BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider) (1958) - Blu-ray Review

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The Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider)

Independently made in glorious black-and-white cinematography by producer, writer, special effects supervisor Bert I. Gordon (King Dinosaur, Attack of the Puppet People, The Amazing Colossal Man, Village of the Giants, and Empire of the Ants), The Spider is quick to the kill, opening with an attack that is both disturbing and unexpected as Jack Flynn (Merritt Stone) drives home and ends up crashing his car when something stretched across the highway rips through his truck.  All that blood!

"With a showdown that includes electricity and stalagmites, The Spider - in spite of its 1950s origins - remains a solid example of science fiction horror"


This scene - in which the camera never shies away from the close-up of Stone’s face as something big and silky rips it open - is pretty damn shocking and gets viewers in the right mindset as we explore a gigantic cave, via stills from Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.  The Spider is easily Gordon’s best work and thanks to Scream Factory it arrives on blu-ray with a brand new 2K transfer.

But the unexpected is only just beginning as his daughter (June Kenney as Carol Flynn) and a boy who is wooing her (Eugene Persson as Mike Simpson) explore a nearby cave (with some stunning visuals thanks to Carlsbad Caverns National Park) for his whereabouts.  What they discover instead are some skeletons and a gigantic web that ensnares them.  Stuck like glue, they begin to hear something come closer and closer and closer until - there it is again! - they discover a GIGANTIC tarantula coming their way. {googleads}

They barely escape, but now they know exactly what ensnared Carol’s father on the highway: a giant spider and, with the population of earth as its target, this tarantula isn’t going down without a big ol’ fight.  The isolated mountain community of Quiet River Falls will never be the same again.

Co-starring Ed Kemmer, Gene Roth, and whole bunch of DDT, The Spider shows - in good detail - the absolute fally of man, as the local sheriff is convinced by the teenagers, a local high school teacher, and some of his deputies to bring the stunned body of the spider to the local high school gym.  You know, where it can be studied. The Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider)

And, wouldn’t you know it, the damn thing wakes up and disrupts band practice as it makes its terrifying reappearance - this time smashing through a gym wall and dashing like mad toward the town.  And it doesn’t care what or who it smashes as it heads back to the cave.  

With a showdown that includes electricity and stalagmites, The Spider - in spite of its 1950s origins - remains a solid example of science fiction horror.

Eight legs of terror?  Time to get tangled! 

5/5 stars

The Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- June 23, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Moviegoers had already been exposed to giant ants and a man turning half-fly when The Spider creeped onto movie theater screens. Producer/writer/special effects supervisor Bert I. Gordon was just the man to bring this giant arachnid to the screen, having frightened moviegoers with films like Attack Of The Puppet People and The Amazing Colossal Man.  Quiet River Falls is the town awakened by the insect's devastating rampage. Two teens discover the monster, see it temporarily disabled by gas ... and then watch in terror as it unfolds its eight arms of doom. Will our heroes survive? Or will the entire town fall prey to this unstoppable fanged horror?!?                       

Video:

The film is presented with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer using an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.   The black and white image is crisp with solid levels throughout.  The detailed image is surprisingly clean given the age of the film.  The clarity of the presentation is solid and the film retains a level of grain that ensures an authentic and credible appearance.  Even dark scenes are rarely problematic, with the blacks proving extremely solid, and the level of accuracy ensuring that this B-movie is visually absorbing throughout.

Audio

The audio is presented in a sufficient DTS-HD MA 1.0 sound mix.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a new audio commentary from Ted Newsrom who talks about the movie, its production history, and the successes of Bert I. Gordon.

Special Features:

The Spider is now on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory, complete with a new audio commentary from Filmmaker/Historian Ted Newsom, a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode, the theatrical trailer, and a still gallery of rare photos from the film and its production.  This includes the NEW 2K scan from the original negative.

  • NEW Audio Commentary By Filmmaker/Film Historian Ted Newsom
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Earth Vs. The Spider
  • 8mm Version Of Earth Vs. The Spider
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery Of Rare Photos Including Behind The Scenes Images

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

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TThe Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
73 mins
Director
: Bert I. Gordon
Writer:
László Görög, George Worthing Yates
Cast:
Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Eugene Persson
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
The Spider will eat you alive!
Memorable Movie Quote: "It'd be a good idea if you'd stay inside the house for awhile."
Theatrical Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September, 1958
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 23, 2020.
Synopsis: Quiet River Falls is the town awakened by the insect's devastating rampage. Two teens discover the monster, see it temporarily disabled by gas ... and then watch in terror as it unfolds its eight arms of doom. Will our heroes survive? Or will the entire town fall prey to this unstoppable fanged horror?!?

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TThe Spider (aka Earth Vs. The Spider)

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