In a small Wisconsin town, a meteor crashes to the ground, releasing thousands of spiders. As bodies begin to pile up, and the townsfolk attempt to come to terms with what is happening, it's discovered that the meteor is the site of a link to another universe from which a giant spider is controlling its minions on Earth!
Directed by: Bill Rebane
. Starring: Steve Brodie
, Barbara Hale
, Robert Easton
, Leslie Parrish
, Alan Hale Jr.
, Bill Williams
, Kevin Brodie
, Diane Lee Hart
, Tain Bodkin
, Paul Bentzen
, J. Stewart Taylor
, Christiane Schmidtmer
, William W. Gillett Jr.
. Music by: Bill Rebane
There are two travesties to talk about before we get to the travesty that is this film. First, a look at the credits will turn up two family names (Rebane and Brodie), which tells you how low the budget was. Bill Rebane produced and directed the film. Jutta Rebane did set decoration. Wife Barbara was the 2nd assistant director and unit manager. Kevin Brodie, son of Steve Brodie, was 1st assistant director. Sue Brodie was the set's hair stylist and Robin Brodie supervised wardrobe (and what a bad job she did and Sue did).
Secondly, the B-movie veterans that were absolutely wasted in this film was more of a tragedy. A quick look will show:
Steve Brodie ("Beast From 20,000 Fathoms"; "The Caine Mutiny") Barbara Hale (Della Street on "Perry Mason"; "Lorna Doone") Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper) Leslie Parrish ("Sex & The Single Girl"; "Manchurian Candidate") Robert Easton ("Centennial"; "Pete's Dragon"; voice of "Stingray") Kevin Brodie ("Night of the Grizzly"; "Dog of Flanders") Christiane Schmidtmer ("Boeing, Boeing"; "Ship of Fools") Bill Williams (TV's Kit Carson; also, Barbara Hale's husband)
Actually, many of this stars once did A-list work, so it shows you how far they'd fallen when this flick came around. Not everyone was as lucky as Barbara Hale, who was rescued from grade Z fare like this when the Perry Mason movies came out in the 80s and 90s.
Now for the real travesty. The plot involves a meteor that crashes to earth in a very redneck part of Wisconsin (looking more like somewhere in Arkansas). A farmer played by Robert Easton, who wrote this claptrap, and his drunken wife (played by Leslie Parrish) investigate. They discover small rocks. When the rocks break open, the couple find diamonds. The rocks also contain spiders, although these two idiots somehow manage to always be looking in a different direction when the spiders crawl out. Soon, there are spiders crawling everywhere, stringing cobwebs all over the place. Of course, Easton blames the cobweb extravaganza on his alcoholic wife's lack of house cleaning (apparently not noticing that the spiders are tarantulas, which are not common to Wisconsin). There's even a gross out scene in which a spider gets blended with a milkshake and Parrish accidentally drinks it. Uggh!!
Meanwhile, a NASA expert (Steve Brodie) travels to the area to consult with a local scientist (Barbara Hale) about strange energy patterns that are fouling up NASA's satellites. The energy centers on Easton's farm, but danged if Hale, an astronomer, can find it. She must have been filing legal briefs for Perry Mason when the meteor passed close enough to her observatory to turn night into day.
Add to this a totally redneck sheriff (Alan Hale Jr.) Hale's first line is (I kid you not) "Hey, little buddy", only this time it's aimed at Kevin Brodie.
The acting is atrocious and even Brodie, Hale and Hale Jr. can't make their lines work. The credits listed two men responsible for special effects. They both should have been banned from the business. Roger Corman did more with less in the special effects department than these two. For example of this movie's less than zero effects, Leslie Parrish, in a drunken stupor, opens up a dresser drawer and a giant spider that looks like a stuffed animal leaps out at her. Don't ask how the spider got in the drawer and closed it in the first place. Anyway, Parrish, running around in panties and a half-open shirt runs out to the barn for safety. Then she looks up and an even bigger stuffed spider leaps onto her. She falls and it is on top of her. But, you can see the button eyes and even see the wires used to dangle it from the ceiling.
A cousin comes calling, looking for his own share of the diamonds and he runs into another giant spider hanging over the road on a giant web. In a panic, he crashes his car into a gas station. Then, inexplicably, he spends a lot of time trying to get every shard of glass out of a nearby window before he tries to climb out. Naturally, he gets barbecued in the oncoming explosion. By the way, the sheriff later drives out to Easton's place on the same road and there's not a trace of webbing or even of the spider, which was bleeding like a stuck pig.
Spoiler alert...stop reading if you're certifiable enough to want to see this movie. I should have been certified after spending $10 to buy it online.
Easton, not missing his wife one iota (he's seeing Christiane Schmidtmer on the side, but, really, she has one of those parts where, if she were to disappear in the middle of a scene, she wouldn't be missed by the audience). Easton goes out for more diamonds. As he sits to rest, a monster spider pulls itself out of the ground, sneaks up on him (!) and eats him. The spider then attacks the house, but not before we get a shot of Easton's nubile stepdaughter in just her panties. Nothing like a little T&A to thrill the drive-in audiences this movies was made for.
Shortly afterwards, Barbara Hale and Brodie come calling to check on the meteor. The spider comes over the hill at them, but curiously stops. We do get to see Brodie and Hale roll down the hill.
The giant spider here is actually a robotic model fitted over a Volkswagen Bug. You actually see the wheels when it comes to town to chase kids and adults at a baseball game, and, later, rolls down a street after fleeing people. Reportedly, the townspeople were excited to be used in the film, but later, asked for the town name to be changed in the film to avoid the embarrassment. For some reason, Alan Hale never leaves his office during the spider's rampage. We see him getting reports of the spider, even loading a shotgun, but he keeps getting phone calls that force him to park his big butt back behind his desk.
A local businessman played by Bill Williams (bet his wished for his days as Kit Carson again) organizes a posse to go after the spider. We see guys shooting at the spider as it sits at a stop light. Hale Jr. rams it with his car and gets it to follow him. He never takes a single shot at the thing. Behind him, we see a street full of dead people, even though the spider didn't touch any of them. They probably died from embarrassment.
I don't want to give away the ending...oh, heck, might as well. Brodie calls for NASA to drop some kind of energy weapon into the meteorite crater to close it because they think it's a black hole to a dimension full of spiders. Seriously.
When the giant spider gets too close, Brodie asks a deputy to stall it. The deputy shoots at it, then, after running out of bullets, attacks it with his gun belt (since the spider was black, I wonder if that qualified as police brutality). When the belt fails to work, the deputy practically jumps into the spider's mouth. Really. The script called for him to get eaten, but the stuntmen inside had trouble pulling him through the mouth opening, so he had to keep jumping up into the opening until they finally pulled him completely in!
The spider finally gets to the hole and they drop the energy bomb on it. The energy causes an implosion, which requires that the scene be run backwards. For some unknown reason, the spider melts into something like ice cream at first, then into something much grosser.
Oh, before the bomb is dropped, Brodie tells about a dozen people to take cover. Five minutes earlier, it was only himself and Hale at the scene. Then, a dozen people mysteriously appear (though no extra cars show up). It's just another example of bad direction.
The whole movie is filled with stupid, inane scenes like that. When Barbara Hale goes back to her jeep to retrieve a flare gun from a case, she finds spiders inside. She lets out the funniest terror scream ever heard, then tells Brodie that the spiders came from the rocks. Since they're about to kill all the spiders with the energy bomb, this little fact is just a little bit late.
Another scene has a motorcyclist crashing his bike when the meteor hits the ground. Then, the guy gets up and runs headlong into the woods instead of getting back on his bike, disappears, then screams like the spiders got him. Later, Barbara Hale finds his skeleton (still fully clothed!).
If you like bad acting, bad dialogue, bad directing and just plain bad everything, rent or buy "Giant Spider Invasion." But, I warn you, you can only laugh so many times before you start crying about the money you'll have wasted.
Review by pv71989 from the Internet Movie Database.