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The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:33 pm    Post subject: The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) Reply with quote

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Director Bill Rabane may have intended this as a tribute to sci-fi classics like Tarantula and The Deadly Mantis. But the film is so badly done it just looks like a weak copy of much better movies.

Spotting the subtle connections between the plot of this film and it's more worthy predecessors is a bit more fun than actually watching it. Here are some examples.

A strange meteorite lands near a small town — ala It Came from Outer Space. The meteor creates a doorway to another dimension, from which a host of deadly creatures emerge — ala Cosmic Monsters. Several giant tarantulas (and a few dozen little ones) begin to menace the populace of a small town — ala Tarantula.

Local vixen Leslie Parrish meets a horrible fate — ala Yvette Vickers in Attack of the Giant Leeches. Alan Hale, Jr. is the local sheriff who is skeptical about the reports of strange happenings in the area — ala The Giant Gila Monster, The Blob, Invasion of the Saucer Men, The Monolith Monsters, and The Werewolf,

Notice that I didn"t include I Married a Monster from Outer Space in the list. In that one the sheriff was an alien imposter who just pretended to be skeptical about the weird reports.

Ah, but I digress . . .

The cast of Giant Spider Invasion contains a few honorable mentions. Watch for Steve Brodie ("The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms"), Barbara Hale ("Perry Mason"), Leslie Parrish ("Li'l Abner"), and Alan Hale, Jr. (the skipper from "Gilligan's Island" -- who even greets one of the characters with the phrase "Hey, little buddy!").

The scenes of the giant spiders were created by placing full-sized mockups mounted atop small cars, with motorized spider-legs which bob up and down when they "walked". The result looks more like an amusing parade float than a convincing special effect.

Trivia Game: If we played the "six degrees of separation" game with this Hollywood masterpiece, we could connect this movie with Tarantula by pointing out that Alan Hale, Jr. was in Gilligan's Island, which also starred Russell Johnson, who appeared in The Space Children, which was directed by Jack Arnold, the man who gave us Tarantula.

And that's only five degrees of separation. Ta-daaaa!

_________________
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat May 18, 2024 10:00 am; edited 5 times in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I certainly hope no one gets the impression from this trailer that the movie is badly done. Gee, that would be a damn shame! Shocked
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_______ The Giant Spider Invasion 1975 Trailer


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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IMDB has several interesting trivia items for this production, Very Happy
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~ There was supposed to be a dramatic shot of the giant spider crushing the house by having the spider dropped from a crane onto it while a bulldozer chained to the back of the house would pull away.

However, when the shot was filmed, the spider's legs all went straight up into the air. The crew inside working it's arms were nearly killed when broken wood from the demolished house went through the spider, coming close to impaling them.


Note from me: Somebody certainly didn't think this plan through very well . . . Rolling Eyes

~ In the opening, Alan Hale Jr. greets Kevin Brodie with the line, "Hi, little buddy!" This is an obvious reference to Hale's role as The Skipper on Gilligan's Island (1964).

Note from me: I caught that funny moment when I saw this movie at the Roosevelt Drive-in in 1975.

~ There was supposed to be a shot of a big spider in a tree bursting into flames. To achieve this, the director covered a large prop spider with gunpowder and had two crew members sitting above it in the tree who would drop a match on the spider.

The director got the camera up to a very fast fps to achieve a slow motion look, and had them drop the first match. Nothing happened, so they dropped a second. Still nothing happened, so they lit the entire book of matches and dropped it on the spider.

With nothing happening, the director turned off the camera . . . and immediately afterwords a huge explosion and fireball shot up, burning the hair off of the crew members, and starting several small brush fires. The director was furious that he wasn't able to get the shot on film.


Note from me: Oh boy, I had a bad feeling about this plan the moment I read that the guys were above the spider in the tree! I'm not sure who was dumber — the director or the schmucks in the tree!

~ A surprise box office success, it was one of the top 50 grossing movies of 1975.

Note from me: This one surprised me! And I suspect that this movie played mostly at drive-ins, which is where I saw it. Laughing

~ The framework for the VW Giant Spider was recently found in the woods and put on display in Gleason, WI.

Note from me: Yes sir, Volkswagen certain built things to last! Cool

~ In a scene depicting the giant spiders attacking a little league baseball game, the spiders are obviously Volkswagen Beetles with puppet legs attached. Tread marks can be seen in several shots.

Note from me: The giant spider atop the VW actually works pretty well, all things considered. Very Happy

~ Stars Steve Brodie and Barbara Hale pulled in family members to play supporting roles in the film. Brodie's son Kevin Brodie played Dave Perkins and Hale's husband Bill Williams came in to play the role of Dutch.

Note from me: In addition to the familiara stars above, Miss Leslie Parrish from Lil' Abner and ST: TOS (Who Mourns for Adonais is on hand, still looking quite beautiful!



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~ The giant spider of the title was achieved by covering a Volkswagen Beetle with fake black fur with the leg operators manipulating the limbs from inside the car. The vehicle was driven in reverse with its tail lights acting as the creature's red eyes. The remaining other spiders were puppets.

Note from me: I did NOT know that the VW was driven backwards! That must have been difficult, especially with the driver's limited visibility! Shocked

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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_______ Trailer: The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)


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The old trailer may explain some of its success — all part of the good marketing. "There has never been a film like this before." The trailer shows what seems like an exciting monster pic, with pretty good scenes, or suggestions of such.

The DVD from Retromedia had a miniature comic book inserted inside.

There was also a 2-disc special DVD released a couple of years ago as a 30th anniversary edition, directly from Rebane and Silver Street International in Wisconsin.

Besides an audio commentary from Rebane, this has featurettes such as Rebane visiting the resting site of "the big one" (the spider) at a junkyard. There are also rare behind-the-scenes stills.

This was (and is) a big deal in Wisconsin. The film was also episode #810 on Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Why am I not surprised? Rolling Eyes)

Personally, I think the unofficial remake to this is Eight-Legged Freaks (2002), which had a bigger budget and those slick 'puter FX.

Here's the full SPIDER INVASION:


____ The Giant Spider Invasion 1975 - in 12 min


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BoG
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Here's the full movie for anyone whose tempted.

Enjoy!_


The B-Movie Cinema Show Presents: The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)


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_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Fri May 17, 2024 3:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edie Adams (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) won Broadway's 1957 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for her role as Daisy Mae in "Li'L Abner."

Edie was married to comedian Ernie Kovaks and expecting their daughter, this prevented her from playing Daisy Mae in the film version of "Li'L Abner."
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I can honestly say that even though I think Leslie Parrish is Heaven With Blond Hair in Li'l Abner (1959), my decades-old lust for Edie Adams after seeing her in Mad-4 World leads me to believe that she would have been just as wonderful in the movie version as Daisy Mae.




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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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mach7
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember watching this movie at the drive in with my friends in an old VW.

I think Starlog had a write up on it, about how they used modified VW's with spider suits on them as the spiders.

Even with beer we were not impressed.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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What a coincidence Mark (aka Mach7)! Cool

I, too, saw it at a drive-in — the Roosevelt Drive-in with my lovely fiance' in 1975. It was the last time I visited the Roosevelt, a theater I often attended with my family in the 1950s.

In fact, Cinema Treasures states that it closed in 1975. So, "Spider Invasion" might have been the Roosevelt's final feature. Sad








My wife and I were in our late twenties, and we were very familiar with classic science fiction movies. So we weren't expecting much from this low-budget late-comer to the "giant monster" movie genre.

Therefore, we simply enjoyed the silliness of it all — like the sheriff who was played by Allan Hale Jr. (Skipper from You-Know-Who's Island). He even used the phrase "Little Buddy" at least once in the movie. Very Happy

And then there was Barbara Hale, who previously worked for a prominent attorney on a popular TV series called Prairie Chicken (or something like that . . . Confused)

And of course, the lovely Leslie Parrish had certainly seen better days when she played that deliciously delectable dish who lived in Dogpatch! Shocked



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In addition to these humorous elements, the movie offered a giant fake-spider which rode around on top of an actual Beetle . . . compliments of German engineering. Laughing

So, all things considered, the movie provided me and my attractive date with a final farewell to the Roosevelt Drive-in, for which I have fond (if unrealistic) memories from my 1950s Monsterkid childhood.




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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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mach7
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw it at the Tyngsboro drive-in on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire boarder.

My friends and I saw many science fiction movies there, the horror movie The Hills Have Eyes, Flesh Gordon, and even a soft core porn movie.

I think we saw Galaxina there also.

It was close to a store that didn't card for beer, and the drive-in didn't card either.

Sadly it closed in 1982.

I miss the drive-in's. There was something about watching a movie in your car.

Ah, the good old days.
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