Kingdom of the Spiders



Notes: Dimension Picture, 95 minutes.

Rack Hansen: William Shatner
Diane Ashley: Tiffany Bolling

Directed: John “Bud” Cardos
Written: Alan Caillou & Stephen Lodge

Summary: Booger-eating music and farm goobers start us off. A cow is spooked, so already is niche dynamics at stake here. “Rack” Hansen lassoes a woman (the first web?). But the dead John, her husband, was his brother. A sick calf is soon dead, as if it had run into a “hornets’ nest.” The same farmer’s dog whines on the back porch. More goobers, and spider webs in a garage. A tarantula bites the mechanic when he grabs a “ta-ar” (tire). A woman, Diane, wants to rent a cabin. The county fair is soon (but the trees are bald). What with the incident at the Colby place, there’s a fret of lost income with any possible quarantine. Diane comes from the Entomology Department at Arizona State University in Tempe. She recognizes a “massive dose of venom” and back at the inn meets a sleazy chemical toilet guy and the guy’s wife. Diane takes a shower and we see things through spider-cam. She finds the spider and lets it outside. The dog is missing from the Colby farm. It’s found dead. Colby worries his stock is kaput. On his land is a gigantic spider hill. But DDT is a mixed blessing. These spiders are 600 miles from where they should be. No dinner date between Rack and Diane. Rack’s niece has lost her cat. Now there is a dinner date between Rack and Diane. His brother died in Nam, man. Insecticides kill the natural food source, so spiders adapt and get aggressive. They’re not cannibalizing each other but colonizing!

Papers report many missing animals. Burn the hill? A cow freaks out and is covered with spiders. They burn the hill, with Colby shouting, “Burn, you son of a bitches, burn in hell … bastards!” We see some spiders escaping elsewhere.

Rack has a picnic with his niece and Diane, seeing Colby drive by in his truck. Horses freak but don’t eat the brat. Colby is covered with spiders and crashes. He’s webbed. Another 20 to 30 spider hills are discovered, so despite the warnings, an exterminator sprays from a cropduster before being covered with spiders and crashing. When you’re fighting the insect world, there’s no coming out on top. Mrs. Colby shoots at an invasion, futilely. The brat is on a swing over a swarm, being called inside to eat. Mom (Rack’s sister-in-law) screams a lot until we’re glad the spiders cover her; unfortunately, she saves the brat and Rack picks her up in his truck.

The lodge is locked up and old Fred is discovered out back, webbed. Mildred the operator is webbed. There’s a kitchen invasion. Should we go out? There are thousands. “We’ll never make it.” The extinguisher seems wasted. (Why aren’t we stepping on them?) Spiders come down the chimney.

The town’s in chaos and people are webbed all over. A panicked mob swarms the cop car until the water tower falls on it. Back at the lodge is an air conditioner trauma. We need more lumber for the windows. The spiders attack the electrical fuse box, so Captain Kirk has to go to the cellar, where he sees a rat being covered with spiders. The spiders break a window on Jim and he staggers back upstairs, passing out in the kitchen.

The next morning, lodge-owner Emma is crazed. The radio seems normalizing. Jim takes a couple boards off a window. “Sweet Jesus!” The lodge is entirely webbed. So is the town.

Commentary: Again, why not step on them?

Spider Films