Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Spider Films



Notes: Nu Image
Marci: Lana Parrilla
John Murphy: Josh Green
Slick: Oliver Macready
Jake: Nick Swarts
Gray: Mark Phelan
Commander Hooper: Mark Totty
Technician: David Carpenter
Emma: Leslie Carter
Jacobs: Jonathan Breck
Max: Steven Sullivan

Producers: Boaz Davidson, Danny Lerner
Director: Gary Jones
Story: Boaz Davidson
Screenplay: Stephen Brooks, Jace Anderson, Adam Gierasch
Music: Bill Wandel
Executive Producers: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short

Summary: As credits run we see a spider being boxed in a laboratory. At “Majestic 12 H.Q.” a shuttle named Solaris launches. Meanwhile, Marci, a Hamden College newspaper reporter with fake glasses, reads about “Gen X and UFOs.” She meets a couple, Joe and Loretta, who claim to be aliens beamed from Alpha Centauri. Co-reporter Jake downloads an “Area 21” photo and the male alien freaks out. Boss Phil insists there’s “no story” here.

Marci gets Jake and Slick to accompany her to the high security area in the photo, where experiments on the shuttle are being monitored. After a spider is injected, screams and chaos break out. Official insistence is that a solar flare hit, but the spider, “Mother-in-Law,” is running rampant and biting astronauts, whereupon their faces swell up.

Outside the compound, Phil calls Marci with the news about the shuttle burning up on re-entry, right before the three students see the thing crash-land inside the compound. They explore, seeing bloody corpses and one dying man asking for help. Government and military authorities arrive and the kids hide. The spider lays an egg in the skin of the dying astronaut. After removing the bodies, the main authority, rage-aholic Gray, shoots an uncooperative doctor and blows up the shuttle.

Amid body bags, the three kids smuggle themselves into the government facility, which has absolutely no security system, allowing them to explore and photograph biohazard heads and aliens in jars, and to speak with the dying astronaut, who gives birth out of his mouth to a giant spider which sprays tons of webbing, rampages, and kills two scientists. The three run and see a frozen Apollo 18 astronaut. “It’s like a bad sci-fi movie,” says one, reading my mind. They don’t notice another cryogenic container labelled “11 22 63.”

When one dying scientist hits the emergency security button, Gray insists that the spider be captured, not killed. The three students see dead bodies wrapped in webbing and ascend a stairwell. When the webbing increases, the spider lunges at and bites Jake. They run into an office room labelled “M.I.L” — Mother-in-Law — where they find a picture of Joe the alien. Jake pretty easily breaks into the computer files and they learn that the spider is an alien-DNA experiment requiring zero-gravity atmosphere (hence the shuttle). It lays eggs on flesh and reproduces asexually. Jake’s bite worsens. He starts swelling and rampages with a lab hook after the spider, which kills him.

The other two find a bloody spot where he disappeared and climb an elevator shaft. When they open a door, the spider lunges and they fall down the shaft, landing in a web that Slick cannot escape from. The spider kills him as Marci reclimbs. Soldiers serve as further spider victims as Marci runs into John Murphy, “of the U.S. Government” (which is like me saying, “I work for Academia”). In the crazy doings, Gray kills a colonel, Marci and Murphy fall in fluid, Marci beats up Murphy, and the spider snatches Murphy until spears the spider mildly. The two run into Gray, who knows about that upstart college reporter Marci. Murphy shoots but has no bullets. Gray is about to kill them but the spider binds him.

Marci and Murphy pass through the spider’s cocoon chamber and escape to the elevator with an access card from one of the corpses. The spider bursts through the floor of the elevator, but Murphy hits the down button and the spider is smashed at the bottom of the shaft.

The first thing to do now is to run to a small college newspaper office and type up a story. But Phil is dead and Gray is there, gloating. He rants about alien DNA and cell growth, creating a weapon against “the enemy” and attaining world domination. Spider legs burst out of his torso, and he is torn apart as a much larger spider is born. This one breaks out of the building and students leap over benches. The town panics and the giant spider peels a cop car open. Murphy grabs a special bazooka from a helicopter, shoots, but misses. He and Marci take off in the copter. At night the spider is terrorizing the city. Marci fires a shot and hits the spider, but its skin is impenetrable. With the last shot and dangling from the copter, Marci shoots the spider into its throat. It blows up and she says “Woo.”

Commentary: The movie is occasionally effective, but not because of the spider itself — mostly just a matter of wandering around blindly in a dark government building where there should be massive security and there’s none, not knowing where the spider is exactly.

Perhaps the susceptibility to toxicity is part of the disturbance. We’re all dealing in alien DNA and god knows what, but the scientists don’t even wear gloves when carting around a dying, puffy, astronaut. And everyone keeps getting sprayed with amniotic spider fluid and DNA-altered spider guts, but no one’s worried about that at all.

Anyway, I don’t know about the whole spider thing here. But have you noticed what happens to your flesh when mosquitoes bite you these days? What have they been into?

Spider Films