Chondra and Shawn go into the cave. “I
hate caves,” says Shawn. I guess that's characterisation?
Anyway, Prof goes to his death...I mean, he decides
to abandon the others. Too bad, he was a good Jeffrey Combs
imitation. And probably the best actor aside from Chondra. He gets
a good exit line, though: “An arthropod of this size cannot
exist!” he tells the assembled spiders.
Back in the cave,
the remaining trio come across an empty spider husk, like the
discarded skin of a cicada. Apparently, remaining idiette knows all
about this! Now, fine, but this really strains credibility. Had she
been shown to have ANY brains at all, fine, but no, she doesn't even
know what shooting stars actually are. By the way, Shawn's weapon of
choice is the chainsaw, which did him no good before. But really,
how else can you gain cred with the Bruce Campbell crowd? I mean,
aside from having talent and being a fun character actor. Be
They come upon a chamber filled with grubs. I suppose I
should point out that grubs (larval stages), and skin shedding, are
not spider characteristics. Anyway, Shawn blows up the chamber,
which causes some cave in stuff. They all fall down a shaft, and I
bet they're in the main lair. No, it was an easy guess. Yep, main
lair. Lots and lots of spiders who all seem to be asleep.
they see the queen spider. Yes, you read that right. Queen spider.
Captured idiette is in a big web at one side of the room. Angry
Farmer's in the same web, and he bursts open with some baby spiders.
Okay, so what were all those grubs, then? Anyway, more spider
attacks, dumb Shawn cuts the web with his knife, not the chainsaw.
They rescue idiette (thanks for nothing) and get out of there. Once
outside the cave, helicopters (several different kinds) show up, with
a bunch of military (Chondra's dad was military—and he's a
white guy? “Yeah, I'm adopted,” she tosses off. Could
they not have hired another black actor? I mean, what the hell? I
guess the actor was free or one of the crew, or something.) “So where's the SOB
who tried to molest you?” he asks. “Oh, I knew you
wouldn't believe me about the spiders,” she says. Which makes
me wonder if he protects his daughter's honor with helicopters and
troops with grenades as a matter of course. Boy, good thing it was
all a story, and Prof's dead, or he'd really be in bad, bad
trouble! Now, the “Oh it's all over” piano music starts,
but don't think I'm forgetting rescued idiette. Angry Farmer was
full of baby spiders, after all...I bet there's a tag scene.
maybe the queen spider lays eggs, which hatch into grubs, which
pupate, and then have to be placed in a living host! No, that
doesn't work either. Sorry, I'm just trying to figure this stuff
Anyway, now that Chondra's Dad knows it's those damn spiders,
he calls in the special Spider Unit. Really, he's not one bit
surprised that giant spiders have shown up. So, some guys in clean
suits (?) show up and kill the rest of the spides and blow up the
queen. Then they blow up the hillside.
And yeah, romance is in
the air, and it's the end...or is it? Tiny baby spiders (make great
pets, I bet! They're so cute, and great for killing Dekes.) burst
out of the ground, leading to roll credits, and “The End?”
And no, captured/rescued idiette did not burst with spiders. I
admit, I was wrong on that one. Leave that for the sequel, I guess.
Oh yeah, you know they're planning one. Fool me once, shame on
So, credits. Shawn's real name is Rob Monkiewicz. I hate
making fun of anyone's name, but he's got “Monkie” in his
last name. I'm just pointing it out.
The idiettes real first
names are Bevin and Alexxus. There's a “body double” for
one of idiette's bathtub scenes (shot from the back). Dan Mazur and
Mary Beth French were busy, I've seen their names a lot in the
credits. Dan even played random truck driver a while ago, who
squashed the toy spider then had his truck's paintjob scratched and
marred by those dastardly arachnids! Filmed on location in Vermont,
it says. Subbed nicely for Arizona. What do I know? What am I, a
tourist board? Honestly, I couldn't tell. It was all fields and one
crater and one cave. Could have been anywhere. Well not anywhere
(not THE MOON) but you know what I mean. Oh, and filmed in
“Bug-O-Vision.” Ha ha ha. I'm laughing on the
So, what did this movie want to be? That's easy, a
horror-comedy. Which is one of the hardest damned things to do. The
successes are very few, the only one that immediately comes to mind
is Dan O'Bannon's “Return of the Living Dead.” The
failures are legion. Sorry folks, this is one more. To be a
horror-comedy, you have to have great jokes, and you have to know
when to STOP the jokes and make it full-on scary. Arachnia...didn't.
Didn't do either, really. No great jokes (not even good ones) and
not scary. Props for stop-motion spiders, folks, cos stop-motion is
cool. Otherwise we're coming up empty. Except for Most Hated
Character I've Ever Seen, and is that an award anyone wants to
So. Is it worth your time? No, not really. Was it worth
mine? Well, I enjoyed the special effects, but, again, I'd have to
say no. Was it worth the nine bucks I paid for it? Ah, now
that...would be telling.