The Curator of Schlock #397 by Jeff Shuster

Eight Legged Freaks

Giant spider movie. 

“You want the pills, I need the dough,” the drug-pusher-disguised-as-a-pizza-delivery-guy said. I saw the name Gary engraved on his jacket. 

“Okay, Gary. Just give me a few minutes,” I said, trying to stall for time until the crazed vigilante ninja, The Revenging Manta, came to my aid. 

“My name’s not Gary,” the drug pusher said, setting the pizza box full of fentanyl on the shoe counter. “Goose Lord and his guys beat the pizza guy senseless for his tip money. I was there. Took his jacket as a souvenir. Great disguise, huh.” — To be continued.

__________

Tonight’s movie is 2002’s Eight Legged Freaks from director Ellory Elkayem. To think, this movie came out the same year as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. The two movies are a lot alike as they both feature spiders.

Other than that, the two movies are totally different. Actually I am not sure why I brought that up.

The movie begins with a truck transporting chemicals. The driver swerves to avoid hitting a rabbit. One of the cans of toxic chemicals falls into the nearby river. Great. Thumper got saved, but now the town of Prosperity, Arizona is doomed!

Next, we get a scene with the town spider collector, Joshua Taft (Tom Noonan), showing off some exotic spiders he got from Brazil to young science nerd, Mike Parker. Joshua has been feeding them crickets he found by the toxic river. This has mutated the spiders. After Mike leaves, Joshua and his pet parrot are attacked by the mutated spiders and devoured. You know, if the pet parrot is fair game in a monster movie, all bets are off.

We get introduced to other characters. Mike’s mother is Samantha Parker (Kari Wuhrer),  the town sheriff. Mike’s sister is Ashley Parker played by a young Scarlet Johnson. David Arquette plays Chris McCormick whose father owned the town’s abandoned mine. He’s at odds with the town mayor, Wade (Leon Rippy), who wants everyone in town to sell their property to the corporation that produced the toxic chemicals. You also get the town conspiracy nut, Harlan Griffiths (Doug E. Doug), a goofy deputy named Pete (Rick Overton), and Chris’s chain-smoking Aunt Gladys (Eileen Reilly). And there are a bunch more goofy townsfolk where those came from.

What’s the plot of the movie? Giant spiders attack an unsuspecting populace. If you’re a fan of cats and dogs, I’m sorry. There’s a scene where deputy Pete’s cat has a tussle with a spider inside the walls of his house and you can see imprints of the cat through the plaster. What else? You get to see some ostriches dragged through the ground. Oh, and we get to see Scarlet Johansson tase a guy in the groin causing him to pee his pants.

The movie culminates in the town barricading itself in a shopping mall against an army of disgusting giant spiders. The effects are done with computers. CGI from twenty years ago doesn’t hold up well, but I give the animators points for having these giant spiders move like actual spiders. 

Eight Legged Freaks is streaming for free on Tubi. Check it out!

__________

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.