25 years ago, when I was just nine years old, my father took me to the movie theater to see a movie I really wanted to see, ARACHNOPHOBIA. I guess I wasn’t so scared of spiders back when I was a kid because:
1. I used to catch them all the time.
2. I once caught a black widow, no big deal.
3. I was the nine year old asshole in the theater that was loudly cheering for the spiders at one point of the film.
I’m not exactly sure when things changed over the next 25 years, although I think it has something to do with learning brown recluses (besides being assholes) were rampant in the area of Montana I grew up in (and the time I thought one bit me probably helped), but now I am petrified of the goddamn little things. I don’t catch, I simply kill…er…have Patrick kill them, although the jerk usually just captures them and releases them back into the wild to—I assume—gather its posse and return to my home. Nevertheless, I remember really loving this movie when I was a kid, I watched it dozens and dozens of times, just couldn’t get enough of the macabre sense of humor. So when I mentioned it to Patrick and he said he had never seen it, I knew it was up to me to change it. So I found the movie, sat him down, and made him watch it. I must say, my response this time was very different.
This time around, it was definitely a horror movie, still with the dark humor, but it had me uneasy anytime a spider would skitter along the floor. I still love the movie and think it’s great, but it is much more effective on my now as a horror movie then it was 25 years ago when I was nine years old. So I thought I’d write a quick blurb about it on this blog and put in a good word for it, because everyone should see this hilarious/horrifying film.
First, the film’s star, Jeff Daniels, a young, 1990s Jeff Daniels. He is hilarious with his deadpan delivery. He just has one of those faces that makes his joke delivery very, very, funny. Before he was dumber (DUMB AND DUMBER) and way before he was a news anchor with integrity (THE NEWSROOM), he was a big city doctor that moved to the country, thinking he would receive the entire town as clients once the old doctor retired as promised.
Well, the old doctor is a douchebag and when Daniels’ family moves to the tiny town finally gives him the bad news. At the same time there’s a giant, very old, brand new species of spider from Argentina that hitched a ride to the small town in a coffin (long story). Soon enough, there are little baby, phase one, spiders crawling around town killing people with one tiny bite, and it’s up to Daniels’ and the Warlock (that’s what I will always think of actor Julian Sands as) to stop it. Oh, and John Goodman’s country-style exterminator and a low rent Rob Lowe also help out.
The film used several real spiders, which just makes my skin crawl. The whole film I was thinking “It’s actually somebodies job to wrangle all these spiders”, which means that there’s some crazy person out there that keeps a ton of spiders. In fact, in the credits there is a Spider Spotter (don’t remember the person who did it, just that there was someone credited as such). Gross. Gross. Gross.
Gross as it may be, this movie is still a knockout! Exciting, thrilling, funny, awesome. This is a horror movie that has something for everyone, and some really good scares as well! For all of you catch and release jerks out there (I’m looking at you, Patrick), when the family moves into the new house the mother does catch and release on a smallish spider, and guess what happens? That little spider mates with the giant spider and makes a race of super-poisonous, asshole, spiders. SEE THE DANGER IN CATCH AND RELEASE??? JUST KILL IT, ALWAYS KILL IT!!!
So, like I said, just writing a little note hoping more people see this movie. It’s a great, lesser-known, gem. But I would advise you keep your feet up on the couch at all times. I would have completely lost it if while I was watching ARACHNOPHOBIA, a spider darted across my foot. Would have full on lost i