Earth vs. the Spider (1958)

EarthVsTheSpiderPosterHeck, this spider wasn’t all that! It didn’t even take the entire Earth to fight it like the title promised! They should’ve called this one Egghead Professor & Redneck Sheriff vs. The Spider. Sure, it sounds like another hideous iteration of those Doll Man-Demonic Toys-Puppetmaster team ups, but director Bert I. Gordon (Attack Of The Puppet People, Empire Of The Ants) clearly knows how to make a movie where stuff isn’t the right size!

Hick Town, USA was just your average hick town until that night when Old Man Drunkens was out cruising right when Giant Spider was hankering for some Old Man Drunkens! Next thing you know, this hairy thing whips him across the face and Drunkens’ mission to give his teenage daughter a bracelet is cruelly cut short!

When Drunkens doesn’t come home the next morning, his daughter is worried, but Mike, who is sweet on her in spite of the pair of tarantula legs she calls eyebrows, pooh-poohs any worries about it. After all, Sally, your old man was a no good drunk – he’s probably just sleeping it off in some roadhouse parking lot!

After repeatedly sticking his foot in his mouth regarding Sally’s worthless old man, Mike manages to borrow his buddy’s hot rod to help Sally search for him. Their investigation turns up a big sticky rope laying across the road along with pieces of a busted windshield and the bracelet intended for Sally.

They also discover the wrecked pick up Drunkens was driving the night before and the next thing you know, they’re entering the mysterious cave with the large “No Trespassing” sign on it. At this point, you can’t really blame Giant Spider since he had the good sense to put up a sign warning people away.

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Mike and Sally see skeletons, a giant web, and Giant Spider himself in the cave before escaping back to town to tell Egghead Professor. (He’s actually just a high school teacher, but he’s young and wears a bomber jacket so he’s one of those cool teachers.)

E.P. seems receptive to the idea of Giant Spider but Redneck Sheriff isn’t so easily convinced. Just the same, when he and his posse head out to the cave to look for Drunkens, he has a tanker truck of DDT go with him.

Giant Spider doesn’t fare too well against the combined bug-fighting acumen of E.P. and R.S. and ends up gassed to death inside his cave! Demonstrating that same intellectual prowess that landed him the sweet gig of teaching high school science in Hick Town, E.P. doesn’t leave Giant Spider entombed in his cave, but instead spends half his life savings to hire a moving company to haul Giant Spider’s carcass to the high school gym!

I’ll just have to assume that E.P. must have got a healthy dose of DDT himself and wasn’t in his right mind. Really though, the biggest question I have is a simple one: Where was the freaking principal during all this?

How does that conversation go? “Uh, Principal Smith, I’ve got this big ass dead spider I need to store in the gym. Is that going to be a problem?” “Well, we do have the big dance tomorrow night. Say, just how big is your big ass dead spider anyway?” “Oh, it couldn’t be much larger than a Ford Expedition.”

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Storing Giant Spider in the gym proves to be relatively free of problems since they’ve taken the precaution of roping off the area around Giant Spider.

Sure, there were a few hitches in things like Giant Spider smacking a dude upside his head with one of his dead legs, but E.P. assured us that was perfectly normal in recently deceased monstrous bugs. Then there was the hitch when the band was rehearsing in the gym while the drama club danced and accidentally woke Giant Spider up! It turns out Giant Spider was just taking a nap!

After stopping for a snack consisting of Hugo the school janitor, Giant Spider decides to stretch all eight of his legs and check out Hick Town for himself. He wanders around leaving downed tree limbs, destroyed cars, and overturned lawn furniture in his midst.

He also demonstrates a secret super power when he mysteriously becomes the size of a house when previously he was small enough to fit through a pair of gymnasium doors! And guess whose house he’s just about the size of? That’s right! Egghead Professor’s!

Egghead Professor arrives in the nick of time and rams his car into Giant Spider causing him to get bored with Hick Town and head back to his cave. Mike and Sally also can’t enough of that cave because they’re back there looking for Sally’s ugly bracelet she lost the last time they were there!

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Meanwhile, Hick Town is trying to mount a counteroffensive against Giant Spider, but the diabolical arachnid has cut the long distance phone lines! All hopes of help from the capital dashed, Hick Town devises a last ditch plan that involves burying Giant Spider, Mike and Sally alive in the cave!

Whoops! That plan was only supposed to involve Giant Spider! Plan B which involves electrodes, power lines, Mike, and Egghead Professor is quickly devised and executed.

This one ended way too soon for my tastes! Where was the bad musical number to pad things out? Why was Egghead Professor married when he could have had a feisty female bugoligist or reporter to bicker with, date, and rescue from Giant Spider’s hairy clutches? Why didn’t we get to see Giant Spider pinch Redneck Sheriff’s head off like a pimple?

And shouldn’t Giant Spider have climbed up on Hick Town’s biggest building (probably two stories) and waved his legs around menacingly before eating a cropduster that was buzzing him?

And what about Giant Spider himself? I would have liked to know more about him. Like why he was so giant! Atomic testing? HGH? Steroids? Blue Kryptonite?

Some mysteries of nature will always just be that – mysteries. I’m just glad I had the chance to meet Giant Spider and listen to his beautiful growl-squeal whenever he was chasing white trash around Hick Town’s business district.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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