Friday, July 19, 2002
It's been a good year for big-screen arachnids, what with "Spider-Man" and those spider-like surveillance-bots in "Minority Report."
And now comes the creepy-crawly sci-fi comedy "Eight Legged Freaks," about a toxic spill that causes spiders to grow and grow ... and grow. Dufus hero David Arquette and shotgun-toting sheriff Kari Wuhrer battle these amazingly life-like, computer-generated mutants as they swarm from the desert and lay siege to the town mall.
If, like me, you're an incorrigible fan of B monster movies, you'll want to check this one out when it skitters into theaters. But before proceeding, take the following spider-movie quiz. Identifying 13 to 15 of these movies correctly means you're either a Creature Feature freak or a frustrated bug doctor.
1. Itty-bitty Grant Williams, armed with a needle, battles a tarantula for a morsel of cheese in this '50s classic taken from a Richard Matheson novel.
2. Sabu, attempting to make off with the eye of a temple god, becomes ensnared in a giant web in this Arabian Nights classic.
3. John Goodman is a quick-on-the-trigger exterminator called in when a lethal visitor from the Amazon takes up residence in a small California town.
4. On leave from "Star Trek" duties, William Shatner plays a veterinarian battling an infestation of Arizona tarantulas.
5. James Bond finds himself cuddling up to a large, hairy West Indian tarantula in this, 007's first big-screen outing.
6. Teens, crooks and a giant spider figure in this Roger Corman quickie that co-stars Richard Sinatra, Frank's nephew.
7. Disney's first wildlife documentary, an Oscar winner, catches the lightning-fast trap-door spider being his ol' sneaky self.
8. A scientist experimenting with radioactive nutrients (but of course!) creates the unstoppable giant of the title. Hint: Universal contract player Clint Eastwood appears as the jet pilot in the final showdown.
9. In an act of stunning futility, Richard Harris' rugby player smashes a spider against a hospital wall in the final sequence of this gritty British classic.
10. Barbara Hale of "Perry Mason" and Alan Hale Jr. of "Gilligan's Island" team to save Wisconsin from eight-legged critters from another dimension in this low-budget hoot. Pitch line: "Creeping! Crawling! Crushing!"
11. Sherlock Holmes, played by Basil Rathbone, goes up against the venomous Gale Sondergaard, whose eight-legged accomplices drive her victims to suicide.
12. Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) battles Nazis, slave traders and, for the cave climax, a hilarious hokey prehistoric spider in this installment.
13. The half-man, half-insect of the title screams "Help me! Help me!" as a hungry spider moved in for the kill.
14. Like the deadliest of arachnids, Theresa Russell "mates, then kills" in this stylish mystery-thriller shot by Conrad L. Hall ("Road to Perdition").
15. The legless Dr. Arliss Loveless gets around in a giant, spider-like contraption in this big-budget adventure spoof by Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black II").