Genre: Horror, Monster
Source: TV ( Channel TCM )
In case you didnt know already I am a HUGE fan of the Giant Insect Genre, especially that of the ones from the 50s. For example 1954s Giant Ant movie "Them!" is my all time favourite from the subgenre, not only that but Them! is one of my favourite movie`s ever made. Another Gem from the the giant insect subgenre would have to be Bert I.Gordons Earth Vs.The Spider from 1958, a terrific and utterly terrifying giant spider movie. Anyway`s back to Tarantula as you can probably imagine i`d been really looking forward to seeing this movie, reason being other then the obvious I love Giant Insect Movies, I heard a great deal of praise regarding this movie from various sources online and from my friend Mike who had a lot of good things to say about this movie and highly recommended it to me.
So does Tarantula belong with the likes of such movie`s as THEM! and Earth Vs The Spider? Answer is yes and no, yes it is a awesome monster movie that is truly well made, but its just not as good as either Them! or Earth Vs The Spider. Nor is it a horrible 50s monster like the Giant Gilla Monster from 1959. Its just the things that held it back from being better were was the monster isn't in the movie enough! In fact you have to like wait half the movie before it actually does much. Its just to much of the movie was spent trying to figure out what was terrorizing the area, because us the audience obviously knew it was a Giant Spider that was doing all the damage so when the main character finds out it was a giant spider there was really no shock value. Then I felt to much I felt to much focus was spent on the whole love connection between the main character and the leading lady! It`s not that I absolutely hate that sorta stuff, its that I REALLY DONT CARE! I want to see a giant spider eat someone alive not John Agar and hitting on Mara Corday.
Ok, now despite those flaws this movie still had some very unique, memorable traits. Such as first off the way the monsters created was unique and against the norm, because instead of being created by Atomic Bomb related stuff or by a Mad scientist bent on world domination, instead its created on accident by a few well meaning scientists only looking towards the progression of medical science. Then the monster looks very realistic, and that would have to do with the fact that its a real live spider! Yes, this is one of those movie`s were they toke a real animal and as in this one a Tarantula and put him on a small scale set were then the director Jack Arnold used Air jets to make the spider move in the desired way over their little miniature landscapes. You know at the end were they naplam the spider and it burns to death, I have no doubt that was a real spider that they just lit on fire.
The movie also features a great cast such as John Agar who went on to be quite a Sci-Fi Icon with people such as Kevin McCarthy and Peter Graves, The Mara Corday put in a great performance as the leading lady/love interest. She to went on to play in a number of other Sci-Fi / Horror films such as The Black Scorpion and The Giant Claw. But most memorable of all is the little uncredited bit part Clint Eastwood played, yep this one of his first movie`s. You wouldn't see him until the end though were he plays the Jet Pilot who kills the giant spider with Napalm. To me that was just so cool to see one of my idols playing alittle bit part in such a unexpected movie.
Well all in all Tarantula is a great monster movie that definitely has its place among the monster movie hall of fame. With it`s great cast, awesome monster, and good direction Tarantula is a movie that I feel I would highly recommend to the average monster movie fan.