Earth vs. the Spider
(also known as The Spider
and Earth vs. the Giant Spider
) is a 1958 American International Pictures
black and white science fiction horror film produced and directed by Bert I Gordon
, who also wrote the story which the screenplay by George Worthing Yates and Laszlo Gorog is based upon. It starred Ed Kemmer, Eugene Persson and June Kenney.
The film is about a giant Spider terrorizing a town as well as teenagers and other 1950s things.
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000
version, please go to the episode recap page
.The name is also shared by
a 2001 horror movie, made as a tribute
to the original, though this version can be seen more as a Darker and Edgier Deconstruction
. This movie revolves around a comic book-loving security guard at a lab doing genetic modification research on spiders. When his partner is killed, he deliberately infuses himself with spider DNA in hopes of becoming like his favorite super-hero. Instead, he is warped into a grotesque hybrid of human and spider traits
and is consumed by an insatiable appetite for human flesh, voraciously eating person after person until a police officer manages to shoot him before he can snack on the girl he had a crush on.
Earth Vs The Spider contains the following tropes:
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: What do you think?
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: See title.
- Cassandra Truth: The sheriff refuses to believe the kids about the existence of the giant spider until he can see it for himself. He quickly changes his attitude about it when he does see it.
- Unusually for a movie of this type, the sheriff does take the appropriate actions for a giant spider outbreak - even calling in a tanker truck of [DDT] and gas masks - on the say-so of the kids' science teacher. Neither he nor the half-dozen deputies and insecticide techs take it seriously, until one of them dies...
- Chekhov's Gun: The teacher's lecture on electrons and poles, complete with demonstration. (A bit ...heady for a high school science class, then or now, but it works.)
- Disconnected By Death: The high school janitor at the start of the spider's rampage in town.
- Enforced Plug: We see ads for two other films by Bert. I Gordon: Attack of the Puppet People and The Amazing Colossal Man. The former is also worked into the dialogue.
- Follow the Leader: 1950s and big bugs and giant arachnids kind of go together once Them! came out. And on all the ads the film became "The Spider" once The Fly saw success.
- Genre Savvy: Averted. You'd think Mike would be this, given that he seems to be a movie buff, but that doesn't happen.
- Hollywood Darkness: The cave. They don't even bother with flashlights or torches in the slightest.
- Too Dumb to Live: The heroine drops her bracelet in the giant cave after nearly being killed by the giant spider. What does she do? She goes back in to look for her bracelet, resulting in her and her boyfriend nearly getting killed six ways to Sunday.note
- Versus Title: It's barely one small town, but presumably "A Single Small Town In The Middle Of Nowhere vs. The Spider" wouldn't have sold as well.