Friday, April 20, 2012

Old-School Sci-Fi: Earth vs. The Spider

When your initials are B.I.G., you kind of have to make films like this.  Bert I. Gordon is a famous name from the 1950s for his giant monster films.  Some of the monsters were simply big, while other ones were normal-sized...but the people were smaller.  The movies were never critically-acclaimed, but usually made a hefty profit at Drive-Ins.  If you don't know his name, you undoubtedly know at least one of this films, be it The Amazing Colossal Man, The Beginning of the End or Empire of the Ants (a personal favorite).  Today's film is one of his more famous works, although I'm really only covering it to be able to compare it to the 2001 TV remake.  The plot is pretty basic, but I'll touch upon the key points and give you a general overview.  Nothing screams 'funny' like the phrase 'general overview' right?  To find out more (and hopefully laugh), read on...
A pair of teenagers (yeah, right) go exploring in a cave when the girl's father goes missing.  I'm sure that there's nothing to worry about.  It's not like there is...
...a giant spider in there.  Ruh roh!
If you thought that Bert I. Gordon was subtle, check out this plug for one of his other two movies coming out- Attack of the Puppet People.

Oh and the other film- War of the Colossal Beast- is hyped on a Marquee.  Too subtle, Bert!!!
Bear in mind that this movie was made 54 years ago.  They don't hold up all the time, but you can appreciate the effort put into them.  It's more work than just inserting aliens into shots.
Is that kid covered in chocolate?  I hope so, because if that's blood, then I'm really wondering how they got away with this in 1958!!!
Hide your dollhouses- that spider has gone crazy!!!
The whole thing comes together when a bit of science mentioned in the second scene of the movie comes into play.  Chekhov's Gun in a Bert I. Gordon film?  Interesting.  The End.
It's exactly what you expect.  Do you get something out of the ordinary with a Bert I. Gordon film?  No.  You get giant creatures smashing stuff up and the military trying to stop them.  The only twist here is that it's a small town fighting the creature mostly on their own.  That does raise a point though- what makes them the 'Earth?' Does A Hamlet vs. The Spider not sound as cool?  Obviously not.  That said, the movie has most of the tropes that you expect, including those darn Teenagers being unruly.  Things really changed a lot after The Blob, huh?  Like I said, the movie is pretty simple.  If you like old-school science-fiction, you'll like this movie.  Bert I. Gordon films are a bit polarizing in their simplicity.  Myself- I love the stuff.  While this doesn't have the added camp value of Empire of the Ants, I still liked it a lot.  See how quickly my like changes to hate when I get to the next film.  Take us away, slightly-aged special effects...
Up next, the 2001 remake of the film.  Can it be any different than this movie?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. LOL Hilarious movie, about as fun and enjoyable as Giant Spider Invasion :)