Well, we get the title right off, with Alex D'Arcy as the star, and Introducing Barbara Valentine as Babs. All to jazzy sax and clarinet music, like what Doc Severinson used to provide for the old Tonight Show, when Johnny Carson was the host.
Now, some more actors and their characters, but if you've read any of these, you know I'll just ignore them and call them Flat-Headed Guy and Blonde Chick or whatever. So on with the show. And no sooner did I type that, but “Directed by Jaime Nolan” is our final credit before going straight into the action of...well, the music becomes discordant piano-and-drums and we get another final credit (cough) saying that this here movie is Distributed by Pacemaker Pictures Inc. Well, that's the sort of thing I want to know! I hate movies that short-change the distributor credit. I've been known to walk out of movies that do that. Well, no, I haven't actually done that. But I might!
Well, we're here in LA I'm betting. The music has gone back to jazzy and we watch some guy in his big convertible park in front of a building. He gets out, and we cut to a room full of beautiful women, all checking their makeup and such. We pan to see there's a lot of them. Some of them are yawning, one is reading (our heroine?). I guess It All Means they've been waiting there some time. We pan to a door that says “Mike Blackwood – Private” by which he means that no one should come in, not that he's in the military.
But then we go back to Reading Chick (see? I told you) who shows her book to another gal. “Here's Singapore,” she says, “just south of Milaya.” She reads more facts about Singapore while the camera watches another lady squeeze her (own) leg while making her skirt ride up pretty high. I'm just reporting this.
Skirt Gal's lips say something while the soundtrack says, “Doesn't it say something about the thirty-two night clubs there?” The lips and the soundtrack continue to have this I'm-not-speaking-to-you problem. No one answers Skirt Gal's query, but instead ask more questions about her knowledge. Skirt Gal reveals she once heard about Singapore from an “oil shiek” she once “ran around” with. “Those are the guys in turbans, right?” asks another young lady.
“Listen, honey, when they take those turbans off, they're just like any other men,” another young lady offers, giving us the kind of human, a-political advice we could all use these days. Especially if it turns out to be true, and all. There's more talk and stuff, and one gal starts smoking even though it's pointed out there's a NO SMOKING sign. She takes it off the wall and sits on it. All the while, the music is nice, boppy vibes and clarinet jazz. Then there's this rather ill-sounding buzzer, and Alex D'Arcy walks in. “That's him now,” says a lady on the soundtrack.
He walks among the ladies and kind of appraises them. He disapprovingly pulls the cigarette from Smoking Gal's mouth and puts it out in an ashtray (in a No Smoking Room, uh, okay) and generally looks over the gals like he is looking over the meat in a butcher shop, sorry about the feminist talk but that's what he's doing. Skirt Gal stands up. “I've already been to Singapore,” she says.
“You look it,” he responds, pushing her back into her seat. He and his companion then go into Mike Blackwood's office.
Mike, who wears sunglasses indoors, greets them. “Hi Gary, Hi Georgie, you're looking prettier every day.” He continues to schmooze until Gary gets down to brass tacks.
“Mike, have you told the girls what this is all about?”
“Sure, Gary...a tour for a dancing troupe. First engagment, Singapore. There are twelve of them here to pick from.”
Gary asks Georgia to let the gals in. Georgia asks Mike if that's okay, and he says sure, and then she adds, “Oh, but one at a time, please!” Good thing she said that, or my illusions about the high powered world of show biz would be lying AT YOUR FEET in shards, and I don't have the insurance to cover foot injuries and stuff.
brings in “May” who I think was Reading Gal. They blah
blah through her CV (which is Latin for curriculum vitae, which is a
fancy way of saying resume), and Gary asks, “Legs?”
She hikes up her skirt and Gary quickly crosses his own. Man, you got twelve other girls to, uh, go through. Best restrain yourself, man. Do some push-ups, Pablo, and it'll go away! Still, this is a pretty damn funny shot. I wonder if it was intentional.
Anyway, she's hired, and it's off to the next gal. She turns out NOT to be a dancer, though she says she “picks things up real fast.” I'll bet! Anyway, Georgia is NOT amused, and 2nd Gal is turned away. “But what's that got to do with Singapore?” she protests as she's led away. As we have another ten gals to go through here, I'm assuming this was rhetorical and I'm moving on.
Next gal is Skirt Gal, “Babs” who we all remember from the titles of this here film. Her legs “are worth their weight in gold” which I guess explains why she just can't wait to show them off. And why she did that skirt thing earlier. Her dancing skills are discussed, along with her men-attracting skills (which got her fired from her last job).
Georgia says that Babs “can work with us. As long as you don't have any affairs. Mr. Webster doesn't tolerate any fooling around.”
“I've had all the boys I can take,” says Babs, which I guess means she agrees. Mike leads her back through the ladies' door.
The next gal is from The National Ballet, and she's asked to dance. She's provided her own record to do so. She's all dressed prim and proper, so I'm thinking this will probably be really torrid. But I'm wrong, it's ballet stuff, not bad at all. As far as I can judge ballet stuff, that is, which isn't very far. I have no idea. My feeling is, she can do that spinning and not fall down, that's probably Good Ballet, right? Alex, I mean Gary, looks a bit bored but then he does that leg-crossing thing again. Gary, you are like the Sphinx, a total enigma! Georgia looks unsure.
She tells the gal that she dances wonderfully, but ballet is not what they're looking for. Ballet Gal looks pretty darn bummed out. But Mike tells her that he has something else for her tomorrow. Ballet Gal perks up at this. Bravo, Ballet Gal! Your talent has saved you from a horror movie. (What?! It says “Horrors of Spider Island” up there, I didn't spoil nothin'!)
The next gal is actually two gals (thank goodness, otherwise this will take all night). Gary complains until Mike says they're a “Duo Number.” Mike, you are so slick with your showbiz lingo! Gary is convinced (he crosses his legs again), and they're part of the troupe to be. They don't have to show their stuff or nothing, I suppose that even though Mike's office looks big, it's actually too small for two girl action.
Next, I think is Smoking Gal. She walks into the office, “Hello there,” and starts taking off her dress.
“Hm. You're a stripper?” asks Gary.
“No, an astronaut,” she says. Ha ha, I kid. She doesn't say that. “At times,” she answers, struggling out of her dress.
“Didn't I see you work the Sapphire Club last month?”
“Hard, damn the W,” the soundtrack says. (I've tried a few times, can't decipher it.)
“Why'd you quit that place?”
“The boss wanted to...I didn't.” Which lets us all use our imaginations, which, personally, I can respect a lot. Let's try it! “The boss wanted to...build a rocket to the moon, so he could code Java in peace.”
Anyway, there's more charged banter between Gary and Stipper Gal. Georgia snippily notes that she's hired.
Next, we have a perky blonde in a polka dot dress. “Let's see her dance,” says Mike. Thanks, Mike, you loser. I'm sure Gary and Georgia wanted to bypass the, you know, AUDITION process because they assumed you'd done some of the work. Jerk. I hope a typewriter falls on you from a great height.
Anyway, Perky Blonde dances for a LONG DAMN TIME and is not bad, and she gets the job. And the auditions are closed! Gary gives some orders to Georgia, and Georgia leaves and we get this damned pointless talk from Mike and Gary about how Georgia seemed to run things, but Gary secretly did. Yawn. “What's the secret, Gary?” Yawn. He explains how his leg-crossing thing was not just a silly way to hide his, er, male interest, but actually a way to tell Georgia that This Gal Is Cool.
Mike and Gary laugh a lot about this, Mike adds, “You always were a crazy guy!” He asks when things will get under way. Gary seems to pause a moment, as if he were remembering what the script said, and answers “Ten days.” More talk about this “ten days” thing, then we fade to a big plane getting ready to take off from some God-forsaken place. No, no, I mean this DVD. Boy, the guys who made stock footage...I mean, they knew their stuff. They made exciting footage that did a lot of the work, for a lot of movies.
Anyway, while this flying-in-planes stuff (rolls eyes) is going on, suddenly we get some perky jazz, and a balding guy listens as a voice says, “Mayday, mayday! We're losing altitude!”
There's a quick shot of a burning plane going down, and then Balding Guy yells “Repeat your position! Repeat your position!” Then, more for us than anyone else, he solemnly intones, “Damn, I can't pick them up anymore.”
Stock footage of burning plane, large ocean waves, and screaming women (some of the dancers from earlier). Then, a big burning, um, thing in the middle of the ocean. And we cut to some guy in sunglasses reading the paper into a telephone. I THINK this may be be Mike, from the Mike Blackwood, Private office. He looks a lot younger, but you know, those sunglasses and all. Plus it takes money to hire actors. He takes a drag on a cigarette (yeah, I'll bet that's tobacco) and says, “No, Mr. Hastings, I can only repeat...there's absolutely no reason yet, to fear the worst. Until now, we only know that the plane caught fire, that we've lost radio contact [he tosses the paper away]. Yeah, yeah I'll let you know immediately, soon as I hear something new [or the next paper comes out].” He hangs up the phone, puts another paper away, and sips a glass of something. Then he pours a glass of something much, much harder. (Can't read the label.) He takes another toke—cough, I mean, he smokes a bit more, but before he can get to his newly potent drink, the phone rings. Wow, if it's not one damn thing after another, huh?
“Blackwood agency...no Mr. Alberts, I don't have any further information...well, of course there's a search party out there! I tell you, rescuers are looking all over for them! There's still hope, even after four days!” He tells Mr Alberts that he'll call as soon as he hears something new, then hangs up and gets to have his drink. And before the phone can ring again, we fade to...
...a rather pretty ocean sunrise. And some ocean footage. And then, a raft in the ocean, with a bunch of weepy survivors. We hear the weepy bits long before we cut to the boat in question, just so's we know that this is Gary and some Dancers and Possibly Georgia. And they're pretty bummed out, to be in a raft in the ocean when they were expecting Singapore and stuff.
Gary requests that the “bawling” cease, as it is “driving us all nuts.” Predictably, this mouthing from Gary has no effect. At least on the soundtrack. We hear a lot of sobbing, etc, but don't see anyone actually contributing.
There's some talk about water rationing. One gal gives Gary some jewelry for water, but he tosses it away. “Who do you think you are?” And more weeping and moaning and stuff follow, and can't speak for you, but I'm ready for some Horrors of Spider Island.
More moaning, from Georgia and some other gal. Gary tries to talk sense about rescue vessels and so on. Come on, Horrors of Spider Island. It's been four days, who's running the rescue operation?
“Oh, look, a bird!” one Dancer says, and while Gary says that Birds mean Land, one blonde (I think it's Babs) sneaks a drink. “Are you crazy?” Gary explodes, and smacks her.
One gal spots an island. (What do you want to bet it's Spider Island, and there are Horrors there? Isn't that always the way? I mean, you never get in a life-raft with beautiful women and end up at, say, Kitten Island. Or Cotton-Candy Island, or you know, something that sounds nice. No, you get Spider Island. Or Deadly Spider Island. Or, Horribly Deadly You Don't Even Want to know How, Spider Island. In any case, it's never a telegram you want to open.)
Anyway, they all paddle (“paddle with your hands!”) and the get to the shore of stock footage island. Or Spider Island, one supposes. They paddle past the rocks. They get out of the boat, to help push it to shore (I'm guessing) and some of them are so exhausted it's hard to get the whole way, but they do. Gary helps Georgia ashore. And everyone gets onto the shore. Gary has to go rescue Babs, as, um, she was...er, not able to swim the whole way or something. He also has to rescue some gal still in the raft. Gary, you the man. Etc, and all that. He sits next to Georgia and comforts her.
But the raft, well, it gets buffeted by the waves. We hold a long time on this shot, so I hope none of you will be surprized when it's gone the next day. Because, if it's still there, I'll be pretty surprized.
We don't have long to wait, as some wailing sax (and brightly lit island footage) combine to tell us that morning has broken on the island. We see a brief shot of the models, cough, I mean, dancers asleep on the shore; then we see Gary, Action Man, running around on the environs yelling “Water!” He clambers down to some falls and starts slurping in the good ole H2O, while making these cat-drinking noises. Having given us our fill of this manly display, he moves on and calls to the sleeping ladies, about “Water, water! Come on!” and they rouse and head toward his discovery...which was only about twenty feet from where they collapsed. But, you know, these are like, WOMEN, who have to be told everything...at least, back in the 50's and 60's they did! Ha ha, I kid, you CAN put down that frying pan, besides it's genuine iron and can deliver an injurious blow. I'm just telling you what the film's attitude toward the fair sex looks like.
They run to the water, though a couple of them take these really exaggerated falls, before they get to the water, like, oh, I don't know, like, ha ha “I'm so helpless, you have to carry me to the water, you male you!” You know, things like that! Ow, what the hell did you throw at me? A ninja-star? Well, you're not good at it, are you? Which I guess is a good thing...but still, I'm JUST telling you what is ON THE SCREEN. No need to get upset at me.
Anyway, turns out that even the (badly, badly-dubbed) women who tripped get some good old water. But that damn Gary, now he wants to “look around” and they're still drinking and having fun, can't he see he's being a drag? I suppose he wants to find some Horrors for this Spider Island of theirs...oops!
On the other hand, he's the sole male in a film made in the fifties or sixties, so it's hard to argue that his supreme position is wrong in the context of the times. A decade hence, and he'd be the helpless one, etc. Anyway, in the next shot, the ladies all flock to follow him on his expedition to explore the island. They all complain (again, badly dubbed-ly) about leaving the drinking water, and how their non-Spider-Island shoes aren't really made for Spider Island trekking, but they dutifully trot after Gary.
You ladies...you never did anything like that for me, and yet you follow old exploitative Gary...[lots of stuff snipped]
Well, now that I've been sraightened out, let's get back to Gary and the Gals (great name for a band) as they explore the island. They like, form a conga line or something...it's hard to tell exactly (the print here isn't very good). They go through some brush, Gary complains about thorns, they comment on the “strange silence” and Gary suggest they keep going. I realize this is a ton of excitement to pack into a single sentence, but we haven't gotten to any Horrors yet and I'm saving my fingers for that.
One of the gals, while throwing her shoe away in disgust, finds...a hammer! Quick as he is, Gary deduces that there must be someone on the island. Now, Gary, it might be from a hammer-tree, such things are known to sometimes sprout on Spider Islands. “A hammer,” he muses, “with a long handle.” And you just keep your Freudianisms to yourself, there. He theorizes that “it must be for the purpose of excavating some kind of metal...most probably uranium.”
One gal with an outrageous southern accent asks “Can you eat that?” to which Gary responds “Yeah, you can try” but I think he's kidding. He suggests they continue on, so they can “find out.” They continue on, the soundtrack bubbling with vague talk from various ladies as the landscape passes by. Can't make out what they're saying. “Come on, hurry up!” says Gary.
“Look!” he says pointing. “A cabin!” Sure enough, that's what it is! The music turns into sprightly clarinet jazz as everyone runs toward it. They excitedly open the door, and yes, it's our first Horror on Spider Island! Specifically, it's a dead guy strung up in a big web! The web looks like yarn, but hey, a Horror! Let's all give a big hand to Guy In Giant Web, thank you, thank you! The gals all dash off, but Gary and Georgia stand in the doorway and we see MORE of Dead Guy in Giant Web! Yay!
“A dead man, in a huge web!” Georgia obviouses. “Oh Gary!”
More footage of the gals running off, then Gary and Georgia enter the room. There's Ominous Breathing on the soundtrack. Then...I think we're missing some footage here, as we get a long shot of two people leaving the cabin, and one of them is carrying a heavy burden. They cut down Guy in Giant Web, and we missed it! Still, we got to see the ladies run away, that's a good trade, isn't it? Yes? No?
We cut to the gals standing by this tree, and behind them is our second Horror! It's the damned fakest looking Giant Spider I've seen for a long time. Its body is about the size of a watermelon, and it's slowly descending toward our distaff bunch. But then Georgia calls them back to the cabin, and no one notices the spider and they all walk off. As they walk off, the spider is on the ground and we zoom into its li'l face, which has this grouchy expression. It raises its clenched fist, as if to say, Oh, a few more seconds and I would have had them all! Darn it!
And we cut to he interior of the cabin. Georgia speaks. “The poor professor, when he made the last entry in the diary, he didn't know how horribly he would die.” You mean we missed the Discovery of the Diary Scene? Man, I want my money back.
“Well, his discovery of the uranium deposits didn't help him any,” offers Gary, and it's hard to argue with logic like that. “Even if it does represent a tremendous fortune,” he adds.
“We must keep it from the girls that Professor Greene had a premonition of his fate,” says Georgia
“You see here, in the last paragraph? He says he thought something terrible was going to happen!” Gary explains to Georgia...who, uh, already knew this. She just said it before you did, Gary. (Unless the performers got the script backwards. Those two bits of dialogue, reversed, would make more sense, but I guess it wouldn't match the footage. Oops.) “He just felt...the danger,” Gary goes on. I think we get it, Gary. Thanks.
“I wonder where that peculiar hissing came from, that he always heard,” asks Georgia, before confessing her fears. Gary says he'll protect her, and we're just about to get our Third Horror—Gary kissing Georgia—when the gals saunter in, mentioning that they made dinner and how lucky it was there were canned goods, etc. And, hey, we DO get the Setting the Table Scene! That's good, right? Yes? No?
One gal mentions how it must have been a really gigantic spider to spin such a huge web. “Maybe there are more of them,” another says, then we get a close shot of a door handle turning! The gals all gasp in horror (it's a giant spider that knows how to open doors, but isn't polite enough to knock first!) but it turns out to be some more gals who have “found the professor's trunk full of stuff...they'll certainly be useful!” Looks like some clothing to me, so unless our Late Professor Greene was into cross-dressing, I dunno about that. But hey, if it cheers you gals up, by all means, paw through the dead man's things.
Cut to Gary and Georgia taking inventory and dividing up the provisions so as to last a while. Talking and such happens. They think they'll be there a month. Gary says they have to build a smoke-signal on the high ground. He starts counting again. Check your blood pressure, reader, you don't want to get too excited, now!
Cut to a gal who's fooling with a shirt, presumably the professors. Another gal demands it, and they have a loud tug-of-war with it. Gary shows up and grabs the shirt, and tosses it to Georgia. Fighty Gal says “I suppose we should have guessed that Geogia would be getting it.” Another gal basically confirms that Gary “pampers” Georgia, but Fighty Gal spots that this new Gal (Pouty Gal) has another article of clothing and takes it from her. More bitching. “Now stop it or I'll take care of both of you!” Gary yells.
There's talk about how everyone's tense, blah blah blah. Fighty Gal goes and complains that Dishwashing Gal is too noisy. Yikes-a-roni.
Stripper Gal shows up, complains about the heat, and Does Her Thing. She throws her blouse and it hits Corn-Pone Accent Gal, who complains that she wants to sleep. You can cut the tension with a knife! Stripper Gal starts doing her makeup, and Corn Gal says, “I shore hope you don't lose your lipstick” since Stripper Gal would be unable to function without it. Can you say, “Asking for trouble?” But nothing happens.
Someone else is through in the shower, so Pouty Gal gets her turn. But it's time for bed. Everyone's going to sleep outside. Gary takes off his shirt, rubs his chest with it, then throws it on the table, while Stripper Gal peels off her skirt. Clarinet and wah-wah trumpet start up, to let us know this is sexy or something. It's done with such a deadening sense of exhaustion that only the music lives. But Gary is unaffected (even amused) as he stands beefily like a statue.
Meanwhile, Pouty finishes up her shower (she's topless but only shown from the back). No, wait, it was Georgia (I guess, she comes in wrapped in a towell). Gary has found the professor's revolver. Need I point out that it didn't seem to do him any good? Yes? No? Georgia tells him to get some sleep. He says he can't, he's going to go out for a walk, but he'll be back shortly.
Back to some ladies outside, and yes, that was Pouty in the shower as she shows up with her towel and lies down. We pan and see all the ladies in various sleeping positions on the porch. They're mostly in their underwear, which I guess is supposed to be hot and sexy (the “Sexy Music” continues). Gary walks out on the porch. Stripper Gal grabs his leg, and his expression is all Excuse me, Miss? “Gary,” she moans a couple of times. Then she stands up and they start making out. Just then, Georgia walks out on the porch, and she also says “Gary!” but in quite a different way and the music slams to a halt.
“This damned heat!” Gary says to her. “I don't know what I'm doing any more!” I wonder if that excuse works in real life?
Gary strides off into the night, Stripper Gal makes to follow, but Georgia gives her a couple of powerful slaps and Stripper Gal thinks better of her plan.
Of course, there's a storm brewing, and Gary hurries through the brush (though away from the cabin) and we get a shot of the Spider peering around a tree. More running, and another shot of (I'm guessing) another spider. Gary walks down to the shore and there are a couple more spider-shots, including one where it looks like it's flying past the camera.
Gary pauses by a big dead tree, with an enormous hole in the trunk. He leans right against the hole, and what do you suppose happens? Let me tell you first, that there's an awkward spider puppet in the tree that awkwardly holds onto the wood. Now, what do you think happens?
Yes! Gold star! The spider jumps on Gary's neck and he grapples with the li'l thing as the music gets all excited by the action. You'll have to imagine the sheer terror and suspense of the whole thing...just like I have to.
Anyway, Gary gets the better of the beast and flings it to the ground, whereupon he empties four shots into it. Cut to the house, and the women all dash out on deck...which I thought they were on before? It now looks rainy of heavy-foggy or something. Is Missing Footage another of the never-ending Horrors of this Spider Island?
“Those were shots, I heard them clearly!” one of the ladies says. (And it's definitely raining now.) Georgia opines that she hopes nothing's happened to Gary. I mean, it could be gunshots from some completely unrelated person, doing something far, far away, right? Or it could be a car backfiring!
Anyway, no sooner are the words out of her mouth than we cut back to Gary, who clutches his neck and falls backwards. We cut to the spider lying (dead, presumably) on its back, and a tiny spot of stop-motion shows venom oozing out of its rear end. Boy, I'll bet someone spent almost five dollars on that spider model.
We cut to Gary, slowly rising from the ground. His face looks like one of the Tellarites from the old Star Trek, and his hand is kind of odd-looking too. He looks at his hand and almost yells out “Oooga – booga!” but without the “ga”s and the “b” sound.
Back to the ladies, their milling around on the porch. Georgia wants to go save Gary from, er, whatever she thinks might be menacing him, she wants none of the girls to accompany her, but they refuse to let her leave. Just then I guess a stage-hand got bored or something, because a whole part of the deck's roof collapses. It's just canvas or something so no one is injured, but the screen goes black anyway. Hey, it's just as good as “Cut!”
The next morning, Georgia is directing the gals into search parties and telling them where to search. There's an awful lot of sullen muttering here but it sounds like the people in the dubbing booth were tired of working on this movie. Hey, I sympathize.
Stripper Gal asks, what about her? In a tone that can only be called “icy,” Georgia tells her she'll stay here and “put things in order.” Stripper Gal (who never takes her eyes off her hand mirror) says “Hmph.”
Pouty Gal and Georgia are walking through the underbrush. Georgia is whistling, which irritates Pouty Gal. (Pouty Gal? Stripper Gal? Fighty Gal? Hm, I think I know where the guy who thought up the Smurfs got the idea!)
We shock-cut to a close up of Gary's face. He's all oogly and his face looks fried. And he only has three teeth, which are now fangs. One is in his top jaw, the other two are below. And his beard is a lot fuller now. Now that I have him all freeze-framed, gosh darn it but if he doesn't look like the spider that bit him! Another Horror for Spider Island! I've lost count of them all, but I think we're well past one.
Cut back to the three search parties in turn, who all call out “Gaaaareeeee!” We stop with Fighty Gal and Someone Else. Fighty's shoes are all a-bothering her, so she says she shall go no further. Other Gal asks if Fighty “heard something,” and Fighty says no. So Other Gal goes on, while Fighty calls out, not wanting to be left behind. Women, huh? They can never make up their minds! Ha ha ha.
We cut some more back and forth between the women calling for Gary, sometimes in harmony. Corn-Pone Gal pauses by a bush and calls, we zoom in on her, and a menacing clawed hand reaches for her. S he goes on, though, not noticing. This is JUST like in many episodes of Scooby Doo, only it's usually Shaggy or Scooby who are nearly grabbed. This film is a cauldron of pop-culture icons! Of course, it's kind of boring too but you can't have everything, and I should know.
Back at the cabin, to some sultry sax-wailin', Stripper Gal is strutting about on stage...I mean, in the clearing. It's got to be just like her act, though, except with clothes on and not off. I bet the music is even the same. Ooo, vibes on the soundtrack. She bends down to put her hand in the water, and the director gets a chance to put some ART in this film. We see Gary menacing her as a shadowy reflection in the water over her's, there's a close up of her screaming while clawed hands are at her face, then we see her hand go limp in the water. Thanks, Mr. Artist, you can go home now.
In the woods, one gal claims she heard Stripper Gal's scream and they all rush back. They find Stripper Gal underwater. (She holds her breath really nicely I must say, and there's a cool leaf floating near her face. Thank you, Mr. Artist.)
“She's been strangled,” notes Georgia.
“The spider!” says one of the other gals. Ooooo...kay. Most spiders I've heard of don't really strangle their prey, but then these are dancers, not biology students. Anyway, fade to black.
That night, Georgia comforts some gal who says, “Oh Georgia, the Professor's been killed, Gary's disappeared, and now they've just buried Linda [she'll always be Stripper Gal to me]. Which one of us is going to be next?” She starts shaking Georgia.
I'm sure the people who had to use the restroom or were thirsty thank you for that plot recap, whoever-you-are-Gal. But she goes on! “I don't wanna die, don't wanna die, don't wanna die, don't wanna die!” before Georgia shakes some sense into her. And now I see where the Ramones got the idea for their lyrics! I wonder if the screenwriter was some time-travelling intelligence from the vast reaches of space, who just had no real talent as a screenwriter.
“Stop it before you drive us all crazy!” soothes Georgia.
Next, we cut to inside and another gal (speaking with the previous Gal's voice, like they're some kind of hive mind) complains that no one will ever find them, ever. Corn-Pone Gal says that she's sure the cops are moving “heaven and hell” to find them. Which brings up an anti-police rant from Pouty. She claims the cops only care if you're speeding, or drunk, and (one supposes) drunk and speeding. (Personally, I think our police do a fine job and are certainly more useful than pouty models, cough, I mean, dancers.)
Pouty says that if you get “lost” then the police “won't lift a finger.” Which is kind of stupid, as I imagine the Coast Guard is more used for finding lost ships or planes lost at sea, that sort of thing. Of course, I don't think Pouty is the hammer in the drawer with the most wattage. Or something.
Anyway, there's more talk, Pouty says that “You, you, and you are all going to be dead!” and she points at other Gals. She does not point right at the camera, though.
Georgia comes in and smashes Pouty's head against the table. Well, no, she just tells her to shut up, but I was thinking it, so that kind of counts. A little.
“Well, if it isn't Miss Georgia,” sneers Pouty. “Of all people, it has to be you!” Um, who the hell were you expecting, Pouty, Billy Barty? (Thanks Mr. Caballero!) “Who has Gary and Stripper Gal on her conscience, who!”
Georgia says enough of that, then. And I might add that if a giant spider showed up and killed Pouty, well, I wouldn't be frightfully sad. She's not only a loud, blustering idiot, she's not much of an actor, too. Well, if you like ham she's your waitress, if you catch my meaning. (Unfortunately, I heard Georgia refer to her as “Babs” and, if you recall, she was a featured credit way back when, so my hopes are ready to plunge from the precipice of imagination rather than waiting to be cruelly dashed.)
Anyway, Pouty and Fighty get into a fight. Fighty grabs a belt from somewhere and lays into Pouty. Again, Fighty, again! Inna labonza! Inna labonza!
Sorry. That was non-progressive of me and [pause] wrong. I shall go chastise myself.
Well, I'm back! Did I miss anything?
No, not really. The fight goes on for some time. One gal tries to intervene, but Corn-Pone pushes her away: “Leave 'em fight!” You know, this is exactly how porn scenes start. Not that I'd know, mind.
Now, this next bit is pretty unbelievable, so bear with me. While Pouty and Fighty are fighting, Georgia is standing next to an open window. Gary's clawed hands...Hands of Death, I add...reach through the window, and place themselves on either side of Georgia's neck, for a quick bit of strangulation. Fighty, Pouty and the other gals all notice this, and the fight stops while they stare at the tableau forming before them and begin to scream.
Georgia notices the hands too, and kind of goes very still while teetering on the edge of hysteria. (This is all done the exact same way the Three Stooges did it, in ages past, but without the “Nyah-ah-ah-ha!” bit.)
But the screaming of the assembled gals makes the hands flinch, hesitate, and withdraw, whereupon Georgia faints; and we cut to Gary wandering down a pathway, and he does this YES!!! motion with his arms, the way football players do when they score a touchdown. He then runs off down the road (which it is, it's not a pathway, it's a dirt road).
So we have another future pop-culture reference here (the “football” gesture, not the Stooges bit). Man, they are fast outnumbering the Horrors you and I were promised. I guess “Pop Culture References of Spider Island” doesn't have the same ring on the marquee as “Horrors” does. Or maybe our time-traveling screenwriter has seen our culture, and this is the judgement he renders upon it.
Boy, wouldn't that make an essay, now? “Horrors of Spider Island” As A Condemnation of Popular Culture. Too bad Steven Den Beste isn't posting anymore.
Anyway, we fade as Gary runs down the road and fade in on a ship, steaming out on the ocean. On the island, one of the gals is tending a signal fire. Could some kind of rescuation be in the offing? Well, maybe, anything's possible I suppose, and I sure hate to dash the hopes you've been raising since they were yay-high, but...we're only at the thirty-eight minute mark. I know! I know! It does feel like a lot longer, doesn't it? It's just part of the magic of cinema.
Anyway, the Gals pile some more stuff on the fire, and then they start yelling at the ship. But none of their hard work paid off. “It sailed right by,” one of the gals says as sad oboe music plays. “We'll never get home now.”
“Twenty-eight days,” muses another gal. Yes, I know, more pop culture, that Sandra Bullock movie and that zombie film. We should seal this movie in a time capsule. Here, you can have my copy!
Anyway, the length of time indicates that Gary isn't all that murderous, or that perhaps he's spending his time at the casino at the other end of the island. Oh, didn't I tell you? Yes, there's a casino at the other end of the island! And they have all the latest movies, and Xbox games, and you can drink all the Dr. Pepper you want to. And boxed sets are only twenty dollars. And look, driving up in his red convertible, it's Johnny Dangerfighter, detective! He's got a mystery on his mind, and a blonde on his arm!
Also, I should note, that the giant spiders were either a) just one giant spider, now deceased, or b) maybe they're spending their time at the casino too. Okay, I'll stop with the casino. There isn't one. No Johnny Dangerfighter, either. Lots of blondes, though. Just not ones you'd want on your arm. At any rate, the spiders make no more appearances.
Anyway, it's further pointed out that there's only enough food for three days more. One gal goes to the cliff edge to jump off, but is restrained. That expositional scene over, we cut to a scene at the lagoon. Or the inlet, whatever you call it. Two guys are pulling their boat ashore. Yes, you read that right, there are now two guys on the island, and they have a (tiny) boat. Not big enough for twelve or so Gals, and Deadly Gary. Especially not Deadly Gary.
Anyway, the guys are gabbing about this and that, and one of them mentions mermaids, and the second says, “Don't talk to me about women on this God-forsaken island!” which is, like, totally ironic as there are a bunch of them! Unless this is a week later, the food has run out, and they're all dead. In which case...never mind. Sorry!
More banter, mostly dull. They have to carry something heavy off the boat and onto the shore, and they groan about this. Then, one of them, lighting a cigarette (“Nobody should smoke!” says Philippe) mentions about how he's glad the Professor asked them to help him out. I guess they mean the dead guy, found dead in the web, way, way back when.
“Give me some whiskey,” the other guy says, and the first guy hands him a box as big as one you'd buy a DVD player in. All right!
You know, one of the guys sounds a lot like Harry Dean Stanton. No, I don't think it's him, but maybe he picked up a few bucks in a dubbing booth. It could happen.
Anyway, these guys talk and talk and talk and talk. They've been exploring islands for six months. The Professor was lucky, he found uranium. They like whiskey. They like women. They're not lucky like the Professor (last seen dead in a spider web, course, they don't know that). I wonder if these guys will ever shut up? It's not like they're expositioning really tells us anything other than guys in boats are pretty dull guys.
Well, just as I typed that, one of them says he'll go look for the professor. He tells the other to keep unloading and “have fun.”
The second guy looks at the stuff on shore, and says he will (have fun). I think this is irony or sarcasm or something. At least they'll stop talking. When Harry Dean Stanton leaves, the other guy pries a whiskey bottle out of the DVD box. He takes a dirty swig, then does a spit-take when he hears women laughing. He climbs a tree to find the source of this female merriment, and he gets a big grin when he looks down upon a sylvan scene of the Gals bathing in the sea. Well, I guess that's not “sylvan” is it, but it sure fit the sentence, you have to admit that.
I think the women are either naked, or meant to appear so. It's not terribly clear in the print, and honestly, it's all shot so you can't see nothin' anyway.
One of them swims off into a little cove, and is grabbed around the face. Could it be Gary? The other Gals, hearing her scream, decide it ain't worth risking, so they swim for shore. And...cut.
Now we're watching Georgia and a couple others wanding through the grass. “[Gasp!] Look over there!” Georgia says, and the camera zooms in on...something. Hang on, I'll rewind. I think it's the dead spider, last seen nearly a month ago. To show the horrible effects that scavengers have in this tropical hell, there's an ant walking on the spider. Otherwise, it's pretty well untouched.
The Gals approach. “How terrible...the web in the camp,” one opines, and I certainly can't argue with that. Then Georgia finds Gary's gun! And yes, now that I see it better, they're standing next to the old tree where Gary met his destiny.
Another Gal finds Gary's bracelet next to the dead spider. “And this is his bracelet,” she tells us, good thing too, as I don't recall any such bracelet before (and I imagine Georgia would know anyway) but...no matter, if it serves to make Gary more three-dimensional, more nuanced, more REAL to us, then so be it. Only, um, it's not working. Sorry.
Anyway, Georgia asks “But where is Gary?” and the others say they'd rather be leaving. In a hidden darkness, we get a quick cut of Gary's face turning toward the camera. Sorry if that scared you, I should have warned you! Sorry man.
Anyway, Gary's clawed hand reaches for one of these Gals, but she leaves and he just gets her diaphanous scarf...which she then grabs back! Without noticing Gary. Gary, you loser.
Back, um, somewhere else (there are a lot of sticks in front of the camera). A male voice asks a lady to come and sit with him. She asks why. He says he'll give her three guesses. “I was going to ask you...for the time,” he says. What the hell is this? Has one of the Boat Guys already revealed his presense to one of the Gals, calmed her fears, promised her a rescue, and then started to make out with her? Or, are we going to pull back and see that this is all taking place on a portable DVD player, which is playing some crappy movie from the fifties? (Which we, ahem, are of course not doing right now.)
Anyway, they continue to make out. We cut to the swimming Gals, now dressed, yelling for their missing comrade, running into Georgia, and explaining the scenario. Everyone explains everything (more time for you guys to use the restroom, buy more popcorn, etc). Fighty asks, “What's that noise?” and we see hot and weary Harry Dean Stanton trudging up the path. The gals hide, he walks right past them, and Georgia pulls the gun on him and says, “Hands up!”
He stiffens, then relaxes. “Heyyyy, bay-be,” he says, but Georgia is having none of his charm. The gun does not falter.
They take him to the cabin, the gals all murmuring about how he looks handsome, etc. “He doesn't look dangerous,” says Nondistinguished Gal (almost had her scarf grabbed by Gary, though—Scarf Gal, then). “They're the really danerous ones,” offers Corn-Pone, wagging her finger.
They reach the cabin, and Georgia demands to know what he did with “Gladys” who is probably gal-making-out-with-guy-and-who-was-previously-lost-while-bathing. Harry Dean Stanton avows to knowin' nothin' 'bout no Gladys, explaining that “we” just got here at the lagoon. “That's where Gladys disappeared,” says a Gal.
“On the lagoon?” says Harry Dean Stanton. Then his expression brightens. “Ah!”
And we cut to Gladys (I'm guessing) and Whiskey Man walking up the path toward the cabin, all arm in arm.
Which stinks for two reasons. First of all, Whiskey Man grabbed her while she was swimming, and instead of smashing his face in, she goes all hormonal. I know this was made back in the fifties/sixties, but still, this is pretty damn low.
Secondly, and more important in terms of film narrarative, Whiskey Man was shown watching the bathers HIGH in a TREE. While HE WATCHED from the TREE, Gladys swam out of sight, and was grabbed FROM A ROCK ON THE SHORE. So unless he has incredible super-speed...um...this movie sucks.
To be fair, I just rewound (just for you folks) and it IS possible he could have got down from the tree and over to kidnap Gladys in the time alloted. But there is NO HINT of this in his last shot. He does not look down to see about leaving the tree, etc. I repeat: this movie sucks.
Back to the film. Apparently, Harry Dean Stanton sees Gladys and Whiskey Man approaching before anyone else, and he starts to giggle. Georgia tells him he'll be sorry for that, but he says, “Oh, I don't know about that...just look at what's coming down the path” while romantic sax music plays.
“Gladys!” shouts Pouty, and they all rush down and give her hugs. Harry Dean Stanton explains that this is “Bob,” and they work together.
“Why, he's a big uranium research man,” explains Gladys, “I met him before in the reeds.” Oh, is that what they call it nowadays. You kids, I'm telling you.
“A researching researcher,” says Pouty. Um....
“Then you had better luck than I,” says Harry Dean Stanton. “I was nearly shot. That is, if the revolver had been loaded.”
Whiskey Man asks if the Gals are here on a Summer vacation.
“Fine Summer vacation,” Georgia says (pretty friendly, don't get me wrong). “If we hadn't found this island, we wouldn't be here to tell the story. We crashed on the way to Singapore.”
“Ah, then you're the American dance troupe that got lost!” Harry Dean Stanton says. Turns out “all the newspapers in the world” have carried the story. Gosh, do you suppose Pouty was right about the cops?
“I bet Professor Greene was surprised when all these girls showed up...ha ha!” says Whiskey Man.
“Professor Greene is...dead,” Georgia intones. She explains about the giant spider web. They all wonder, gosh, don't that beat all, etc. And then they mention their ship is coming back in two days. The Gals are excited about this, asking if they'll be rescued.
“Oh, Hell no,” says Whiskey Man. “What would we do for the sequel?” Okay, I made that up. The guys admit rescue is certainly on the menu. This has a pretty positive effect on the Gals.
Fade to the Gals all in bikinis. “The boys'll be surprised when they see how we've dressed ourselves up in our 'island' costumes,” someone expositions. General giggling and such ensues.
“They promised us real whiskey, kids, I can hardly wait,” says Pouty, with a previously unrevealed Brooklyn accent. And there's more talk, about...um...stuff...
HUH? WHAT? Man the ramparts, the—oh. Sorry. Anyway, they're talking about how Georgia and one of the guys are trying to radio the expedition ship, and how they look like “real islanders” in their print bikinis, and how they ARE “real islanders” after four weeks, blah blah blah. Gary, you are SUCH a loser. Excitement provided by you: maybe, maybe seven percent. If you ever show your face again, you'd better be playing the congas or your entertainment value is heading toward negative. Thanks for nothing, Gary. Loser.
There's talk of reporters being there, and Fighty mentions she hopes “Jimmy” will be there, as they're gonna get married. Pouty shows up and wonders if Jimmy might have “eyes for another” and Fighty says “You don't believe that yourself” and I'm thinking, calm down, gals, calm down, it's only two more days. This is worse than a flock of cats.
Georgia bursts in: “Kids, we made radio contact with the ship and we'll be picked up tomorrow!”
Some Other Gal (maybe Gladys) says, “And tonight we'll dance and really raise the roof!” and we fade to hep dancing, while a clarinet wails on the soundtrack. Unclear is if this clarinet is, like, really being heard by these folks, or is it soundtrack that yet impinges upon the “world”? Yes, it's another Pop Culture Landmark. Damn you, Horrors of Spider Island! I could have slept in peace!
Anyway, Whiskey Man is dancing with everyone, and “everyone” is being a good sport about it all. We see Harry Dean Stanton, briefly, smoking and watching the fun (I never thought of Harry Dean Stanton as much of a party guy, myself).
Scarf Gal does a wiggly little dance all by herself, which is a sure cue for Gary to come up and grab her; instead, Harry Dean Stanton notices her and asks Georgia about her. Georgia says she's pretty quiet (“Her folks live in Minnesota” she notes...gosh, case closed!). “I've never seen her so relaxed.” Wow, as she's dancing up a wiggly storm, she must be totally hyperactive all other times.
“I'd like to dance with her,” says Harry Dean Stanton, and Georgia says “Mmmm.” Which I guess means Okay By Me as he saunters off to trip the light fantastic with Wiggly Scarf Gal.
Just in case you were wondering like I was, there's a big radio next to where Georgia is sitting, I assume this is where the hep jazz these kids are jiving to originates. Yes, that would have bothered me too, not knowing, and I wanted you to sleep tonight. And not have horrible nightmares about Spider Islands and Jazz from Nowhere.
Anyway, the party goes on and on (Gary, you are such a loser) and I see that Harry Dean Stanton is shirtless, except for a little cravat around his neck...just like Freddie off of Scooby Doo. Yeah, it's another bit of Pop Culture from THE FUTURE which is almost like being FROM SPACE.
Anyway, Gladys tells Whiskey Man she wants to be alone with him, and he says, “How about the house?” and she says, no, REALLY alone, ie, some place where a spider-faced guy can menace us. They agree to meet at the lagoon in fifteen minutes. “Uh, but be on time,” says Whiskey Man. “I hate waiting.” Yeah, me too. I keep waiting for this movie to end.
More party footage. Then, Whiskey Man pouring a stiff one (a drink, you pervs!) for one of the ladies on the porch, then Harry Dean Stanton shows up. “Havin' a good time with the chicks?” asks Whiskey Man.
“Shut up,” Harry Dean Stanton opines.
Whiskey Man whistles. “Fallin' for her?” he muses to himself.
There follows thirty seconds of Harry Dean Stanton and Scarf Gal standing awkwardly next to each other, like gangly adolescents or something. Yes, this follows when they were dancing together just fine. Scarf Gal makes a stab at conversation, and Harry Dean says, “You know, when you've lived on islands for a long time, you forget how to say nice things to girls.” He's no longer reminiscent of Harry Dean Stanton now, more like Bob Denver but it's too late for a new designation for him.
“But try out one,” Scarf Gal perkily suggests.
“Well, I'm really glad that your airplane crashed,” he says.
“But that's a nice thing to say!” Scarf Gal says, I think she left a “not” out of that sentence (based on her reaction).
“I mean...I mean, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten to know you, and...I'm glad about that.”
This mollifies her. “Oh, you say that to everybody,” she says, resuming her I-Think-You're-Swell-Too demeanor.
“No, ma'am,” he says. “I don't know any girls, and when I think of the ones I do, I grab a work.” Well that's what it sounds like on the soundtrack. By the way, this film answers what to do when you're holding a shot glass and it's empty and there's no place to put it. You just stuff it in your pants pocket.
Anyway, Scarf Gal says, “I must say, you certainly a master at paying compliments.”
“Perhaps you're, perhaps you're right...I should pay more attention to young women.” He gestures toward the camera. “Sometimes I envy Bob [Whiskey Man]. He's so uninhibited and carefree.”
“Any girl is good enough for him,” says Scarf Gal. “A real man is interested in only one girl.”
“Then I'm a real man,” Harry Dean says, pulling out the glass and drinking from it. He then tosses it into the jungle. (Skip what I said earlier.)
“How?” Scarf Gal asks, puzzled.
“Because I'm really interested only in one girl.”
“Who's that?” Oh...brother. “What does she look like? Cute? Elegant?” I mean, is she kidding or what?
“Elegant?” He muses. “On the contrary. A little disheveled, neglected...very pretty. Her name's Ann.”
“That's one of the nicest things that's ever been said to me,” Scarf Gal avers. Really? Disheveled and neglected?
“Well, I...meant it. I'm really fond of you.” I thought you use the word “fond” when you want to break up with someone. It's usually followed by “But I think we should see other people.” Then tears and slapping and stuff. At least in the movies.
Harry Dean takes off his cravat. “Here...when you leave for New York...” He puts it around her neck. “...so you won't forget me too quickly.”
“Please don't let me wait too long,” she asks. Yeah, like you two have been doing with the damn audience. Where's that damn loser Gary when you need him? Come on, Gary! Loser.
Cut to Whiskey Man and some gal all smoochy. (No, it's not Gladys.) “Come on, I've got twelve minutes,” he says.
“What's in twelve minutes?”
“My next rendezvous,” he says, kissing her. Wow, he IS smooth.
“Hello, big boy,” says a sultry voice. Whiskey Man drops the gal he's with and turns to see this next gal.
“Well, I'll be darned!” he says. If this was a Friday the 13th film, he sure would be. “That's not bad either! Hey, all right, you really don't know where to start here!” Each gal in turn tries out the old charm on Whiskey Man. This eats up a tremendous amount of running time, but I suppose if you're going to have attractive women in bikinis and le jazz hot, well, you do the math.
Pouty does some stretching, and Whiskey Man goes toward her like a cat toward a bug, only in the next shot, he's going toward Fighty. He rubs the back of his hand on her face, but he's still staring at Pouty and he goes to her. Meanwhile, some brunette (Gladys, maybe) looks a bit peeved and goes onto the porch. Elsewhere, Harry Dean is nuzzling Scarf Gal's shoulder. Then they kiss.
Back in the house, the brunette turns out to be Gladys, and she's surprised by Georgia. “What's on your mind?” Georgia asks.
“Oh...nothing,” is the answer.
“Do you really think that [Whiskey Man]'s the right man for you?” Georgia asks.
“I don't know,” Gladys answers. Gosh, you've known him, what, a couple of hours or so, what more do you need! “I only know one thing. I love him.”
“Well, I hope he doesn't let you down,” Georgia says. “I'd be very sorry for you.”
Of course, they choose that moment to walk out on the porch, where Fighty and Pouty are dancin' and a-huggin' and a-all sorts of things with Whiskey Man. It's just like an Astaire-Rogers film, except for the fact that it stinks.
“Come on Gladys, it's not worth it,” says Georgia.
“Don't bother me!” snarls Gladys. Hey, weren't you supposed to be at the lagoon, anyway?
Pouty and Whiskey Man run up onto the porch. Whiskey Man asks Georgia for a drink.
“Bobby,” she says rather severly, “do you have to turn all the girls' heads?”
“They turn mine,” he shruggs. He follows Pouty inside. You can almost hear Jason Vorhees salivating. Three other gals rush up on deck, and they and Georgia toast their rescue.
Inside, Pouty and Whiskey Man are having more dull talk. She's all excited about the rescue as well and wants details of the publicity. He tells her that all the worlds various media will make it a big story. But he used a lot more words than I used, even including this sentence.
He then tells Pouty that his next meeting is the most important one, as it's with Gladys. Pouty gets all serious and protective and explains that Gladys is shy of men, “please leave her alone.”
He says that Gladys is the kind of girl he's always wanted. Nice going, Whiskey Man, now Jason's after her too!
Out on the porch, Harry Dean and Scarf Gal are still drinking. Pouty comes out and says she has to talk to Ann, and they run off together. Harry Dean calls out playfully to Scarf Gal.
“Let her run,” says Whiskey Man. “They're all good for nothing. They're all the same. Come on, let's have a drink.” Sounds like a plan!
We cut to Georgia and Gladys having a talk, where Georgia says Bob is no good for her. It goes on quite a bit longer than that, of course. Gladys decides she never wants to see him again! And we cut back to the two guys, pouring alcohol on the fire. They chatter on and on. Harry Dean is serious about Scarf Gal, and Whiskey Man is all cynical (and pretty slurred, too). “What are dancers?” he asks. Well, let me get out my philosophy book, and –oh, before I could, he answered his own question: “Hot girls for cold nights.” Sounds like a song title. Anyway, they start insulting each other, Whiskey Man growls like a bear, but Harry Dean says “Not here,” and they go inside to go mano-a-mano, I suppose.
Um, Horrors, anyone? Some Horrors, please, for our Spider Island, as we've run out.
Well, the fight goes on forever and they trash the room, until they both stop and laugh, and Whiskey Man says, “I gotta run, I got a date!” And he leaves Harry Dean to do the explaining and the cleaning up.
Now it's pretty bright out as Whiskey Man strolls off to the lagoon.
Back at the house, Gladys and Pouty talk. It's dark outside again. Gladys is all mad at Pouty, not realizing that Pouty stood up for her. Or some damn thing, can we get on with it! Pouty spills the bit about how Gladys is the gal Whiskey Man's been looking for all his life, and the tiff is instantly forgotten. Does this read as dull as it plays on screen? Sorry. Anyway, she runs off to the lagoon to keep the appointment.
Whiskey Man staggers through more trees, and it's kind of daylight again. He stops to light a smoke. He goes on, and we see Gladys follow. Whiskey Man gets to the lagoon and settles in to wait. Back to Gladys walking, she soon comes across Whiskey Man and touches him, and he falls over. She screams as if he's dead, but I think he's just damn drunk. He's drunk I tell you! She bends over him and looks at a birthmark on his neck. Hmph, I suppose it's a bite, from Gary.
And we do see Gary's claw grab a tree. Nice claw, by the way. It's a glove, but it looks not half bad. It's similar to the ones the Mole People had in that movie with John Agar and Ward Cleaver. Gladys apparently saw that movie...I mean, sees this claw, and she screams.
Harry Dean throws on his coat as he dashes out of the house, followed by the Gals, and runs toward the lagoon. Meanwhile, Gladys is running away from Gary, who we see in a quick cut has gotten lots harrier. But then in another shot, he looks the same he did last time we saw him. Gladys runs along the cliffs. Gary pursues her, but every time we see his face it is a close up in the same patch of weeds.
Harry Dean and the Gals show up, watching Gladys climbing the cliff-face, Gary right behind. Harry Dean takes aim with the gun and it clicks three times. He shakes his head. “You go on ahead,” he tells the ladies (who took time to dress), “and try to help Gladys, and I'll go back and get the ammunition.” Harry Dean, you utter stoop.
Gary finally catches up with Gladys at the top of the cliff, and she falls to her death as he waves his claws around. Seconds later, the ladies show up at the cliff top but Gary has vanished.
Harry Dean comes running back. Hopefully he has everything this time. When he runs, it sounds like he has paper bags on his feet. (Trying to give you the full picture here.)
He finds Whiskey Man and pauses to muse upon his fate. While, so far as he knows, Gladys is still in real danger. You're beneath the stoop now, Harry Dean.
He runs off and runs right into Gary, who says “Gaaa!” Harry Dean does not shoot Gary (I suppose he DID forget something else) but tries to hit him with a tree limb. Of course, now Gary has the proportionate strength of a spider, as well as spider-sense, and he evades this futile blow and breaks Harry Dean's stick for him. Then he chases him.
Then Harry Dean hefts a big rock to throw at Gary. In the very next shot, however, it's Gary who has the rock and is knocking Harry Dean down with it. Harry Dean runs off, though, with Gary in hot pursuit.
In the next shot, however, it's night again, and Harry Dean crashes through the cabin door, followed by...Georgia. What the hell? Oh, I GIVE UP! He asks her where the ammunition is. “I don't know...there!” she says, pointing to a box. But they don't find anything any good, like a damned script.
Then there's knocking on the door. “It's too late, he's here!” says Harry Dean, and he puts out the light. Tired of knocking, Gary starts breaking in the door. Georgia rubs her neck. Harry Dean, in the shadows, is probably ready at a moment's notice to be totally ineffective and way too late. I'm just guessing.
Gary advances on the terrified Georgia, who finally gasps, “Gary!”
Gary's expression goes from Rawr! I'm a monsta! To Oh-my-gosh-I-used-to-be-a-man. He backs away from Georgia. He seems on the point of leaving, but Harry Dean needs to prove he's dangerous to everyone's safety again, so he makes noise and Gary's all Rawr! Again. Gary and Harry Dean do this dance around this little card table. Gary, it's a light table, you can just grab it and easily throw it aside, then you can kill Harry Dean. I won't tell.
Gary does a fake feint, and gets a hold of Harry Dean's neck and starts strangling him. Fine by me. Georgia picks up a flare (I think) and tries to light it. All the while Harry Dean is being strangled. Gary sees the flare and reacts in fear, and they use it to chase him out of the cabin. Now, Harry Dean is giving all the ladies flares, and they're going out into the island to find Gary and...flare him to death, I suppose. I don't know. End, you stupid movie, end! “At that moment,” says my mental narrator, “the chosen time had come. For little did Harry Dean and Georgia know, but their little Spider Island paradise was actually...Bikini Atoll!” Stock footage of mushroom cloud, roll credits. Come on, movie you can do that at least!
They split up into pairs and, sure enough, start flaring at Gary. He doesn't like this at all. They all chase him with the flares, just like moden-day villagers probably would in some atomic Frankenstein story. Boy, he sure hates flares. Then, despite the fact that they were five feet behind him, they lose him in the corn field. Hey, it looks like a corn field. Leave me alone, I'm tired. “Maybe we lost him,” someone whispers on the soundtrack. If you find him, just remember to say “Gary!” as that causes him to reflect on his bad behavior. Then flare him like crazy!
Despite having a good hiding place, Gary decides a life of cri—er, spiderhood is too much to bear, so he walks out into the sea. Oh, wait, it's just wet ground. “Stop,” Harry Dean says to the Gals before they go out and chase Gary, “the quicksand starts here!” Actually, it's more like swampy ground, but heck, if it ends the movie, it's frickin' quicksand. Gary stomps awkwardly out in it. Slowly, too. Damn slowly. Then, in slo-mo (stupid movie) he rotates and falls into a quicksand pool and disappears.
“Better dead,” Harry Dean says, “than continue living.” Well, who the hell asked you, Mr. Useless? Fade to the next day, with the rescue boat leaving the lagoon, and the words THE END and solemn, discordant music. No end credits. Not sure I could have stood another minute anyway!
I guess the big question is, what the hell did this movie want to be? I mean, we had Stranded on the Island Follies, Giant Spider Attack, Nothing Much, Let's Dance and Fall In Love, and the return of Spider Attack. After being bitten and doing a spot of menacing, Gary pretty much disappears from the movie until the last few minutes. The promised “Horrors” were pretty feeble and few in number. Except for the brain-freezing experience of watching this whole lot of nothin' unfold before your melting eyes. That could be considered a Horror, all right.
According to several sources, this was a German film originally released under the (German) title “The Body in the Web.” Well, yes, we had a few seconds of that. Next, it was released as “It's Hot In Paradise” which seems to promise some kind of sex film. Obviously it didn't crack the top ten moneymakers with that title either, so it was further retitled “Girls of Spider Island” (probably the most accurate title) and finally, “Horrors of Spider Island.”
Under the “Paradise” title, it was apparently about ten or fifteen minutes longer than it is now. According to the IMDB, the trimmed scenes were nude scenes. I guess the distributors figured they weren't making any money with this thing because it lacked Awkward Spider Puppet Action, so they might have added those bits to concoct the present “Horrors.” And taken out the nudity.
Normally I'm not one to promote gratuitous nudity, but this film needed something interesting. Something worth watching. Given what we got, I'll take nudity.
This movie is just flat out bad, sorry. Should you see it? No, not unless a collection of Smurf-like hotties, some drunken guys, the worst Spider-Man you've ever seen, and the seeds of several current cliches really appeal to you. In which case, grab a cold six and settle in.
September 22, 2004