Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Posted: 14/11/2013 in Trash movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

I remember this scene like it was yesterday: Early evening, dark in my room…I am 6 or 7 years old. My younger brother and I are watching some wrestling  match on VHS (one year before I had discovered that wrestling is a scam). Suddenly, wrestling has been interrupted by scene of mysteriously cow death. That  looked intriguing to us so we watched entire thing. Over 20 years later, while I was with the rest of Worsemovies crew, this blast from the past stroke me  for unknown reasons. We did a bit of research, found out the name of the movie and decided to watch it (for your enjoyment only, not ours – believe me). So, here it goes.
As I already mentioned above, the movie starts with mysterious death of cow. Something attacked it from grass witch has been shown to us by ridiculous  zooming in cow’s snout followed by sinister synthesizer sounds in background. Next scene takes us to the other side of town, where local vet Robert “Rack”  Hansen (played by none other than Captain Kirk himself – William Shatner) and his sister-in-law Terry (played by Marcy Lafferty) are on horses pursuing a  bull in order to give him vaccine shot. It seems that Terry wanted a shot too (if you know what I mean), and she was close to it since Rack caught her with  lasso and both were on the ground a moment later. But she blew it by calling Rack by his late brother’s name. Unpleasant silence was interrupted by pager  message for Dr Hansen. He got emergency call from Colby farm. Reason is obvious – investigating a death of a cow. Next scene and Shatner is already at  Colby’s place. Walter Colby (played by Woody Strode) and his wife Birch (played by Altovise Davis) seems to be too much shaken because of death of cattle.  They think it might be some sort of virus. Shatner has his doubts too so he decides to send blood sample to Arizona entomology department.

I guess her milking days are over. YEEAAAAH!

The test results came very next day, brought by entomologist Diane Ashley (played by Tiffany Bolling). As soon as they met old dog Shatner didn’t waste his  time and immediately tried to jump on her. Didn’t work out for him after first attempt since Dr Diane is supposed to be tough, smart, successful woman (but we  all know that such women exist only in movies). Instead of all that she is just rather annoying and makes you want to slap her. Anyway, she claims that cow  had died of spider venom, which Rack immediately disregarded as a complete nonsense. Well, I guess that they are not going to solve this today. So, Diane  rents a cabin at Emma Washburn (played by Lieux Dressler). Later that evening, while Diane was drinking at Emma’s bar, some old man tourist from Colorado  named Vern Johnson (played by Joe Ross) tried to pick her up right in front of his unsuspecting, naive, retarded wife Betty (played by Adele Malis). Vern  appears to be an inventor of revolutionary chemical toilet used on construction sites, but that fact didn’t help him to knock Diane of her legs (and insert  himself between them). Insulted by such offer she decides to return to her cabin, takes a shower and plays with tarantula she has found under her clothes  (?!). Could she be some sort of spider-woman? Judge by yourself.

Incy Wincy Spider…

Next day they are at Colby farm again where they found his dog killed by spiders. Old Walter starts to act as a drama queen, suggesting that they should  better shoot him rather than watch his cattle dies. Diane does some quick tests and repeats her theory about spiders killers. Walter then reveals that there  is spider hill near his farm. A lot of spiders there. Enraged, stupid Walter wanted to kill every single of them by plain wooden stick. After old farmer got  cool again Rack and Diane went to the lunch. During the lunch she stated her theory about how people killed all of insects by using insecticides thus  destroying spiders’ natural source of food. Poor tarantulas, having no other choice, are forced to turn against the cattle and people. This is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. You can’t just accidentally exterminate enormous population of insects in a desert area. However, John “Bud” Cardos  (director of this movie) finds this to be very logical and possible. Anyway, in light of new facts (which are actually just blind stab in the dark), Diane and Rack decided to burn spider hill later that night. Just to mention  that previously she had fallen on Shatner’s charm, right in her cabin. Hm on a 3rd meeting? So much about her acting to be hard-to-get. Ok, now back to spider hill. Burning it sounds simple, right? Well, it is not, especially when you get attacked by rampaging bull covered with tarantulas. I guess this adds a completely new meaning to “mad cow” expression. Nevertheless, Walter managed to burn the spider hill while shouting words of vengeance. It seems to me that he had not read “Moby Dick”. If he had he would know that you can’t take revenge on animals. But spiders made escape route so Walter’s spilling of gasoline  was in vain. And now tarantulas are the ones who are going to get some vengeance. First one on their hit list is Walter. Hey, it makes sense if you watch it from spider’s point of view. He just burned down perfectly good spider hill. Tarantulas ambushed Walter in his pick-up truck while he was driving, outnumbering and killing him slowly and painful, eventually wrapping him in cocoon. I don’t know if he wanted it but now he is white.

I wonder if Michael Jackson tried the same thingI wonder if Michael Jackson tried the same thing?

Now it seems that we are getting to the bottom of this. Remember theory about poor tarantulas having nothing to eat? Well, it doesn’t end with that. It gets  even more stupid. Pay attention now. There wasn’t just one spider hill. There are hundreds of it. Why? Because millions and millions of spiders are migrating in search for food. So, no more insects in entire Arizona? Their extermination is the result of people using too much pesticide which, by the way, is strong  enough to wipe out entire insects population and in same time makes spider venom 5 times stronger and deadlier than usual!!! So, let’s have little overview  of entire situation. Human race (at least the one populating Arizona) has exterminated trillions of insects using plain pesticide and now they are facing the  rage of mutant super-spiders? Ok, now we can continue. Mayor Connors (played by Roy Engel) is interested in only 3 things: booze, upcoming county fair (which  brings him financial safety) and more booze. Despite objection of still annoying Dr Diane, he orders entire area to be sprayed with more pesticide from a  plane. I think such decision will come back to bite his ass. But spiders still have their word in this. Same as Walter, they ambushed pilot in the plane  before he even managed to spray some of pesticide onto spider nests. If you thought that pilots are tough, real men, you won’t be convinced in this after  watching this pilot panicking, screaming and crying like a little girl. For the coup de grace he navigated his plane to a local gas station. Well, at least he  took some spiders with him.

Wow what an exit!!!

It is time for spiders to conquer the town. Full scale invasion! They are taking one by one resident. First one to die is Birch Colby. Even a gun didn’t  help her. Next one is Terry Hansen, who gave heroically gave her life while saving her daughter Linda from spider attack. Well, Rack now can be sure which  woman to choose. Mayor also died somewhere but I doubt he even felt spider bites due to enormous level of alcohol in his body. General panic on the streets.  A lot of people dead. How comes that no one even thought to just get in their car and drive out of town is beyond me. The only ones who managed to stay alive  are Emma Washburn, Diane, Rack, Linda and old tourist couple (who proved to be quite resourceful). They barricaded themselves in one of Emma’s cabin. After  the invasion was over all that was left of town is a drawing of entire town being wrapped up in spider web.

A lot of web needed for this guy                                        A lot of spider web needed for this guy.

Conclusion: This is not a horror. This is rather silly movie. People could have get killed by spiders only by standing and doing nothing. Spiders, on the  other hand, are crawling with their natural slow speed but move much faster when off-screen. Many of them were stomped during making this movie. I don’t know who has jurisdiction over arachnids’ rights but I hope someone had faced consequences. The most annoying thing in this movie is not Shatner (his role of  cowboy here often goes from non-acting to overacting), nor the spiders, but Diane Ashley who is entomologist with split personality consisted of string of  clichés, which are characteristic for so many of the heroines of the 70s. But this movies has one good side: If you suffer of Arachnophobia, you will lose  your fear of spiders after watching this movie.

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Comments
  1. crystle tellerday says:

    i like that movie

    Like

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