Film (1977). Arachnid Productions/Dimension. Directed by John "Bud" Cardos. Written by Richard Robinson, Alan Caillou, from a story by Jeffrey M Sneller, Stephen Lodge. Cast includes Tiffany Bolling, William Shatner and Woody Strode. 95 minutes, cut to 90 minutes. Colour.
In its modest way, this is one of the better films in the revenge-of-Nature cycle (see Monster Movies). Near a small town in Arizona, tarantulas whose Ecology has undergone changes because of crop-dusting sprays are migrating north in large numbers and apparently acting with communal intelligence (see Hive Minds). Starting small and building to local apocalypse, the film is crisply made, the masses of spiders (normal size) are believable, and the end, though clearly echoing Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), offers a genuine minatory thrill with its vision of a whole town cocooned in spider-silk, its occupants now preserved as food. Shatner plays the vet trying to puzzle out why the normally solitary spiders are acting in concert. The novelization is Kingdom of the Spiders: Novelization (1977) by Bernhardt J Hurwood. [PN]
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