Armagideon Time

One of my plans for this year’s Halloween Countdown is to spotlight some of the things that scared the bejeezus out of me during my formative years, doctor starting with this rather quaint slice of nightmare fuel…

The Spider, online a 1958 cinematic schlockfest more commonly known — thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000 — as Earth vs. The Spider.   The film was the brainchild of producer/director Bert I. Gordon, who channeled his knack for unconvincing photographic effects into something resembling a career involving such terrifying creatures as giant grasshoppers, giant dudes in diapers, giant antsgiant Beau Bridges, and, in this case, a giant spider.

In all honesty, it wasn’t the oversized, rear-projected arachnid of the title that haunted my dreams for weeks after seeing the film on the bottom half of one of WLVI-56’s Creature Double Feature matinees.  My seven year old self may not have been aware of the square-cube law, but I was savvy enough to grasp the inherent impossibility of a sixty-foot long red-legged tarantula.

What did freak my shit out was a sequence where the plucky teen protagonists stumble across one of the spider’s dessicated victims…

…mostly because I had intimate knowledge of the arachnid feeding process, having been forced to watch as my eccentric (that is to say “kind of crazy”) grandfather plucked Japanese beetles from his prize rosebushes and dropped them into a spiderweb…and chuckled and gloated as the web’s owner did her grisly work.

I’d also be lying if I said the scene where Dick D’Agostin and some members of Eddie Cochran’s touring band accidentally revived the slumbering creature… 

…didn’t instill a subconscious aversion to vintage rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals that lasted well into my teens.

Recommended listening:  Don Gregory And The Montclairs featuring Little Eddie Woods – Bug Killer (from the b-side of a 1965 single)

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No, I’m not trembling. Don’t be silly. It’s just a little cold in here. Yeah. That’s why I’m sweating so much. Now if you”ll excuse me, I’m going to go see where I left my can of Raid.

2 Responses to “Halloween Countdown: October 3 – Crawly creepy”

  1. Atomic Robot

    I get a kick out of all those 30 year old “teenagers” in that clip.

  2. Mitchell Craig

    And Arnold Ziffel’s dad (Hank Patterson) from Green Acres as Hugo!

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