Colton West (Steve Guttenberg) is an actor who was a huge action star in The '90s, now stuck acting in the drudgery of horrible B-movies. That's all about to change. You see, a series of earthquakes has struck Los Angeles, awakening a race of fire-breathing giant tarantulas. Now, Colton must fight his way through LA to find his son, killing every giant bug he finds!
Got a sequel, 2 Lava 2 Lantula!, in 2016.
This film contains examples of:
- All Part of the Show: Colton hijacks a tour bus, and the people on the bus are convinced it's part of the tour, or a hidden camera show in one guy's case, until the lavalantulas show up.
- Antagonist Title
- Big Bad: The queen of the lavalantula colony.
- Catchphrase: Colton, over the course of his movie career, got the catch phrase "Nice ____", with the blank part being whatever his character was gonna beat on.
- Convection Schmonvection: Downplayed; While you can still stand near the lava pits without bursting into flames, any rubber nearby will melt.
- Depraved Dwarf: Arnie, Colton's Jerkass agent, is a little person.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: While there's some speculation as to if they're a new species or borne of radiation, it's never actually explained where the lavalantulas came from. All that is known about their history is that they were known to the Mayans.
- The End... Or Is It?: The lavalantula queen is blown up, taking out the whole colony with it, but the last line of the film is "Many have wondered if we have seen the last of the lavalantulas."
- Fan Boy: Colton encounters a fan of his while trying to save the day. The kid becomes his sidekick in the adventure, using his film knowledge to survive real life becoming a ridiculous B-Movie.
- Giant Spider: The main antagonists are giant, fire-breathing tarantulas from the Earth's core.
- Hive Mind: The lavalantulas are all controlled by an even bigger queen. If she dies, they all die.
- Logical Weakness: The lavalantulas live in extreme heat their whole lives, so it make sense that cold will weaken them. Therefore, compressed liquid nitrogen, which is 77 kelvin or -196.5 celsius, will kill them.
- Ms. Fanservice: Maggie, Colton's wife, spends her entire screen time in a sports bra.
- Portmantitle: "Lava"+"Tarantula".
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: A washed-up actor blasts his way through a giant fire spider invasion to save his ex-wife and son.
- Shout-Out: Ian Ziering cameos in the film, saying he wishes he could help Colton, but he's "got shark problems."
- Show Within a Show: Right before the lavalantulas attack, Colton is seen filming a schlocky action giant cockroach movie that was meant to be a parody of SyFy's usual TV movie fare. He also got famous for a SWAS, a superhero movie called Red Rocket, along with other films such as Swamp Justice and The Executioner that don't have their plots described to the audience.
- Take That!: The governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger is mentioned as a disaster for California in a throwaway line.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Colton is terrified of bugs. This, naturally, means he has no issue with killing the lavalantulas.