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!
The film also stars Michael Winslow and Marion Ramsey who share scenes with Guttenberg as well as having Leslie Easterbrook in a cameo, the first time all these actors were in the same film since Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol.
Got a sequel, 2 Lava 2 Lantula!, in 2016.
This film contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Michael Winslow occasionally imitates sound effects in the same vein of Larvell Jones.
- 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
- Bare Your Midriff: Colton's wife Olivia walks around in a sports bra during the first half of the movie.
- Big Bad: The queen of the lavalantula colony.
- Big Damn Heroes: Teddie takes on a small hive of lavalantulas, gunning down several but soon too many are heading towards her for her to take down on her own but Colton and Marty come barreling in and assist her in gunning them down.
- Body Horror: After Jordan dies from the spider bite, hundreds of spiders emerge from her mouth and burn Travis alive.
- The Cameo: Fin from Sharknado makes a brief appearance.
- 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.
- Death by Cameo: Leslie Easterbrook plays Olivia's friend, Doris. She's not even on-screen for a minute and a half before the lavalantulas kill her.
- 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.
- Dwindling Party: Wyatt and his group of friends. Only he makes it out alive.
- 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.
- Feed It a Bomb: How Colton kills the spider queen at the end.
- From Zero to Hero: Colton goes from a typical troubled celebrity being in the news from arrests to him rallying fellow survivors against the lavalantulas, even giving a Rousing Speech before heading out for the Final Battle.
- News stories about Colton West go from him being arrested for a barroom brawl and being charged with assault to hijacking a tour bus which he later got all passengers off before it blew up.
- 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.
- Monumental Damage: The famous Hollywood sign is shown being destroyed by sinking into a river of lava as it pours over the Hollywood Hills.
- Ms. Fanservice: Olivia, Colton's wife, spends her entire screen time in a sports bra.
- Portmantitle: "Lava"+"Tarantula".
- Redshirt Army: The troops that respond to the lavalantula invasion don't fare so well.
- 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."
- Fire extinguishers being the lavalantula's weakness could be one to The Blob (1958).
- 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.
- You Have to Believe Me!: Colton's wife and the tour bus group don't believe him when he tells them of the lavalantulas with his wife thinking he's drunk again and the tour group thinking it's just a promotional stunt. Both parties change their minds upon encountering the lavalantulas.