Earth Vs. the Spider (1958)

Article #536 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-3-2002
Posting date: 1-26-2003

A giant spider is discovered in a cave, and an attempt is made to kill him.

I have yet to see a giant spider movie that I would really call great, but if I had to choose one of the ones I’ve seen (I’ve not seen them all) as a favorite, this would be my current choice. This is really only saying that I prefer it slightly over TARANTULA; though that movie has a better story and more interesting characters, it’s a bit more tedious; this one is fairly efficient, gets to the action early, and doesn’t waste any time. It has its problems; the acting is merely adaquate throughout, but I think this is primarily because the script really doesn’t have much in the way of interesting characters; the most noteworthy of them is Gene Roth’s skeptical sheriff, but this part is also quite cliched. The spider seems to vary in size from scene to scene, particularly in its walk through the city, where it seems far larger than it did elsewhere. This in itself isn’t a crime; KING KONG has been accused of the same problem. The difference is that KING KONG keeps the action at such a taut level that you actually have to make an effort to notice his variation in size (for me, anyway), whereas this movie gives me plenty of opportunities to notice the variation, and to muse how he got out of the somewhat small entrance of the cave, or how they fit him in the high school gymnasium. Nonetheless, Bert I. Gordon’s special effects look better than usual this time round, and I actually like the rock ‘n’ roll song in the gymnasium scene; it actually sounds like rock ‘n’ roll. And I do admit that the opening scene is a doozy.

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