5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best "Nature Gone Wild" Films
Version reviewed: GoodTimes DVD, "Special Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition", 2002, 95 minutes
My personal enjoyment rating: 10 out of 10
My recommendation rating: 9 out of 10. Explanation of recommendation rating: "A must see for everyone who is a fan of the genre. Anyone seriously or casually interested in film should enjoy it or at least find something...
Published on Feb 19 2004 by Farffleblex Plaffington
3.0 out of 5 stars Spiders, spiders everywhere, what's a Shatner to do?
Small, hairy creatures terrorize William Shatner, and I'm not talking about his toupees. Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), directed by stuntman/actor/director/producer John 'Bud' Cardos who later directed the miserably dismal Outlaw of Gor (1989).
The film stars William 'Mr. Tambourine Man' Shatner as Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen, along with once aspiring singer and fairly...
Published on Mar 29 2004 by cookieman108
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4.0 out of 5 stars The SHAT!!! Fun & Cheesy B-Horror Film! OH RACK, SAVE ME!,
The effects are quite UNSPECIAL as well as the acting from the supporting cast. The Shat, however, more than makes up for ANY marginal acting of the supporting cast.
After Shatner, the best performance in this fun stinker of a movie is "Bessie" the cow while being attacked by spiders in the very first scene. Bessie highly surpasses her owners acting performance and clearly OUTSHINES everyone but Rack in this film.
A great cheese-filled ending to the picture too!
If you like b-grade horror, you will certainly enjoy this "peice of SHAT" film!
3.0 out of 5 stars Spiders, spiders everywhere, what's a Shatner to do?,
The film stars William 'Mr. Tambourine Man' Shatner as Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen, along with once aspiring singer and fairly attractive Tiffany Bolling as entomologist Diane Ashley, and Woody Strode as Walter Colby, a small time rancher with big time problems of the hairy, creepy eight legged kind.
The movie starts of with Colby's prize calf becoming sick of 'mysterious' causes, but seeing as how the title of this feature is Kingdom of the Spiders, it's no big task for the viewer to assume the spiders got at it, but the characters aren't let in on it until a little later in the movie. Also, we are given a number of scurrying, point of view shots on the ground near the calf prior to its' becoming ill, indicating that many small, quick creatures had their way with the bovine. Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen, the local veterinarian, is called, and he takes some samples from the dying calf, and sends them off to the 'big city' for further analysis. Thus enters Diane Ashely, entomologist to further investigate the matter, and also to provide a rather awkward love interest subplot for Shatner's character. She informs Rack that the calf died of spider venom, to which he has a hard time believing, until Mr. Colby speaks of a giant spider mound on his property, one crawling with tarantulas up the wazoo. Diane is amazed to see such a concentration of spiders in one place, and proposes some rather lame theories to help justify the main crux of the film, namely why thousands, even millions of spiders that are about to descend on the small, Arizona town. Oh yeah, she also finds out that the spiders have venom like five times more toxic than normal.
Well, some measures, rather futile ones at that, are initiated to try and kill the wee, hairy varmints, but to no avail. I love how the character of mayor, between a rock and a hard place with concern about an upcoming fair that generates a great deal of revenue for the small town, acts in borderline criminal fashion in dealing with the spiders. The similarity between this character and that of Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) from the vastly superior Jaws (1975) is unmistakable, but while Mayor Vaughn suffered internally for his folly, the mayor in this film just meets a rather nasty end. I know it's not fair to compare these two films, as Jaws, in my opinion, is one of the best films ever made which spawned so many copycats trying to cash in on the success of a particular genre, namely man vs. nature.
Shatner hams it up a bit as you might expect, but that added to film for me, rather than detracting. There was an odd and creepy subplot involving the widowed wife of Shatner's character's brother as a potential love interest, but that was put to rest fairly quickly, to which I was thankful. The spiders are the main attraction here, and the film certainly doesn't skimp, providing, at times, hundreds of the hairy little creatures, certainly more than enough to give this viewer a serious case of the willies. I couldn't even begin to imagine having to work around so many live spiders...I give credit to the actors for this point, and it's obvious for the scenes involving a character having to suffer spiders on their person the revulsion was real. These are the kind of reactions hard to get with CGI work. My biggest problem was with the music as it didn't always fit and became fairly annoying at times. It's interesting when music works in a movie, I don't always notice its' presence, but when it doesn't, it really stands out, like it did here for me. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say the ending was typical of these types of movies throughout the 70's.
Good Times Home Video offers a reasonably good looking print in full screen format, but don't be expecting any special features as there are none, not even a trailer. For the price, I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but given the better than average quality of the picture, I was pleasantly surprised. If you're in the mood for some good, creepy crawly fun, you could certainly do a lot worse.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best "Nature Gone Wild" Films,
My personal enjoyment rating: 10 out of 10
My recommendation rating: 9 out of 10. Explanation of recommendation rating: "A must see for everyone who is a fan of the genre. Anyone seriously or casually interested in film should enjoy it or at least find something interesting about it."
In my view, this is one of the best entries in the "Nature Gone Wild" subgenre of horror. While it's firmly entrenched in its mid-1970's style--which means that fans looking only for lots of gore, action, big-budget special effects and lots of gratuitous nudity should look elsewhere (although none of these elements are quite absent)--director John "Bud" Cardos (who also directed the underrated _Mutant_ in 1984) manages to make the film surprisingly visceral and downbeat, especially in contrast to an almost "made-for-television" sheen. The real triumph of the film is that, fueled by the performances (including a great one from star William Shatner), it begins like an intriguing and slightly comic drama, and gradually turns into a nihilistic shocker, with all the atmosphere of (and a couple literal nods to) Alfred Hitchcock's _The Birds_ (1963) and George Romero's _Night Of The Living Dead_ (1969), and it has a serious environmental and philosophical subplot/subtext to boot (as does _Mutant_).
On the negative side, this GoodTimes DVD, despite the "Special Edition" moniker, only contains a decent transfer (it's clear with good sound, but a bit wobbly a couple times), in full screen (which may or may not be the original aspect ratio), and no special features. Still, despite this drawback, it's great to have this film on DVD, and you shouldn't pass it up.
2.0 out of 5 stars Classic '70s sci-fi trash,
Two and a half stars out of five.
4.0 out of 5 stars Eight Hairy Legs Of Love...,
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many spiders!,
3.0 out of 5 stars William Shatner vs. thousands of evil spiders?!! I'm sold!!,
The 2002 Goodtimes DVD is impressive for this film. I rented this on VHS at a video store that doesn't exist anymore and no one else has it. Imagine my surprise when I saw it on DVD! The film is presented in a Standard screen version only with chapter selection, not to mention great keep case art - Shatner kneeling over a woman covered in spiders! The DVD is inexpensive as Goodtimes DVDs are and if you like it or even think you will, I can recommend it for purchase. The image transfer isn't perfect (there's the odd jump that's in the orginal film most likely), but face it, its not getting any better than this. We're lucky to have it on digital at all! Check out that last shot when Shatner prys the boards off the window and looks out onto the town! Also recommended: Devil's Rain (1975) - Shatner vs. cloaked devil worshipper Ernest Borgnine! Also a DVD cheapie. Film debut of John Travolta as Danny, the eyeless & mute devil worshipper! Tom Skerrit and Eddie Albert decide to join the fight against evil as well! How can you miss this one Other "they're taking over..." films:
Frogs (1972) - Oh no! the frogs don't like us!, Squirm (1976) - Oh wow! It's worms!, Swarm (1978) - Oh no! I've been stung by killer bees!, Them (1954) - Oh no! those are very large ants Grizzly (1976) - Oh dear lord!, that is one giant bear!
Attack of the killer tomatoes! (1978) - Oh my! fresh veggies!
4.0 out of 5 stars A great bad movie,
4.0 out of 5 stars Way Over The Top.....,
4.0 out of 5 stars Great big, ugly spiders run amuck in this creep-fest,
This film is really all about the spiders. The first victim is a poor rancher's prize calf, the one sure to win first prize at the upcoming fair. Unsure of the cause of death, "Rack" sends samples to the university in Flagstaff; soon Diane Ashley shows up to tell him the death was due to spider venom. Folks don't want to believe such a far-fetched thing at first, but these tarantulas are all business and not a bit shy about it. A huge spider hill is found on the rancher's property, which our heroes attempt to burn (forgetting to burn both sides of it, though); this apparently makes the spiders a little mad, and the full-scale invasion of town is soon launched. Our heroes find themselves holed up in a cottage in the middle of nowhere; surrounded by spiders all over the place, the chances of their survival appear to be worse than slim to none, all of which leads up to a somewhat unusual but more than acceptable ending.
If you don't like spiders, you don't want to watch this movie. I mean, there are tarantulas everywhere; I was more than ready for this film to end three-fourths of the way through it. I don't mind spiders that much, as long as I am only watching them appear somewhere else, but this movie puts so many spiders on the screen you start wondering if some of them will fall through your monitor or TV screen. For this type of critter invasion film, Kingdom of the Spiders works incredibly well. While there are a few weak spots in the plot, the filmmakers succeed remarkably well by going all out in terms of making the viewing experience as spiderific as possible.
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Kingdom of the Spiders by John 'Bud' Cardos (DVD - 2010)
CDN$ 19.95 CDN$ 16.38