Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Then along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Some people are scared of spiders. Whenever they see a spider, they will become scared, either screaming in horror, or trying to swat the spider with a rolled-up newspaper or stomp it to death if it's on the floor.
Essentially, this trope is when spiders are portrayed as being scary monsters in different forms of media. Sometimes, they can be giant monsters in horror movies, while they can be normal-sized, yet still retain the scariness that they are thought to have.
They're often portrayed as extremely venomous, capable of killing or incapacitating humans. This happens occasionally in Real Life and near constantly in fiction. In fictionland, the sight of a creeping spider is comparable to that of an approaching cobra or tiger. If anthropomorphic, they may be portrayed as more sneaky and manipulative. They may be Evil Puppeteers, due to the resemblance between a spider's webbing and a puppet's strings.
In reality, while there are indeed a number of deadly spiders on Earth, most of them are more likely to be found in relatively "remote" or exotic regions, such as Australia or Brazil. In America, the most notorious deadly spiders are the black widow and the brown recluse, and the very name will have an air of death and apprehension. In reality, both of these spiders are extremely docile, and their bites are rarely serious — most fatalities are children or people with weak immune systems.
In lieu of either of these spiders, however, the spider most likely to be used to inspire fear and revulsion is one of a wide variety of tarantula species. Despite being relatively harmless to humans, their size and appearance is a grade of Nightmare Fuel all by themselves. Even when a spider really is dangerous to humans — such as the Sydney funnel web or Brazilian wandering spider — they won't aggressively attack people under normal circumstances (see Animal Assassin for more information). The former, in fact, has 13 total confirmed deaths to its name — all prior to the introduction of antivenom in 1981.
In reality, more people are killed each year by champagne corks or falling vending machines than spiders. A rather unimpressive record compared to, say, bears, crocodiles, venomous snakes, or even canines or sharks. However, those animals all have two eyes, internal skeletons and red blood. When it comes to narrative effect, otherness is always scarier than practical threat.
Compare Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?, Giant Spider, Spider Swarm and Scary Scorpions. Contrast Friend to Bugs, for someone who might love spiders, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider, for the opposite depiction of these animals.
Not to be confused with Demonic Spiders, which is a gameplay trope, though the two can certainly overlap.
- The first three seasons had Dokugumon, a monstrous spider Digimon who served either as a guard to the bad guy's lair, or just as a typical spider catching other Digimon that get caught in its web.
- The second season also had Arukenimon, an Arc Villain.
- The first season had what's named Kodokugumon. Those are the zillions and zillions of mini-Dokugumon that appeared with the first one.
- You can go for an army of the full-sized ones! That's what happened in season five. If Gaogamon's Mid-Season Upgrade hadn't shown up then, the team would have been screwed.
- Pokémon is Playing with a Trope.
- The Johto episodes introduced Spinarak and its evolved form, Ariados, while the Unova episodes introduced Joltik and its evolved form, Galvantula. Even more frightening that both Joltik and Galvantula have the ability, Unnerve. Likewise, Spinarak and Ariados both have the move, Scary Face.
- The spider-type Pokémon can be considered more of an aversion to this trope due to their basic designs not being all that grotesque, especially what with Spinarak and Joltik being more cute and cuddly looking in appearance.
- Misty is terrified of spiders but only because she's afraid of bug Pokémon in general.
- In one episode, there was a entire police force that employed Spinarak to catch criminals.
- Soul Eater Arachne is a major villain with a spider theme organization.
- One Piece, humorously example in the Jaya arc when Sanji, Nami and Usopp while hunting for the South Bird the trio discover a tarantula crawling up Nami's waist. Naturally Nami freaks out and even Sanji (the dude who stands up to Enel in the same arc) also is terrified but hilariously Usopp picks the spider up and pets it saying he used to train tarantulas back home.
- Fitting for the horror-theme island of Thriller Bark, a giant fusion of a monkey and spider Tararan but he's more silly than scary. The spider mice are more creepy. They are mice the size of dogs that can silently wrap up the Monster Trio and drag them away.
- Vice Admiral Onigumo has spider-Devil Fruit and can gain six more arms in addition to a huge spider abdomen, but it'a unknown if he's Zoan who can go full spider which would be terrifying.
- Little Lulu: Mentioned, but not quite seen in fruition, but in Episode 6, Tubby is apparently scared of spiders.
- In the Animal Crossing anime, Ai gets a spider on her hand and freaks out.
- While Rachnera from Daily Life with Monster Girl is a decent person once you scratch under the surface (well, mostly), she does get quite a bit of mileage from her potential to scare/intimidate thanks to her arachnid appearance, like the time she stopped the Attempted Rape of Centorea dead in its tracks.
- Maya the Bee: There's an episode of the anime where Maya is trapped in a sinister spider's web, which boasts about how it will eat her. However, Maya is saved thanks to intervention from Flip the Grasshopper, who destroys the web with a high-powered jump.
- Subverted by Spider-Man who calls himself "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" and is loved (or at least tolerated) by everyone in New York but J. Jonah Jameson; but played straight by spider-motif enemies Venom and Carnage. Sort of.
- Even then, Spider-Man is supposed to be creepy. When shown from the villains' point of view, we're shown a guy who moves and stands nothing like a human being (putting him in the Uncanny Valley), can come out of freaking nowhere, and no matter how far you run or how sneaky you think you're being, you will find him hanging upside down in front of you with the giant bug-eyed eyepieces staring into your soul.
- According to Stan Lee, Marvel publisher Martin Goodman almost squashed the Spider-Man idea for the reason that "people don't like spiders." This is why Spidey made his debut in the last issue of the cancelled Amazing Fantasy.
- In one of the Avengers/Justice League crossovers, Wonder Woman described Spider-Man as "creepy".
- Twisted and played with with Nightwing cast member Tarantula. The original was a Silver Age hero. The current day one was an Anti-Hero who raped Nightwing while he was having a mental breakdown after encouraging him to kill.
- In Red Robin Tim finds himself fighting a cabal of blood thirsty killers who go by spider themed code-names and call themselves the Council of Spiders. Some of them take the creepy spider theme further, like "Sac" who controls what appears to be a swarm of thousands of little spiders that eat their way into people so he can see through the victim's eyes and when he's done he has them tear and eat their way out of the victim fatally.
- In the Tintin book The Shooting Star, Tintin sees a meteorite through a telescope and nearly has a heart attack when he sees a spider covering the entire thing. It turns out it was just spider through the telescope, which causes Snowy to laugh at him... until he sees it himself and jumps three feet in the air (which blossoms a running gag through the series).
- Later in the same book, Tintin ends up fighting a spider as large as him.
- Snowy is also shown being frightened by a spider in The Black Island.
- Issue 1 of Ice Cream Man gets a lot of mileage out of this trope with a species of deadly venomous spider that a boy is keeping as a pet. It manages to gruesomely kill several people with its bite before the story is over.
- Alex from Madagascar is spooked by a large spider on his shoulder. After it gives him a friendly "Well, howdy do."
- After all of his Death Traps fail to impress Roxanne, Megamind notices a spider dangling in front of her face and pretends it was intended. Then Roxanne nonchalantly blows on it and it lands on his face. Cue freak out.
- The Secret of NIMH: A spider stalked Mrs. Brisby without her knowing it, before it got squashed by the Great Owl.
- The opening scene of Shrek 4-D has Donkey reacting in terror towards a spider that came down in front of him.
- In Treasure Planet, Scroop, one of the main antagonists, resembles a giant spider. He is the one that acts the most threatening of all the pirates.
- The sequel to Hoodwinked had a giant black widow spider attempt to attack and devour Red Riding Hood and her grandma before the timely arrival of the Woodsman and his team of yodelers. Subverted in the end where the spider is befriended by Granny's redeemed rival.
- BIONICLE: Web of Shadows shows off the Visorak horde, which are essentially extremely intelligent man-sized spiders with massive mandibles who have conquered and enslaved entire islands and want to keep doing that. Best part, in their tongue, their name means "stealers of life".
- Arachnophobia was a film about a group of hybridized spiders that invaded a California town and began killing the inhabitants that lived there.
- The duology of horror films: Spiders & Spiders II: Breeding Ground.
- The more recent Spiders 3D. Pity any arachnophobes who dare to see this film in its original format.
- John Cardos' 1977 epic Kingdom of the Spiders featuring William Shatner was about a Southwestern town of Verde Valley that was overrun by a bunch of killer spiders after a pesticide kills off all the other bugs.
- Similarly, the 1950s sci-fi film Earth vs. the Spider was about a giant mutant spider that invaded a nearby city.
- No relation to a similarly-titled 2001 movie about a lowly comic book fan who injects himself with a serum in order to become a superhero with spider-like powers, but although it causes him to gain the powers of a human-sized spider, it also gives him the appearance of a human-sized spider and an endless hunger for human flesh.
- Also from the 1950s was Tarantula, a giant spider killed in the end by Clint Eastwood.
- The giant mechanical spider from the Will Smith movie Wild Wild West. Earlier in the film, Gordon is terrified of the desert tarantula that is crawling up Jim's arm. Jim, unfazed, comments "he's just trying to get warm."
- Eight Legged Freaks is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but it plays the whole thing for laughs with the spiders' silly voices and antics.
- Ditto, pretty much, for Big Ass Spider.
- Annie Hall — Annie calls Alvy (Woody Allen) over late at night claiming an emergency (some months after they broke up, as an excuse to see him again) — when he finds out it's for a spider in the tub, he gets peevish and exasperated at her...he enters the bathroom and comes right out, saying "Very big spider. Lotta trouble, there's two of them!"
- In Dr. No, a mook plants a tarantula in Bond's hotel room at night, clearly the most terrifying thing in the world. In the book it was a centipede known by Bond to be deadly — guess he hadn't read up on all the arthropods...
- One of the things trying to kill you in Jumanji.
- The Haunted Mansion had one of a pair of siblings who suffers from crippling arachnophobia. Predictably, he's forced to overcome his phobia to save his mom from an arranged marriage with a misguided ghost by opening a door crawling with giant spiders.
- Invoked in Home Alone when Kevin escapes from Marv by putting his brother's escaped tarantula on Marv's face. Marv freaks out and Screams Like a Little Girl.
- Enemy: This film is not for arachnophobes.
- In The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) a tarantula is left in the shoe belonging to Henry Baskerville, which promptly crawls up his arm to his shoulder, poised to deliver a deadly bite before Holmes sweeps it off with a walking stick and kills it. Partially justified later, when Holmes remarks that a tarantulas bite is not always deadly, but Baskervilles heart condition would have made it so.
- After brushing aside an enormous web, Indiana Jones and his guide Satipo in Raiders of the Lost Ark find dozens of tarantulas crawling on them, but calmly brush them off. Tarantulas, of course, do not build webs.
- In 2006 adaptation of Charlotte's Web, it's averted, obviously. However, as far as Ike the horse is concerned though, it's played straight, but Played for Laughs. He mostly grows out of it at the end when Charlotte's babies hatch
Ike: Please don't hurt me.Charlotte: Well, since you said "please." (chuckles)
- When Ike sees Charlotte for the first time, he starts shrieking ''SPIDER! GET IT AWAY FROM ME! GET IT AWAY!"
- Then when Charlotte reveals to Wilbur that she drinks flies' blood, Ike faints to the ground with a loud THUD. Then as Charlotte climbs down next to the fallen horse..
Charlotte: Ike, this meeting involves every one of us.Ike: I just have...trouble looking at you. That's all.Charlotte: Well, this isn't about me, this is about Wilbur. And for the record, my view of you is not exactly a treat, either
- Also this dialogue when Charlotte is trying to get him involved to a meeting involving Wilbur
- In The Believers, the female lead has the egg of a parasitic spider placed on her cheek by the voodoo cultists so tiny baby spiders eventually hatch from her face.
- In Hangman's Curse, it's revealed that the attacks are the result of planted pheromones causing an African Spotted wolf spider to bite the victims. Then, they breed with a brown recluse spider and infest the school...
- The ending scene from The Fly (1958). The sight of that spider slowly approaching the helpless fly-human...
HEEEELP MEEEE! HEEEEEEEEELP MEEEEEEEEE!
- Nightwish: A character hallucinates having her head placed inside a glass box full of tarantulas.
- Meet the Feebles features a Giant Spider that works at the docks. It attacks Bletch, Trevor, and Barry, killing the latter by eating his head off. It ends up getting killed by having its face smashed against a hanging cargo. Regardless, it is pretty terrifying to look at! Bletch even reveals a fear of spiders when the arachnid tries to kill him.
- Once by James Herbert uses this trope to horrifying effect.
- In Morganville Vampires mad-scientist vampire, Myrnin, takes a pet house-spider and calls him Bob and gives him another spider as a friend. This is greatly to Claire's dislike, being an arachnophobe herself. Ada used the other spider as a weapon as she blew said other spider up to be the size of a stool and set him to attack Claire all because she was jealous of her. Eventually, the other spider just exploded, unable to cope with the dramatic resizing.
- Averted in Charlotte's Web, where Charlotte is kind and sympathetic towards Wilbur. That said, she is very frank about what her species does to survive, at one point casually mentioning how delicious the blood of insects is, which Squicks Wilbur pretty hard.
- The first couple of times wolf spider is used as a morph in Animorphs. Played straight in The Android, when Marco has to morph a wolf spider. He really, really doesn't want to.
- Harry Potter:
- Averted with Harry, who has lived in a cupboard long enough not to be bothered by normal spiders.
- His best friend Ron however is terrified of spiders, stemming from a childhood incident where Fred cruelly turned his teddy bear into a spider. It's a fear that's shared by his actor in the films Rupert Grint.
- In the third book when facing a Bogart - a shapeshifting creature that turns itself into a person's phobia - Ron naturally has his turn into a huge spider. The narration says "quite a few people screamed", showing he's far from the only arachnaphobe in class.
- The series feature Acromantula - which are Giant Spiders capable of human speech. They're also incredibly vicious and will happily eat humans. Hagrid's pet Aragog does not harm him out of loyalty - but he's happy to let his family eat Harry and Ron.
- Tolkien's Legendarium: Ungoliant from The Silmarillion, who's less "Giant Spider" and more "vaguely spider-shaped Eldritch Abomination." Morgoth was frightened of her. Her descendants include Shelob from The Lord of the Rings and the Mirkwood Spiders in The Hobbit, and while they're far less powerful than her, they're still pretty scary.
- Stephen King:
- In It, Pennywise turns into a demonic Giant Spider. It's said that Its true form is incomprehensible to humans but they saw it as a spider because that was the closest thing their minds could associate it with.
- In The Dark Tower, Mordred is described as a sort of were-spider. Fitting, given who one of his fathers is. The Crimson King, who is sometimes called the "Lord of Spiders," and is somewhat were-spider-like in the comic adaptations.
- Averted in the Miss Spider books, where Miss Spider is a kindly Maiden Aunt to a town of bugs. Adorable, albeit subject to Carnivore Confusion. Spiderus, the resident Cranky Neighbor, seems like this at first, but the animated series mellows him out greatly, eventually even making him a Bumbling Dad.
- They are robots, each fitted with a Brain in a Jar, but the brain spiders in Galaxy of Fear unsettle and frighten Zak, especially since they seem to be stalking him. When they finally corner him, they turn out to be on his side and trying to tell him something, which is hard to do when you're a meter-tall metal spider that can't talk. He's also alarmed later in the series when there are knobby white spiders around on Dagobah. Yoda tests him by forcing him to be near one that's pacified.
- A Noodle Incident in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor has Han Solo mentioning being uncomfortable when Leia was negotiating with a species which looked like giant human-headed spiders.
- Dave Barry's column "The Web Badge of Courage" tells the story of bravely setting out, on his 41st birthday, to subdue what he calls "a spider the size of Harold C. Crittenden Junior High School" (or "Bernice" for short) that had set up a large web outside his front door, using a wooden stick and a peanut butter jar.
- The fire-spiders in The Quest of the Unaligned. Not only are they giant foot-long spiders that shoot strands of flaming web, they also attack in swarms of five hundred or more and tend to inhabit caves where the spilt web on the walls can cook their victims alive via a notable aversion of Convection Shmonvection. The scene where Alaric and Laeshana have to cut their way through a swarm of these things is one of the book's tenser moments.
- Annabeth, and all children of Athena, fear spiders in the Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus book series. With good reason, as Athena created the original spider by cursing a human woman named Arachne for her hubris, and since that time her descendants have all sought revenge. It's mentioned in the books that spiders can sense Athena's offspring and will seek them out to attack them. The climax of The Mark of Athena involved Annabeth versus Arachne herself, a half-woman half-spider immortal who is so powerful that the immortal giants are afraid of her even though she cannot possibly kill them.
- Played to the absolute maximum in Richard Lewis's novel The Spiders. Imagine a spider as big as a Goliath bird-eater with masticating jaws, venom that first paralyzes and then kills, a hard crabshell-like exoskeleton, and two evil eyes that you can see looking at you. Now imagine that's just the drone in a social system similar to an ant or bee colony — its job is to find food and bring it back to the hive, which consists of some even larger spiders and an enormous queen. This is what the protagonists of the book have to deal with in order to save England, where the spiders are slowly advancing from the country into the cities.
- Taken in a Bad Powers, Good People sense in The Lost Years of Merlin books, where the Grand Elusa is a white spider. A talking, ancient, size-shifting, teleporting, deeply magical, endlessly hungry white spider rightly seen as terrifying. She also patiently endures the main character's whining, has "love as strong as her hunger", and restricts her diet to evil things, even if she talks a lot about eating any visitors who show up.
- Journey to Chaos: Team Four has to fight an knee jerk reaction when Sathel's spiders crawl over them. They're intelligent field medic spiders but they still give the kids the creeps.
- The title character in Eden Green is a self-styled rationalist who always takes time to figure out the most logical action. This is momentarily abandoned as soon as she learns that the needle monsters invading her town can take the form of a nineteen-legged spider the size of a basketball.
- The Relativity character Ravenswood is afraid of spiders. One of the bad guys has the ability to control spiders... You can guess where this is going.
- Much like Lewis's The Spiders is The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone. Spiders act more like army ants, and have no respect for humans' role as being the top of the food chain.
- Legs the Tarantula in The Bad Guys quickly terrifies the others (save for Mr. Wolf, who he's already on good terms with) purely out of being a spider. Despite this, he's a good guy with simply a bad reputation, an amazing hacker and inventor for the team, and an all-around nice guy. A major arc in the book "Mission Unpluckable", his debut book in the series, is him teaming up with Mr. Shark, who has to learn how to shake his fear of him to help the others.
- Played with on Angel, with the episode where Angel visits the goddess of lost things trying to find a way to locate Cordelia. She's big and spider-like and covered in spooky web-material.
- An episode of The Avengers entitled "The Fear Merchants" involved a group of people who would find out their targets' worst fears and phobias and use them to devastating effect. Guess what one of those phobias was?
- The Brady Bunch: The Hawaii trilogy had one ep with a spider sneaking into the hotel room beds and scaring some of the kids. It was crawling on one of the boys.
- Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a student has a waking nightmare of a swarm of spiders attacking him...it turns out he loves them, and this is a manifestation of his guilt at his pet spiders dying under the neglectful eye of his brother. Played straight by Willow, who is afraid of them. ("Why do they need all those legs anyway?")
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - averted with Aunt Hilda, whose pet spiders are her familiars. But Sabrina uses these spiders to traumatise her principal when he turns a blind eye to her friend being bullied.
- Doctor Who:
- The Eight-Legs of Metebelis III in "Planet of the Spiders". Mutated by blue Metebelis crystals from Earth spiders that stowed aboard a colony ship, they eventually grew to several inches across and gained mental powers that allowed them to dominate (and occasionally eat) humans. Their supreme ruler the Great One became a true Giant Spider, many yards across, and attempted to take over the universe. You can probably guess how that turned out for her.
- "Arachnids in the UK" involves the Doctor and company having to deal with very large spiders, the largest being the size of a van. Pretty much everyone involved feels this way about them, especially the arachnophobic Ryan and Robertson.
- Power Rangers and all other Toku series have a spider Monster of the Week every so often. Kamen Rider makes a point of it, as Homage. The first two Monster of the Weeks in the original series were a spider and a bat in that order, so many a modern KR will have a spider and a bat as the first monsters, or recurring enemies, or paired, or important to the story, or something. Spiders are really the ones they use to ramp up the creepy, though, so this trope is in effect whether homaging or not. Most KR monsters are People in Rubber Suits, but the spider in Kamen Rider ZO was a huge horrific Claymation drider with blood red eyes and unhingeable jaws on its otherwise human face (looks like a Glasgow Smile, then opens its mouth, and... uh, you should run at that point.) Kamen Rider Ryuki gave us a giant CGI spider that revived as a giant CGI drider. Kamen Rider Double has a Spider Dopant in the teamup with Kamen Rider OOO, and its design wasn't too scary but its effect was pretty horrible.
- The one thing that scares Budnick in Salute Your Shorts.
- Stargate Universe: "Human" and "Lost" had a spider-like alien animal encountered by the group. They were about the size of a small dog and had huge mouths filled with needle-like fangs. They didn't actually do anything besides hiss menacingly but were scary enough for Greer to shoot on sight.
Col. Young: Why exactly was Greer "forced" to fire his weapon?
Lt. Scott: There was... a spider, sir.
Col. Young: A spider.
Lt. Scott: It was a sizeable spider, sir.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Averted when Chief O'Brien tells Lieutenant Barclay at the end of "Realm of Fear" about how he overcame his own fear of spiders to work a repair in a spider-infested crawlspace. The episode ended with O'Brien's pet tarantula crawling on Barclay's arm.
- The seventh-season episode "Genesis" had Barclay devolve into one for a Jump Scare.
- The Fearnot episode of The Storyteller begins with the dog cowering in fear after seeing a spider, shot from the spider's point of view. The Storyteller is not afraid of said spider (which he then promptly kills), and in fact teases him about fearing such a thing.
- In The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Poisonous Posey" one of the bad guys uses tarantulas as murder weapons. West kills one when he sees it next to Gordon while he is taking a nap. Later, Gordon plants one in another bad guys glove. This bad guy spots it before it bites him, and he predictably thinks the spider guy is trying to kill him.
- In the 1998 series of The Worst Witch (not the original books) this is surprisingly averted by Mildred. She's terrified of heights and the dark but pretends to Miss Cackle that it's spiders she's afraid of - when asking if fear can be magicked away. Miss Cackle says it can't and one must just get used to their phobias - and conjures up a spider to make her point. Afterwards Mildred reveals she loves them, and has a pet spider at home.
- In an extended version of "Little Miss Muffet" that Sesame Street did in the late 80s told by Gina, the titular characters has a Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?-type of fear of spiders, and keeps running away screaming loudly from the spider that keeps following her everywhere. It isn't until Miss Muffet comes to Gina for advice, whom tells Miss Muffet that the spider might really be nice, and it turns out the spider just wants to be friends.
- "Boris the Spider" by The Who — though the narrator has the last laugh after crushing the little critter under a heavy book.
- "Spiders & Snakes" by Jim Stafford.
- "The Spider" by Flanders and Swann is from the perspective of a man who has defeated all manner of large predators, but is petrified by "the spider in the bath."
- Referred to metaphorically in the Jerry Cantrell song "Spiderbite", which compares a cocaine addiction to a spider stalking its victim in the shadows.
- The Magnus Archives has an episode about an arachnophobe who is plagued by one particular spider. Even though it's not particularly big, there's something horrible about it. He eventually realises that it's somehow the same spider that started his arachnophobia when he was a child.
- In the Wolf 359-episode Extreme Danger Bug, Eiffel is exposed as an arachnophobe... By being the one who spends a big portion of the episode with a huge, hairy, slimy and VERY poisonous spider in his shirt.
Minkowski: Eiffel, don't worry. Everything is going to be alright. This thing is probably more scared of you than you are of him!
Eiffel: (whimpering) While I normally could get on board with that train, I assure you that in this case I am definitely the more terrified party... I. Hate. Spiders!
- Tara's arrival in TNA revealed The Beautiful People were afraid of spiders, at least when they were big hairy tarantulas. Poison, as the spider was revealed to be named, only showed up when Tara was a babyface, suggesting no one expected the audience to fear spiders. She did however use Poison to good effect when feuding with the Beautiful People - releasing her to crawl all over poor Velvet Sky. Likewise Madison Rayne eventually found Poison in a box and was left terrified.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Lolth, Demon Queen (later goddess) of Spiders, is one of the game's most long-standing epic Big Bad villains. Adventures featuring Lolth or her drow minions typically revel in this trope.
- In Ravenloft, the leader of the Nightmare Court takes the form of an aged monk wearing robes made of cobwebs, with live spiders crawling all over him.
- In Warhammer, the goblin armies can use giant spiders, including the massive Arachnorok spider which is bigger than some warmachines.
- Baels in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones are giant spider monsters, and most notable in one stage where you have to keep some defenseless NPCs safe from being killed by one, either by clearing the map before it reaches them, or by rescuing them.
- Phantom from Devil May Cry is a giant spider demon that can light himself on fire and is a recurring boss in the first game.
- Jak II: Renegade has a section in the Tomb of Mar where Daxter, after having escaped from being crushed by a boulder, encounters a Giant Spider and must run from it.
- There's a level in Donkey Kong Country Returns where spiders chase you down for disturbing their nest. Should the player get caught they are dragged into the swarm in true Nightmare Fuel fashion.
- In SimAnt, the spider is especially scary from your ant's point of view, and is one of the biggest threats to your existence.
- City of Heroes has the recurring threat of Arachnos, and their leader, Lord Recluse. In City of Villains, you can work for them, if you want.
- Why do you think these are a staple of the Resident Evil games? When people were used to the tarantula and huntsman style Giant Spider they were given several redesigns to be made more scary, and included even when they weren't needed (Resident Evil 5 had realistic, normal but still huge ones in the background, and the Lost in Nightmares DLC had some bigger than Jill's ass.) Thanks, thanks a lot.
- In After The War, certain Aliens seems to be modeled after spiders, and usually they're the creepier ones.
- The tarantula in the Animal Crossing series, which is probably the closest thing to an actual enemy you'll ever encounter. It makes an unnerving scratching noise as it moves, and villagers will make some unsettled remarks if one is nearby. If it spots you it'll simply stare at you for a moment, then run off. However, if you have a bug net equipped when this happens, it'll instead hiss and start chasing you. If it catches you, its bite will knock you out, after which you'll wake up in front of your house no worse for wear.
- Earthbound lampshades the idea that spiders are particularly scary, as the spiders that you fight are called Arachnid!s and Arachnid!!!s.
- Dark Souls II features the Duke's Dear Freja, a massive, eight-legged abomination that nests on a hollowed-out dragon's corpse, and is accompanied by man-sized spiders. Her introductory cutscene makes a nightmarish close-up on one of her two heads, and she's none too happy about your intrusion on her territory. On New Game+, she'll even scare the crap out of seasoned players by making an appearance outside of her boss area.
- Dragon Age:
- The series has had giant spiders since the first game, and regularly has them appear to fight the player in a Jump Scare. But in Dragon Age: Inquisition, during a sequence taking place in a nightmare realm, the Inquisitor and party have to fight off spider-like creatures sent by a creature called Nightmare. In-universe, each character is seeing something personalized, but the Inquisitor and Hawke are seeing spiders.
- The spiders are named for various fears, Death, Abandonment, Senility, etc.; amusingly, at one point, one of them is given the title "Ironically, Spiders."
- The Nightmare itself also looks like a horrifying giant spider to the Inquisitor. Seems like the Inquisitor is a bit of an arachnophobe.
- Averted by Kwincy from Best Fiends, who is absolutely adorable, no matter how many eyes he gains.
- Flight Rising has a few spider food items, some of which have descriptions that reference this trope.
Diving Aranea: To some, true terror is a spider that can swim.Harvestman: You are more afraid of it than it is of you.Black Iron Spider: The only thing more terrifying than a spider is a squish-proof armored spider.Grey River Jumper: Nope.
- In Undertale, this attitude drives Muffet's grudge against humans (and your character by extension). If you prove her wrong by buying one of her ridiculously overpriced items right before her fight, she won't even challenge you. Alternatively, eating one of the items from the spider bake sale in the Ruins during the battle itself will prompt her to spare you on the spot. Muffet herself is a major aversion of this trope, being a six-armed Cute Monster Girl who isn't scary at all.
- In the Home Alone Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis, in the Mansion, Buzz's pet spider crawls along the ceiling, occasionally knocking down either Kevin, Harry, or Marv if they get near him.
- The Ilwrath from the Star Control are evil spider-like aliens who are famous for their fanatical devotion to their dark gods Dogar and Kazon.
- Averted in TinkerQuarry with Skid, a plastic spider who is quite adorable and innocent.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Throughout the series, Giant Spiders are a frequent enemy. They tend to pop up in dark places which already instill an air of fear, such as ruins and caves. In Skyrim, Farkas, a member of the Companions inner circle and a BFS-wielding Badass Baritone werewolf, becomes terrified of Frostbite Spiders to the point where he wont accompany you through a spider nest during a critically important mission. Have a companion with you in these areas and they will voice their concerns, and custom voiced follower mods are nine times out of ten are even more fearful.
- Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. She is referred to as "the Webspinner" and is associated with spiders, often with Arachnid Appearance and Attire. Her lesser Daedra servants are the Spider Daedra, which take the appearance of mutated, humanoid Giant Spiders.
- In Brackenwood, Bitey really doesn't like spiders, although it seems to be as much disgust as outright fear. The scene where this appears pokes some fun at his excessive arachnophobia. The view shifts between the spider, which is just sitting in its web and not doing anything, and Bitey, who is approaching the spider with a stick like it's a volatile explosive. This goes on until a leaf lands on Bitey and he freaks out, hitting himself on the head with the stick by mistake before running away. The spider then gives an Aside Glance to the camera, as if saying "really?"
- Inverted by Lucas the Spider, who's instead quite cute given his large eyes, anthropomorphized movements, and sweet child's voice.
- In earlier installments of xkcd, the characters are sometimes attacked by swarms of red spiders. They even attack Rob and Megan while they're in a hot air balloon, talking about how the timing is off for a romantic relationship.
- In Girl Genius, the one thing that Gil and Agatha hesitate to fight is a spider the size of one's face. Gil in all seriousness claims that handling a small army of Clanks is easier than handling one really big spider.
- Happens quite often in Princess Chroma. Averted with Spiders, who is actually a white rabbit nicknamed Spiders.
- Allie, of Hyperbole and a Half, is here to let you know that Spiders are Scary. It's okay to be afraid of them.
- Exterminatus Now: Eastwood has a massive phobia of spiders, despite being an Inquisitor who faces down demonic horrors on a near-daily basis, and while he doesnt exactly do so fearlessly, he can do so without being reduced to a blubbering mess, which is exactly what he does when faced with a common house spider. This is a problem because The Patterner, one of the settings Big Bad quartet of evil gods, has the spider as one of his symbols, and his demons and servants occasionally takes the form as gigantic, demonic spider creatures.
- Cracked.com is known for their gross exaggeration of the theats posed by spiders.
1. Spiders are not technically insects, but actually skeletons made of congealed hate.
2. Men are slightly less terrified of spiders than women are, and are therefore easier prey.
3. Spiders have 8 legs. Every one can kill you. Simultaneously.
- The Internet meme Misunderstood Spider makes fun of this stereotype, by portraying an innocent, helpful, and friendly spider who is attacked by humans out of irrational fear.
- The NOPE meme in regards to creepy crawlies.
- Inverted however by a gif of a tumbleweed spider, which runs away by curling into a ball and rolling. The spider is the one going NOPE.
- In 20 Haunting Halloween Facts by Matt Santoro, Matt says, "If you see a spider on Halloween, that's the spirit of a loved one watching over you. But reincarnated loved one or not, I still squash that son of a bitch. Those things are fucking nasty!"
- 5 Second Films: Inverted, every spider fears Juliette Lewis.
- The Onion: The otherwise Stoic narrater loses it in the piece Spiders: Christ, Fucking Spiders -- Horrifying Planet.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo uses a fake spider to scare Eduardo so that he'll freak out and scare people away.
- Subverted on Static Shock by Anansi, who was a Zorro-type superhero who emulates Anansi the spider from African folk tales.
- Played straight then subverted in the Darkwing Duck episode, "Aduckyphobia" where the giant spider who gives Darkwing spider powers actually has the mind of a child and is being manipulated by the bad guy into doing his bidding.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears also featured a Monster of the Week Giant Spider called the Spinster who captures the Gummis for dinner. Fortunately, they escape in the end.
- Camp Lakebottom reveals that McGee is really scared of spiders and he thinks that they are gross in the episode, "Arachnattack".
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy movie "Wrath Of The Spider Queen" had the titular duo facing off against giant killer spiders sent by the eponymous Big Bad herself. There's also Jeff, who Billy is absolutely terrified of, but he's really a nice guy, and just wants his dad to love him.
- In an episode of BBC kids' show Kerwhizz Twist is really scared of meeting Kaboodle's pet spider Cynthia, but being a boy he unconvincingly pretends not to be. Averted in the end when he actually meets Cynthia and discovers that she's cute and friendly.
- Transformers Animated: Optimus Prime apparently has a fear of spiders ever since the day both he and Sentinel accidentally left Blackarachnia behind on a spider-infested planet.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Luna Eclipsed", Princess Luna — formerly Nightmare Moon — in a rather misguided attempt to make the ponies of Ponyville no longer afraid of her, brings several large beanie baby-esque spider toys to life. This, as the resulting spiders are large, menacing balls of hair with glowing, slitted red eyes, doesn't help matters.
- Subverted in a later episode, with a spider who looks menacing... up until it pulls out a flower and offers it up as a gesture of friendship. Said spider does this to Fluttershy - showing she is indeed A Friend To All Living Things.
- The flyders. They're spiders with insect wings, meaning they can fly, and move in swarms. They can shoot webbing with enough accuracy to tangle a fleeing pony's legs and at one point completely cover a campsite with webbing in a matter of minutes. They're also highly aggressive, and seem to consider ponies to be food. When a huge swarm attacks during a camping trip in "Campfire Tales", the characters are visibly — and admittedly justifiably — terrified of them.
- "What Lies Beneath": Yona, an arachnophobe, finds the Spider Swarm she encounters in the caves absolutely terrifying. Subverted by the episode itself, as the spiders turn out to be friendly and harmless creatures who help Yona find her friends.
- Fang from Teen Titans, who shoots paralysis-inflicting venom beams. His design is a doozy. Picture a giant spider... with a human body dangling from it and sorta swaying in the wind as the spider body does... stuff. He basically has a spider five times his size for a head.
- The Powerpuff Girls: This is what Buttercup fears in "Power-Noia."
- The Venture Bros. parodied Dr. No when henchmen of The Monarch and Baron Underbeit both deposit a tarantula and a scorpion into Dr. Venture's bedroom, unseen by each other. When the two creatures meet on Dr. V's bed, they square off against each other, as he screams in terror.
- In one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob is sleeping over at Patrick's. Unfortunately for SpongeBob, Patrick starts having a nightmare about spiders, and uses his house to start smashing the ground where SpongeBob is sleeping. How does Patrick know about spiders? Some spiders can breathe underwater.
- Beast Wars features two Predacons who Transform into oversized spiders. Blackarachnia usually isn't particularly creepy, but Tarantulas tends to be creepy enough for three Predacons, so it balances out.
- Transformers Prime features Airachnid, a black widow-based Decepticon huntress who rules the Insecticons and delights in adding new species to the Endangered list, humans included. She was also responsible for the death of Arcee's first partner, as well as Breakdown and Silas. As if that weren't creepy enough she gets transformed into a Vampire-Terrorcon hybrid mid-series and is last seen feeding on her own subjects .
- Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light has Cravex's Spider of Fear which, when summoned, bites its victim and causes him or her to suffer terrifying hallucinations.
- Since spiders in real life help gardens, this trope is likely why Nastina the spider is the villain on Rose Petal Place and constantly attempts to destroy or take over the garden.
- Mike, Lu & Og: A few episodes show that Mike is afraid of spiders.
- Mickey Mouse (2013): In "Goofy's Grandma", Goofy tries to stay at Mickey's place (disguised as his grandmother) because there's big spider in his house. When Mickey goes to his house to kill it, he opens the door to find a gigantic, live-action spider behind it, prompting them both to stay at Donald's.
- Arachnophobia: the irrational fear of spiders. It's actually one of the most common phobias out there, which might justify this trope's existence.