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Monday, April 26, 2010

B Movie Madness- Eight Legged Freaks

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I don't think any film in recent memory epitomizes the term "B Movie" more than Eight Legged Freaks.
Aside from an awesome title and poster art reminiscent of the 1950's, the movie had perfect casting with David Arquette, Kari Wührer, Scarlett Johansson and Doug E. Doug.

In the quiet mining town of Prosperity, Arizona, an accident causes a barrel of toxic waste to land in a swamp. An exotic spider collector named Joshua has been making regular visits to the site, where he collects crickets for his spiders. Although the bugs have ingested the toxins, he is oblivious since the insects seem unaffected. Joshua shows Mike, a local boy, his collection. After Mike leaves, Joshua is bitten by an escaped tarantula and accidentally knocks down the spider cages. He is killed by the spiders that grow larger and larger each second. Mike attempts to return but is stopped by his mother, Sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wührer) and Deputy Pete pulling the toxic barrel out of the pond. Wade, the Mayor of Prosperity, is holding a town meeting in the mall about whether they should sell the mines and relocate. Chris McCormick, whose father owned the mines before he died ten years ago, shows up and stands against Wade's proposition. Chris also sparks a romance with Sam. Mike sneaks out on foot and finds Joshua and the spiders missing, although he sees an enormous spider shadow in the mines and tells Chris that the spiders have grown to enormous sizes, based on a giant spider leg he found at the mine entrance. Meanwhile the mines have reopened with the miners searching for a famous gold lode. They are soon consumed by the large spiders, who have made the mines their home. Seeing as the entire town is connected in some way to the mines, spiders show up in many different places. Chris finds out that his Aunt Gladys and her dog are abducted by a male orb weaver in her basement. Sheriff Sam Parker is convinced Chris and Mike are delusional. However, her skepticism fades when she witnesses a giant male orb-weaver attempting to abduct Ashley, her daughter. Parker saves Ashley. Sam contacts Pete and tells him to bring all guns in the police station's possession and they travel to the trailer of an eccentric UFO enthusiast named Harlan (Doug E. Doug), knowing he has a radio station that he operates from within his trailer. As Sam broadcasts the threat over the radio, a giant tarantula assaults the trailer but they manage to escape. As the town is assaulted by vicious spiders, Sam tells everybody to evacuate to the mall. The main characters make it in safely along with surviving townspeople. Meanwhile, Harlan and Chris climb onto the roof and ascend the radio mast and try to get a signal to call the army as they are being attacked by the spiders, but are believed to be pranksters. Harlan jumps from the roof, after the tarantula breaks open the gates and lets the spiders enter the mall, and lands in some bushes, where he meets up with Pete. The two run from spiders as Chris meets up with the remaining townsfolk and goes down to the basement. Chris goes to look for his Aunt Gladys in the mines and finds her and the gold his father was searching for, but is confronted by a massive Consuela (female Orb Weaver spider). He uses a motorcycle to escape, and blows up the spiders and the mines utilizing Gladys' smoking addiction and the high concentrations of methane gas. The police finally arrive. They had not believed the reports of the spiders but were concerned about the screaming overheard on the radio. As the story ends, Harlan is heard making a radio report about the spiders. He concludes that the town has decided to cover up the whole incident, but have let Harlan continue broadcasting the incident, knowing nobody will believe him. He also mentions Chris reopening the gold mines and putting everyone back to work, but tells us "that is another story altogether." As the camera zooms in close on his mouth, it is clear that he now has three gold teeth.

Of course the thing that makes this movie so great is the camp value. Eight Legged Freaks could have been made 40 years ago and would still be relevant today. One thing that can always make me laugh is the line where the deputy is asked, "What is that?" to which the deputy replies, "It was a spider, man." Making reference to the super popular Marvel Comics Spiderman film that had just been released. The acting is great, especially for this type of film. The effects are fantastic as well. The giant spiders look pretty realistic, even when they are gigantic. If you liked Tremors or any other similar movie, you won't be disappointed with Eight Legged Freaks.