Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977)

Article 3682 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-29-2011
Posting Date: 9-13-2011
Directed by Stuart Hagmann
Featuring Claude Akins, Charles Frank, Deborah Winters
Country: USA
What it is: Creepy crawly TV-Movie horror

An airplane hauling coffee in from Ecuador crashes in a small community whose main source of income is from oranges. However, the coffee beans were infested with deadly spiders who now threaten the lives and industry of the town.

I thought I saw this movie many years ago, because my main memory of it was that it was so hackneyed that I wrote a short-story parody of it called ATTACK OF THE KILLER SLUGS. Watching it again, I wonder if I confused it with another movie; though I do remember certain scenes well enough, the scenes that provided fodder for the parody are not present, so I’m pretty sure my memory is faulty, which makes me glad that I go back and rewatch some of these movies. My main reaction to it this time is that it actually does a few interesting things with the idea; though it initially seems to be imitating JAWS, it ultimately takes a different direction; the mayor’s small-mindedness about the threat from the spiders eventually gives way to the realization that an over-hasty solution to the problem may destroy the town’s economy, and that every effort will be made to take care of the threat without destroying the whole town. The human villain ends up being a co-owner of the warehouse who is hoping to profit from the insurance, and he ends up doing some really stupid things before the movie is over. In fact, a lot of people act stupidly in the movie, which is one of its problems. Other problems include some really odd use of crowds at times, and there are a number of subplots that are left underdeveloped and plot points that lead nowhere. Yet it seems for every bad point, there’s a good point somewhere else, so I’ll just say the movie is very uneven and let it go at that.

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