Film: Kingdom of the Spiders

You could be the next victim!

A 1977 horror film starring William Shatner, in which hordes of tarantulas begin swarming and attacking the residents of a small Arizona town after their natural food supplies give out. Perhaps most remembered today for the gruesome spider-victim FX, and the bizarre but not-exactly-a-twist ending. Shatner is also notable for one of those rare times when he actually makes an effort in the acting department, playing a flawed and even somewhat multifaceted character.

Now available as a RiffTrax video on demand download.


This film contains examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Implied at the end.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Poor Colby.
  • Cobweb Jungle: The entire town is turned into one by the end.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Used when Terry dies.
  • Gainax Ending: The final shot shows the entire town covered in webs, but not a spider in sight. Make of it what you will.
  • Green Aesop: DON'T USE DDT! (The US DDT ban did happen in 1972, so it shows the Mayor is either stupid or corrupt or both.)
  • Hot Scientist: Diane
  • Infant Immortality: Played straight and averted.
  • Kill 'em All: The last scene shows the entire town engulfed in spider webs, implying the surviving characters won't last the day.
  • Kill It with Fire: Attempted with the spider hill on Colby's land. Not only were there more hills elsewhere, the spiders in that hill simply escaped out a back door.
  • Love Triangle: Rack, Terry and Diane.
  • Mistaken for Servant: When Diane and Rack first meet, she mistakes him for a gas station attendant. He encourages the deception though, since he enjoys being a Troll.
  • Moment Killer: An early moment between Rack and Terry is snuffed when Terry calls him "John" (the name of Rack's dead brother).
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Again, Rack doesn't like being called John.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Averted. So many tarantulas died in the making of this film. In the Attack of the Town Festival scene, for instance, a car is driven through a bunch of live tarantulas, and a few can be seen getting crushed under the wheels, not to mention the scene where Rack saves Linda from a bunch of tarantulas on her bed, and then flips the bedspread, throwing the live spiders across the room.
  • Psycho Strings: Used on the Peek-A-Boo Corpse scenes.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Most of the music was borrowed from old The Twilight Zone episodes, mainly the work of a young Jerry Goldsmith.
  • Screaming Woman: Averted; Shatner does more screaming than leading lady Tiffany Bolling.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The cropduster pilot does this.
  • Spider Swarm: The entire premise of the film is the fact that the use of DDT has caused spiders to do this and swarm a town.
  • Stalking Is Love: Apparently Rack's philosophy.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Birch is armed and there's a spider on her hand. She then shoots the spider and her hand. (In her defense, we don't know what happened immediately before that scene that terrified her into doing that.)
    • The fact that she's using a pistol against perhaps a dozen tarantulas in the first place, instead of, you know, stepping on them.
    • When the main characters barricade themselves inside a house, it is clearly established that spiders are everywhere. So naturally, everyone checks out what's wrong with the air conditioning when it starts malfunctioning. Twice, with different vent covers. Mocked mercilessly by the RiffTrax crew.
  • The Vietnam War: Robert's brother died there.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Aside from the ending, the film mimicks the plot to Jaws, complete with a Mayor who cares more about a local festival than the health of his constituents.