Earth vs. the Spider (1958)

Genres - Science Fiction, Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 1, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Earth vs. the Spider is the most consistently entertaining, if not the best of Bert I. Gordon's various size-oriented fantasy-sci-fi films. Among his best-known movies, The Amazing Colossal Man has a more intelligent script and much better developed characters and Attack of the Puppet People is a more serious and better devised and designed movie (and both are referred to obliquely in this film), but Earth vs. the Spider is more fun than either of them. For starters, it has more comic relief than any of the other Gordon titles, mostly by virtue of the fact that much of the action in the first third of the movie involves teenagers. The vignette with the rock & roll band is, in fact, downright funny, though it also leads to the horror payoff for the picture. The film benefits from the presence of a surprisingly decent cast; June Kenney was an above-average player in low-budget films of this period (most memorably in Teenage Doll) and Gene Persson was a promising male lead (who later became a successful off-Broadway producer in New York). Among the actors representing authority figures, Gene Roth and Ed Kemmer hold that end of the picture together, with help from Hank Patterson in an all-too-brief vignette. The giant spider effects look primitive today, but in their time they were good enough to get picked up for use in other movies, including Have Rocket, Will Travel and Journey to the Seventh Planet.