It seems for the last 3 decades we’ve been getting a great, silly spider movie every 10 years or so. We had Arachnophobia in 1990, then we moved into a new millennium and got spider flicks in 2002 and 2013. So let’s take a look at both.
EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS (2002)
The director of Return of the Living Dead sequels Rave to the Grave and Necropolis (I’m a fan of both) delivers one of my all-time favorite campy, funny, creepy crawlie big spider movies with a great cast.
A celebration of classic giant bug movies (yeah, I know, spiders aren’t technically bugs, but they sure bug me when they get near me), Eight Legged Freaks gets right into it after a young boy hangs with his spider expert friend. Unfortunately, the expert’s critters escape and go on a rampage of killing and cocooning.
Scream queen Kari Wuhrer is the little boy’s mother and town sheriff, and her older daughter is a young Scarlett Johansson.
On top of the spider invasion, Kari has to contend with her old flame coming back to town—played by David Arquette, who does a perfect David Arquette.
It’s great spider action from start to finish, with the spiders starting off small enough to crawl through walls—the cartoonish battle with a cat in the walls is a hoot, but don’t get all up in arms, cat lovers, because a dog gets it, too.
Eventually the spiders enter and nest inside human bodies, grow bigger, and drag people back to their underground tunnels to cocoon them in webs.
The fact that these are computer-generated spiders doesn’t detract, instead managing to give them distinct personality expressed through their movement and the way they react to human beings (their responses are almost human at times).
There’s a big attack on a group of motorcycle riders, but the major action takes place once everyone in town moves to the local mall for safety but ends up battling the spiders right out on the streets.
And naturally, our cast of main characters makes its way to the spiders’ lair underneath the ground…
BIG ASS SPIDER! (2013)
Mike Mendez (Lavalantula, The Last Heist, Don’t Kill It, The Gravedancers, The Convent) delivers what almost feels like a sequel to Eight Legged Freaks because it’s so similar in tone and style, with the same kind of CGI spiders. However these critters grow into big ass spiders!
Adorabear Greg Grunberg plays an exterminator who has a run-in with Lin Shaye and some critters giving her a problem, then ends up at a hospital, which is where the spider outbreak begins.
There he scores a security guard sidekick, and together they must take on ever-growing swarms of spiders.
Eventually they team up with the military (including horror veterans like Ray Wise and Clare Kramer of Glory fame on Buffy) to battle a super big spider that goes all King Kong, climbing a skyscraper in the city for some fun time with military planes.
The only way to defeat it? Shoot it in its big ass, of course.
But the big ass highlight for me is definitely when the giant spider massacres a park full of picnicking people.