Continuing Arachno-Disaster Month, I had my eyes on a completely different title for this week - 'Arachnoquake'. It's so incredibly under the radar that I couldn't find it to watch, anywhere. But then I stumbled on this hidden gem, quick as a click on YouTube, that I had surprisingly never heard of before. It became one of the 50 top-grossing films of 1975, just two spots behind 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. It's also regarded as a solid "good-bad" movie, perhaps more suited to one of my new "No-Brainer" reviews. Hell, there's even an episode of 'MST3K' on it. So it was interesting that somehow, this skittered by me.
The central plot, as you can probably imagine, focuses on an invasion of spiders who ride a meteorite down to Earth's surface, landing in rural Wisconsin. The entire film uses real spiders, namely tarantulas, and they don't get really big until about half-way or more through the film. Funny story, the big, giant spider you might get to see the odd screenshot of is a Volkswagen, covered in artificial black fur. The legs were operated by seven crew members from inside by seven members of the crew.
Throughout the invasion is a series of horribly-told subplots, focusing on a handful of characters. Dan Kester (Robert Easton) has a hatred for his wife, Ev (Leslie Parrish) and has an affair with a young, local barmaid named Helga. Ev has an underage sister named Terry (Diane Lee Hart), who a kid named Dave Perkins (Kevin Brodie) keeps trying to make out with through the film and it doesn't really go anywhere.
Meanwhile, there's a weird preacher guy (Tain Bodkin) in this who leads revival meetings, and he's only really there to spill jargon about how if you sin you're gonna go to Hell. The takeaway is that he's meant to add an extra level of fear to the whole thing, as though the movie might as well be saying "If you sin, you're gonna get eaten up by giant spiders from another planet". I'd say this makes the film come off as preachy, if it didn't add to the overall ironic humour of the film. It's like this crazy extreme that the film goes to for no particular reason. It doesn't serve any purpose to the story - but then again "story" doesn't really compute here.
I should probably also bring up the leads; Doctors Vance (Steve Brodie) and Langer (Barbara Hale), who play the appropriate romance in the story, as opposed to an adulterer, and someone trying to get into a young lady's pants. They end up being the ones to figure it all out, etc. There's nothing much to be said about it. Just about every character in this feels like either a throwaway or a stereotypical character, and none of them are very engaging. Of course, this isn't exactly a movie you wanna watch to enjoy the characters, either.
This fits right into that long list of movie that are "so bad, they're good", and apparently this one has gained a significant cult following over the years, especially after 'MST3K' got hold of it and gave it their treatment. Either version is pretty easily accessible nowadays. As mentioned before, I stumbled on this on YouTube, not quite knowing what I was getting into. But within the first few minutes, I understood perfectly well that I was about to enjoy something for all the wrong reasons. I urge any fans of horrible movies to check this out when you get some time. It's pretty damn hilarious.