Scrounging around cable and streaming services for films to watch with my man over the weekend, I couldn’t have planned a better hubby-safe creature double feature if I tried. He not only laughed, he even stayed in the room through both of them instead of bailing on me like he usually does when I miscalculate how grisly and gruesome my selections will be. Its time for actors we all know battling giant spiders and giant ants!
CAMEL SPIDERS (2011)
Perfect for the SyFy market, this creepy-crawly flick is from Roger Corman, the king of b-horror/sci-fi. If you’ve been watching his films for decades you’ll feel right at home, with the added touch of SyFy quality CGI critters. Now let’s see if I can get through this without accidentally writing camel toe instead of camel spiders.
Apparently deserts are a lot more populated than I realize. Here the military, a group of hiking friends, a teacher and his students, and a diner full of people are all on hand when giant camel spiders come crawling out of the ground looking to jump on human heads and make them explode. All kinds of heads…
We get a good 90 minutes of that kind of action, because the movie doesn’t hesitate in bringing in the camel spider swarm, and it never lets up.
Really, that’s all you need. As a bonus Brian Krause of Charmed is the main military man and C. Thomas Howell is the local sheriff.
The film takes itself rather seriously, so there’s really nothing in the way of humor here.
All the fun comes from the CGI spiders pouncing on every head they can, making them pop in a splatter of CGI blood.
A step above most SyFy creature features, Camel Spiders is still definitely just the foreplay of this double feature.
DEAD ANT (2017)
While I can’t imagine that the makers of this film actually stole anything from Camel Spiders on purpose, there are an odd number of similarities between the two films, from them both being giant critter movies that take place in the desert to specific comments made by characters. Weird.
The super fun heavy metal creature feature comedy no one is talking about, Dead Ant was made for 80s whores like me. A has-been eighties metal band is traveling in a camper to an outdoor music festival in hopes relaunching its popularity. But something wants to relegate the band to a permanent status as a one-power-ballad-hit wonder: giant ants!
The metal band includes the likes of Sean Astin, Jake Busey (who not surprisingly looks most genuinely like a hair band burnout), and sexy Rhys Coiro, who would look hot as hell in his metal garb if it weren’t for that awful hair.
However, it is Tom Arnold who steals the show as their manager. I don’t know if all his lines were written for him or if he did a lot of ad-libbing, but he gets all the best lines, delivered in his usual ADHD style.
There are plenty of campy attacks and goofy gore, the CGI ants are a blast, and the final fight at the festival is a hoot.
Plus, the original metal songs by the movie band rock (especially “Side Boob”).
And for people of a certain age (Gen X age), there’s 80s hair band humor, reference to a Pink Panther joke that gives the movie its name, and a montage set to “Cum On Feel The Noize”…however, it’s the original 1973 Slade version, NOT the 1983 Quiet Riot version. And while there are several different cover art designs for the movie, the one above is 80s throwback perfection, and I therefore refuse to acknowledge that any other one exists.