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TARANTULA - 3 Slimes
Not Rated
Copyright 1955 Universal-International
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Dr. Matt Hastings - Dashing young medical practitioner.
  • Stephanie Clayton - Attractive woman who has arrived to study under Professor Deemer. Everybody calls her "Steve."
  • Professor Deemer - Scientist, he has almost perfected a growth serum. It works really well on tarantulas, not so good on people. Eaten by the spider.
  • Sheriff Andrews - Garrulous county lawman, but can he ever make a fashion statement...
  • Joe Burch - In an old b-movie the reporter is either the hero, or just along for the ride. I listed him fifth out of seven characters, which do you think he is?
  • Professor Jacobs - Research partner to Deemer, injects himself with the growth serum and dies after complications.
  • The Tarantula - Originally a cute little guy about the size of a sheep, it escapes during a fracas in the lab. Grows into a genuine monster before saying hello to napalm.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Not for people with Arachnophobia, though you honestly spend around half the film on other subjects. Like a group of men calling the only breeding female within sixty miles "Steve." Her name is Stephanie for crying out loud, not Steve. Steve is some guy you go drinking with, he's probably got hair in weird places, he's not a woman named Stephanie. (Well he might be, it's the nineties after all, but that's another subject.)

Time for a quick overview of the plot. Professors Deemer and Jacobs have been experimenting with a growth serum, when the latter becomes impatient he injects himself and the assistant with it. Unfortunately the experimental drug doesn't work quite right with humans, both men develop Acromegaly (a disease caused by overproduction of growth hormones) and die in a few days. Not before the assistant goes mad and injects Deemer with the serum though, in the ruckus a fire destroys much of the lab and we see the arachnid in question escape from it's cage into the desert.

This is what Stephanie finds upon arriving, the research team she wanted to join is either dead or mutating. Plus the Sheriff and Matt are trying to figure out what is killing cattle, people, heck - anything it wants. (You try telling a three-story tarantula no.) The amusing thing is nobody ever notices it wandering around, you'd think out in the wide open desert people would notice something like that... ...regardless, pretty soon it gets their attention. Not difficult to do after eating a house and then proceeding down the highway toward town.

After bullets and explosives fail to stop it the character's last hope is the U.S. Air Force. You'll be surprised at times by the effects in this movie, one or two of the scenes where it's walking along the landscape are quite good. Shortly after this it'll do something goofy, like seeming to walk on air.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Sheriffs are very fashion oriented when buying kerchiefs.
  • In a convertible going fifty miles an hour your hair doesn't move.
  • Steve is short for Stephanie.
  • Guys love rabbits.
  • Spiders constantly make a chirping noise.
  • If you find a puddle of thick yellow liquid you should taste it.
  • The number one cause of blackouts in Arizona is giant arachnids.
  • Most homeowner's policies do not include a "destroyed by enormous tarantula" clause.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Why is this movie starting off with what appears to be a Neanderthal?
  • 7 mins - You mean insinuating... ...I think.
  • 13 mins - Now that's a Guinea Pig.
  • 26 mins - Matt and, er, Steve didn't notice the thirty foot spider on the road?
  • 50 mins - Oops, the spider was walking on air for a minute.
  • 54 mins - Dude, you just ate spider spooge.
  • 80 mins - It's the tarantula versus the U.S. Air Force!

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note tarantula1.wav Matt: "Freaks of any kind give me the willies."
Green Music Note tarantula2.wav Matt: "You still trust my judgment after the Jacobs business."
Sheriff: "I ain't looking for medical advice doc, just company."
(Both laugh.)
Green Music Note tarantula3.wav Sheriff: "I can't figure it; there isn't a skid mark. We plowed through the wreck and found the brakes still work. Just like something grabbed the pickup and threw it thirty feet off the road."
Green Music Note tarantula4.wav Stephanie: "Do you think it'll work?"
Matt: "Dynamite's tricky stuff."
Sheriff: "It may blow it up, may just blow the highway up, dog gone I wish we had some nitro."
Joe: "I'll have to see that tarantula before I believe it."
Matt: "You'll see it Joe and you'll wish you hadn't."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptarantula1.mpg - 2.8m
I think they have dynamite mixed up with Dursban, but does anyone know the concentration required for a tarantula this big? One million parts per million?

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 4 5 [6]
Re: Tarantula
Reply #41. Posted on May 12, 2011, 03:16:14 PM by SwimTiger
This movie was entertaining. Also Clint Eastwood had a small part as being one of the Air Force pilots.
Re: Tarantula
Reply #42. Posted on January 23, 2012, 02:24:38 PM by tracy
I hadn't seen this movie in years when it showed up on THIS network. You gotta love these sorts of big creeping bug films! Thumbup
Re: Tarantula
Reply #43. Posted on May 27, 2012, 05:10:42 AM by Mofo Rising
This was really a lovely film.

I remember seeing snippets of Tarantula as a kid, and finding it absolutely terrifying. Those shots of a giant tarantula slowly crawling its way across the desert in black and white burned their way into my brain.

I finally watched the whole movie a few days ago, thirty years or so after my first viewing.

I liked it a lot. The story is pretty much the stereotypical '50s science horror type film, nothing to write home about. What sets this film apart is the fantastic visual effects. The "villain" is the giant tarantula, which still works incredibly well. The tarantula is such a primal image, and seeing it blown up several thousand times with really very good FX is fantastic.

I don't know if the rest of the score is different, but the director Jack Arnold uses the exact same horn cues he used in his legitimately great Creature From the Black Lagoon.

This is a great film, if you like this sort of thing.
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Earth is visited by a GIANT ANTIMATTER SPACE BUZZARD! Gawk at the amazingly bad bird puppet, or chuckle over the silly dialog. This is one of the greatest b-movies ever made.

Lesson Learned:
  • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

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