Tarantula (1955)

Article #652 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 12-27-2002
Posting date: 5-26-2003

Scientists experimenting with a nutrient accidentally unleash a giant tarantula in the desert.

In the wake of THEM!, several big bug movies were made in the fifties, though none of them lived up to their model. They all have their good points, though. Yet, sadly, this is the one that I’m least likely to watch when I’m in the mood for a big bug movie. Despite certain elements that are quite good (the back story involving acromegaly is quite interesting), and the occasional very nice scene, I find the movie fairly dull on occasions. A lot of it has to do with the lack of interesting characters; the only two characters who capture my interest is Leo G. Carroll’s scientist and Hank Patterson’s comic-relief character role. Way too much of the running time is made up of a romance between John Agar and Mara Corday. In truth, I would have liked to see the story told from the point of view of the scientists working on the nutrient rather than from the point of view of the country doctor; they seem a much more interesting bunch. There is one absolutely great scene in this movie, though; an attack by the tarantula on a bunch of horses in a corral emphasizes the fear and the terror of the animals, and the scene is absolutely gripping. Make sure you’re not rummaging through the fridge when this moment comes.


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