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Tarantula! (1955) - Blu-ray Review

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Tarantula (1955) - Blu-ray Review

Giant hands and giant insects!  Tarantula! has returned to prey upon us all!

With vultures circling overhead, Tarantula! might just have one of the most intriguing openings the monster flicks of the 1950s ever produced.  A strange man, dressed solely in his pajamas, stumbles aimlessly through an arid desert.  He is deformed; his face and neck and hands and face stretched in bizarre and grotesque ways.  Deformed and dehydrated, the poor sucker slumps onto the desert floor and dies. 

"Tarantula! proves to be quick and fun and, with pretty solid special effects (leaving behind miniatures for other flicks), somewhat advanced for its time period"


Without rhyme or reason, Tarantula!, a black-and-white science fiction B-movie from Universal International, begins . . .

. . . and we are already hooked.  Because you can’t second guess the desert or a giant insect that can flip trucks off roads.

I mean, in a movie about a giant friggin’ spider, what could possibly have caused this weird deformity?  Well, Leo G. Carroll as Prof. Gerald Deemer knows and it has come from his lab.  But what is he doing in there?

We will soon find out and it has everything to do with some strange serum that he is experimenting on animals with.  Co-starring John Agar as Dr. Matt Hastings, Mara Corday as Stephanie Clayton, and Nestor Paiva as Sheriff Jack Andrews, the home grown feel that tugs at the corners of this picture keeps it sweet and syrupy even as the bug at the center of the movie grows and grows into a monster that is bigger than a mansion and beyond!

Sure, the beginning of the film starts strong and then devolves into a lot of talking about Eric, the man found dead in the desert, and what caused his deformity and untimely death.  But, soon enough, we are knee-deep in crazy experiments involving HUGE RATS and GUINEA PIGS.  All of it regulated by injections documented on a flow chart and then, there it is, a BIG ASS SPIDER.  Holy Snickeys! 

And then, as another deformed man appears and attacks Deemer, the glass in the spider’s house is broken and the damn thing crawls out the front door.  From country doctors to mad scientists, Tarantula! is a film that eventually pits man against man as a nutrient serum affects man and beast, deforming them into mutants that know no bounds as one desert town gets rocked to its core by a super large tarantula that dares destroy everything in its path.Tarantula (1955) - Blu-ray Review

With a brief appearance by a young Clint Eastwood as a squadron leader, Tarantula! proves to be quick and fun and, with pretty solid special effects (leaving behind miniatures for other flicks), somewhat advanced for its time period.  Makes sense that the flick was directed by none other than Creature from the Black Lagoon’s Jack Arnold.

Call the Air Force!  Assemble the jets!  Get the napalm ready!  Tarantula! pulls no punches when it comes to the safety of the fictional town of Dead Rock, Arizona.  The movie is now available on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory and its brand-new 2K scan of the film’s original elements.

4/5 beers

Tarantula (1955) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 30, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Tarantula! is presented on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory’s nice 1080p transfer and 2K scan.  The brand new 2K restoration, handling the crisp B&W photography, is simply gorgeous.  The newly minted 1080p transfer is black and white gloriousness in all its crisp visuals.  Textures are full of life and the details are strong, ringing true in almost every scene.  Black levels are deep and keep their edges in the shadows.  Optical effect shots are clear, with some minor fuzziness, but the edges are usually quite sharp.  The 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in two-channel mono is adequate for the at-home experience.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Tom Weaver, Dr. Robert J. Kiss, And David Schecter concerning the film and its history.

Special Features:

Scream Factory gives fans the original theatrical trailer and a still gallery.

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Tarantula (1955) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
80 mins
Director
: Jack Arnold
Writer:
Robert M. Fresco, Martin Berkeley
Cast:
John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Researchers seeking clue! Can anything escape it?
Memorable Movie Quote: "Science is science, but a girl MUST get her hair done."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 7, 1955
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 30, 2019
Synopsis:

Biochemist Gerald Deemer (Leo G. Carroll, North by Northwest) has a plan to feed the world by using a growth formula on plants and animals. Instead he creates terror beyond imagining when his work spawns a spider of mammoth proportions!

Feeding on cattle and humans, this towering tarantula has the people of Desert Rock, Arizona running for their lives. Can this horrifying creature be stopped or will the world succumb to its giant claws?

Tarantula (1955) - Blu-ray Review

 

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