Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Night of the Living... Spiders

For the first time in my life I saw Kingdom of the Spiders and I did so because a lot of people recommended the movie to me so I finally caved in. On the surface, and to most people, the movie is a classic example of a cheesy movie with really hammy acting. However for people like me, who are afraid of spiders, this movie was actually quite frightening and uneasy. Yeah, like Arachnophobia this movie really got to me and I think I pinpointed why, out of all the spider movies that I have seen, this movie is scarier from the rest. I think the same thing goes for Arachnophobia but that movie had humor to lighten up the mood, this movie did not.

As I watched this movie I noticed that like Arachnophobia the spiders in this movie are your generic tarantula, they are not mutated or genetically enhanced and they are not oversized so it makes it feel more real. By making the spiders’ generic, it makes the audience think that this could happen because the science and the logic is there. There are several types of spiders that hunt in colonies and when food is deprived, they go apeshit. However, it does seem a little far-fetched that they would wrap the entire town in spider webs. I guess it’s the idea that it could happen, getting covered in spiders and eventually getting killed by them, is what scares me.

The other thing that I noticed is that the film is a lot more morbid than most killer spider movies. The movies that have giant killer spiders are gorier and more violent and it’s a given that they are going to have giant webs to go with their giant bodies. In this film, the small spiders somehow found a way to wrap their entire web around other people. There is a montage where we see several townsfolk cocooned in spider webs with spiders crawling all over their bodies. It’s actually pretty frightening and a little more morbid than most. There is hardly in gore in this movie except for one scene when one of the police men gets into a car crash and he falls out dead and bloodied up… and then the spiders crawl all over him.

You’ll also notice that they kill people in the most random and seemingly safest places. Take for example: there is a scene when an airplane pilot is flying his plane in the sky and then out of the clear blue, spiders engulf his body and kill them. Because of that scene, it makes it seem like there is no escaping the spiders. They are everywhere. See, the spiders in this movie have the persona and the walking dead and that brings me to my main point about Kingdom of Spiders.

Yes, this movie bears a lot of resemblance to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Think about it, the spiders kill in groups and they surround their victims as they bite them and probably eat them… just like zombies. A small group of people barricade themselves in a restaurant as the spiders attack the town just like in Night of the Living Dead when the group in the house fends off the zombies. I read somewhere that somebody compared Kingdom of the Spiders to The Birds and although that might be true, I really think it owes a little more Night of the Living Dead than anything else. Both movies have slow and harmless-looking creatures attack people.

In my opinion, this may be a cheesy film but because of my fear of spiders it was more than just a cheesy film… it was a pretty frightening film. I had the same reaction to Arachnophobia because even with the humor aside, it’s still unnerving to see the spiders coat the entire house. Hell, both Kingdom of Spiders and Arachnophobia have custom songs to them so you can say that Arachnophobia owes a lot to Kingdom of Spiders. Everybody borrows from everybody.


Andre said...

Ugh. As you know I, like you, DESPISE spiders, especially tarantulas. Although I must disagree about the spiders in Arachnophobia being typical tarantulas. The mama tarantula was probably the most regular looking tarantula- but the big daddy one resembled the bigger, bird eating tarantula and that is terrifying and not typical and therefore causes one to pee their pants faster. Also the drones were more crablike- and possibly less scary? Not sure.

I will probably never see Kingdom of Spiders for the same reason I won't see movies entirely devoted to sharks. My heart just can't take it! I completely understand how you find even hammy movies about spiders to be frightening, I'm right there with you!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

The spiders in Arachnophobia are 'typical' in the sense that they are not mutated, monster size or genetically enhanced. They are still small spiders and not overly big.

But, yes, even Arachnophobia is hard to get through because of the spiders. Especially the shower scene. YUCK!!!

Andre said...

Ah OK that makes more sense I think I read too quickly and only saw "over-sized". Also I tend to completely erase any movie with mutated spiders from my head...oh lordy 8 legged freaks.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

There is a movie called Spiders. I could not watch that movie all the way through. I suggest checking it out. ;)

Geof said...

I have few fears in life but spiders are one of them. When I was about 5-6 years old or so, spiders never bothered me...until I saw this film! Silly how stuff like that works, but my sister was always a big horror fan and used to make me watch scary shit all of the time. So we watched this on ABC one night and it was a failure! Never liked those f'ers ever since. I still vividly remember everything about KOTS, but it has been years and years since I last saw it. To me, it's the scariest spider film ever. I like how you brought up the fact that Arachnophobia had the humor to offset the fear and I think that is how I can tolerate that film. Even though KOTS is cheesy with the Shat and all, it's played straight as an arrow. Of course those who are not fearful of arachnids probably won't see the big deal.

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

holy crap the first time i watched this i wizzed my pants,mostly when it got in the plane or the basement scene

Emma Clark said...

Actually, most of the spiders from arachnophobia were Avondale spiders (Delena cancerides) spiders from New Zealand, a species of huntsmen that originated in Australia, but was introduced to New Zealand. However, there was a bird eating tarantula in the movie. Also tarantulas are not social spiders, but Delena cancerides are.

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