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Spider Baby

Lon Chaney Jr. , Carol Ohmart , Jack Hill    Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gotta love low budget movies..., Nov. 8 2007
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
I love a handful of director Hill's films like The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown, and Big Doll House. I've seen this over a decade ago and didn't like it so much. Sid Haigs role was the only character that stuck to my mine. Now hundreds of exposable films later I found out that I was mad. After watching this last night it turned out to be a fantastic film. Like Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. (Brono) was allowed to shine in the twilight of his career by a low-budget director who let his actors do what they do best. He watches over the isolated Gothic house where the last generations of the wealthy Merrye clan reside. Cursed by a debilitating disease brought about by inbreeding, the family members have regressed to a state of "pre-human savagery and cannibalism. When some distant relatives and their shyster lawyer appear trying to commit the family to a home and put Bruno out of a job, Bruno knows it's not going to end well for anyone. Yes, those residing at the old family mansion are pretty far gone, but they're much happier than Leather face's slaughterhouse family, marching toward their inevitable doom with cheery, reckless abandon.

He is supported by the incredible talents of Jill Banner who plays the title character, Virginia, who thinks she is a human spider and lurches around the house with daggers drawn searching for prey. Her sexy and disturbing "spider dance" as she taunts her male victim is mentioned in many of the reviews I've read, and with good reason. The eldest, Ralphie (Sid Haig), prowls around the yard snatching up felines to roast for dinner. Carol Ohmart, the stunning beauty who appeared as Vincent Price's wife in "House on Haunted Hill" delivers a thrill by being quite scantily clad by the finale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Catch This One! You'll Eat It Up... April 7 2004
How does one describe SPIDER BABY? Well, take "The Addams Family", add "The People Under the Stairs", toss in "Arsenic And Old Lace", blend in a tablespoon of the attitude of "Little Shop Of Horrors" with just a pinch of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and stir violently. That comes about as close as I can get to describing it. Jack Hill has created a macabre masterpiece, full of frights and fun from beginning to end! The Merrye family have "Merrye Syndrome", a rotting of the brain, caused by generations of inbreeding. The kids Virginia (Jill Banner), Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), and Ralph (Sid Haig) are real cut-ups! They've been isolated in a big, secluded house on a hill, watched over by Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) for their entire lives. Now teenagers, things are about to change. A pair of distant relatives (played by Quinn Redeker and Carol Ohmart) have come, with sleazy lawyer in tow, to take control and institutionalize the children. Unfortunately for these invaders, they don't know just how crazy the kids really are. They are also ignorant of the fact that these siblings are cannibals! If they had known, they would never have spent the night! SPIDER BABY relies on a cool story, great acting, dark humor, and creepiness to overcome it's microscopic budget (just think of all those mega-budget stinkers over the years). It's an ensemble effort that pays off. Buy it now...
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Also known as THE LIVER EATERS, and subtitled THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD (a variation on the DeMille movie); this 30th Anniversary DVD of Jack (FOXY BROWN) Hill's horror classic SPIDER BABY is a real treat. For a movie addict like myself, discovering this is like having Xmas come early.
Hill's script deals with an imaginary medical condition known as "Merrye's Syndrome", a "rotting of the brain" a disease so awful many authorities are in denial of its existance. The result of inbreeding, the sufferer experiences age regression, which is to say as the body grows, the mind gets younger. SPIDER BABY tells the story of "that fateful day ten years ago" that Merrye's Syndrome was wiped out forever.
Despite their name, the Merrye family are anything but and make the Addams family look like the Cleavers by comparison.
Horror legend Lon Chaney Jr has one of his best roles as Bruno Schlocker, the Merrye family's new chauffeur- though unknown to him the previous driver was "webbed" by Virginia Merrye (Jill Banner), one of their cute but deranged daughters. As if that wasn't enough the poor chap also had his ears hacked off with a pair of carving knives. What a lovely young lady. The other psychotic daughter is Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) also cute, but suffering from radical brain rot. And last but not least is Ralph (Sid Haig) an unfortunate fellow who stalks and kills domestic cats, which the Merryes then roast and serve to their guests; who are told they're eating rabbit. Ironically, the Merrye family are all vegans because.... nope. No spoilers.
During dinner one of the guests asks Bruno: "Isn't Ralph a vegetarian too?" to which Bruno replies: "Yes, but Ralph's allowed to eat anything that he catches".
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If I could give this movie ten stars, that's what it would get! No cult movie collection, B-movie collection, or just movie collection in general is complete without this "lost" film.
If you like the bizarre with a comic twist, this is your film. No real blood and gore here, just a neat little movie with a black and white, Sixties TV show kind of look. This movie was way ahead of its time, with an Addams Family feel to it. In fact, from watching the Addams Family on TV and enjoying the Charles Addams cartoons, I always had the feeling that this creepy stuff was really what they were doing just off camera or in their cartoon basement.
The camera work, direction, and most of the acting are excellent. Also, the added features, the 30th cast reunion and newly-discovered eight minutes (an interesting curio that really doesn't add to or take away from anything in the theatrical cut) adds to the overall package.
My only complaint is the sound level seems to drop in a few places in the movie, but considering how rare this film is, that is a very minor observation. I don't mind hitting the volume control a couple of times to get to enjoy this gem over and over.
Jack Hill and his Spider Baby cast rock big time!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all what I expected.
This was entirely an impulse buy. I never even heard of tihs film until I saw it on this site and bought it immediately. Honestly, I just liked the cover. Read more
Published on May 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pre-Human Condition of Savagery & Cannibalism
Here's a story of one messed up family, afflicted by a genetic condition that gradually deteriorates the mind and reverts the afflicted to a savage state, behold the Merrye... Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by Ryan Costantino
5.0 out of 5 stars If you never went to the theatre before the 70s...
...BR>The DVD print looks beautiful and I believe this was Lon Chaney's greatest role from the 1950s up til his death. It's scary! Read more
Published on Dec 26 2002 by John Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved This Movie
I had never seen or heard of this movie I was browsing the DVD rental store picked it up went home and popped it into the dvd player and then couldnt walk away. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2002 by Victor Robles
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
In the past, I have always approached Jack Hill's movies with a little bit of excitement, a little bit of curiousity, and a little bit of trepidation, as I do with any cult movie. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2002 by A. Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE CULT FILM....
Another of those neglected films I'd heard about but never found available, "SPIDER BABY" is a genuine find. Wow. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2002 by Mark Norvell
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Young Things
Jack Hill's <i>Spider Baby</i> (1964) is a genuinely creepy romp through the finals days of the Merrye family, complete with cannibalism and homicidal jailbait (how... Read more
Published on July 16 2002 by Brandon Blackmoor
5.0 out of 5 stars Have A Merrye Old Time!
Unearthing "Spider Baby" was one of the greatest finds in cinematic history. It features one of the best performances of Lon Chaney, Jr. in his entire career. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2002 by Michael King
5.0 out of 5 stars tHIS MOVIE CULT-ROCKS!
Published on Jan. 3 2002 by J. M. Gaudreau
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