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Cinophile – Eight Legged Freaks

2 min read

Spiders do not get movie roles all that often. There was Arachnophobia, which gave people creepy crawly terrors 23 years ago. That played a little on the fear some people harbor for these creatures. But you do not need a phobia to turn into screaming jelly when an arachnid the size of a small dog came towards us. Now imagine them as big as a bus. There is a reason why this is called Eight Legged Freaks

Eight Legged Freaks

To make a monster movie, you really just need three ingredients: giant creatures, a small isolated town and a gaggle of local yokels. Some films will waste a lot of time setting these up – Eight Legged Freaks does it in about eight minutes. Okay, perhaps a little bit longer, but the sequence is simple: toxic waste, exotic spider farm, all hell breaks loose. There is some story in between: a desolate town with a defunct mine, a prodigal son intent on reviving said mine, a hot sheriff with a cute son and sexy daughter, a goofy deputy, a hunky teen love interest (for the daughter) and his slimeball real-estate developing dad, a conspiracy radio jock and a bunch of other oddball characters who may or may not make it through this film.

Eight Legged Freaks

Eight Legged Freaks takes advantage of the fact that there have been hardly any ‘giant spider’ films for the past few decades. As such it doesn’t worry too much about creating substance. Toxic waste creates spiders of various sizes, which in turn hop around at high speed and kill with childish delight. They squeal with glee as they devour the locals and get themselves blown up – self preservation is clearly not a spider’s top priority. At one point a spider audibly goes ‘Wheeeeee!’ as it slides down a cable after someone and slams itself against an aircon duct.

Eight Legged Freaks

Memorable comedic horrors involving monsters are rare enough – an illustrious club that includes the likes of Gremlins, Critters and Tremors. Eight Legged Freaks comfortable crawls up to take a seat next to these guys: it goes well beyond the call of duty and delivers exactly what it promises on the box. Then again, it promises giant spiders and then dishes them out like an ice cream shop during a power cut. It’s not a hard promise to keep, but still surprisingly tricky to do well. This film did it almost too well and has been a hard act to follow ever since…

Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.

Last Updated: August 19, 2013

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