This above-average "nature's rampage" horror flick beats Spielberg's ARACHNOPHOBIA in terms of hands-down scares - because here, the majority of the spiders are REAL ones instead of unconvincing fakes and special effects. Yep, somebody "borrowed" about 5000 tarantulas to make this movie and the effect is one of the most realistic man vs. beast movies out there. KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS is all you could hope for in a B-movie starring everyone's favourite thesp, William Shatner, and a cast of B-movie hopefuls.
The plot concerns spiders which have to turn to larger food suppliers after farmers using DDT destroy most of their natural insect food. It has NOTHING to do with alien spiders, as the UK box cover bizarrely suggests. Although the film's structure adheres to the old strict template (minor deaths and mysteries followed up by a full-scale invasion), cult director John "Bud" Cardos (who also gave us THE DARK and MUTANT) takes time out for us to get to know - and care for - the principal characters involved in the antics. William Shatner takes the leading hero's role of a cowboy veterinarian (!) and his acting is pretty subdued here - at least, until the finale in which he is attacked by spiders and goes into a fit of over-acting or a scene where he skips down a road covered with the creepy-crawlies! Tiffany Bolling is the hard-headed female scientist who comes to investigate the mysterious deaths of cows (shown at the beginning in good, eerie scenes) and whose heart is soon melted by Shatner's charms. The only other actor of note is Woody Strode, who here puts in a touching show as a farmer who fears that his farm is going to get quarantined. The rest is your typical B-movie bunch, and fans will be glad to hear that there's a high death toll with literally dozens of folk falling victim to the invading arachnids.
Although, as with most "nature's rampage" horror flicks from the past twenty years, there's a certain suspension of disbelief required to enjoy the on screen action, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS offers us some truly great shocks and scares to rouse us from the inaction of the first half. There's a great shot of a spider-covered bull jumping suddenly at the camera, which is guaranteed to put anybody on the edge of the seat, and a frightening moment in which a pilot is attacked by spiders and crashes his plane into a building which explodes. However, the best part of the film is the last twenty minutes, the full-scale invasion which owes more than a nod to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as the survivors board themselves up inside a roadside café and sit it out.
There are many scenes of people being surrounded by/covered in spiders which work because these are real, moving spiders, not lousy special effects. The film briefly moves to the town where there's some large-scale chaos with cocooned bodies all over and people crashing their cars into water-towers which then collapses and kills yet more folk. Shatner himself has a suspenseful scene in the basement where he goes to fix a fuse and finds himself covered in the creepy crawlies and struggles for survival. This is classic stuff and a cut above the usual less-than-impressive invasion sequences in similar movies. The film ends with an ambiguous (sadly unconvincing) matte shot showing the entire town has been cocooned in a spider's web, and manages to be sufficiently eerie. KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS is a treat of a B-movie for genre fans and one of the more effective man-against-nature flicks out there.
Kingdom of the Spiders
Horror / Sci-Fi
Kingdom of the Spiders
Horror / Sci-Fi
Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas. Before he can take action, the streets are overrun by killer spiders, trapping a small group of towns folk in a remote hotel.
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May 12, 2019 at 01:44 PM