Thursday, October 30, 2008

It’s Got Legs

Movie • TARANTULA • 1955
w00t!!! Got to see the newest Chiller Theater feature, Tarantula from 1955. A black and white classic, Tarantula is a wonderfully done giant buggy picture. This should be on your list of must see monster movies from the 5os if you haven’t already seen it eleventeen times!
You may have recognized Zacherly, the Cool Ghoul by his distinctive laugh if you saw this presented on Chiller Theater. I fell in love with this dreamy host a long time ago, and was glad to see his return. Chiller Theater ran first in 1961, but Zacherly hosted starting in 1963. My memory was wrong as I thought the six fingered hand was part of the opening. In reality the opening was snippets from some chiller classics. The six-fingered hand crawling from the pool of blood came on commercial breaks. You always knew the feature’s conclusion was coming up when the Chiller Hand “ate” the letters C-H-I-L-L-E-R. Something else I never could have noticed back in the day is that the voice you hear moaning, “Chiiiilll-eeeeeeer…” sounds a lot like Homer Simpson.

Tarantula opens in Desert Rock County as a disfigured man stumbles and croaks. The mystery around this man, soon identified as a Professor Jacobs, quickly unravels as we find he was part of a team experimenting on rodents and insects in the hopes they can find a solution to overpopulation. I can’t understand the logic in this, though. They were developing a serum that would act as a nutritional supplement, but the creatures grew to extremely large sizes, which I suspect would need more food or serum to survive. I guess that’s where scientists go mad in their passion to make a difference. They get exposed to they crazy chemicals, and inject themselves with their idiotic concoctions.
Needless to say, the lab is destroyed, and all the experiments are thought to be destroyed. All. But. One. The TARANTULA! It leaves the lab the size of a dog, but quickly grows to be so outrageously enormous that it dwarfs a three story house :)

We follow the shenanigans of Professor Dima, Dr. Matt Hastings (our hero), and Stephanie Clayton, aka Steve. We get to see the lovely creature several times in seamless overlays. You’ll love the effects, so grab some popcorn, and enjoy!

Tidbit relayed by Zacherly in this showing: Uncredited was a young Clint Eastwood as a fighter pilot. You can see him in the last sequence.

I want to apologize for the run-on sentences. I get that way when I get excited about great movies!

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