Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

June 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

Starring William Shatner and his sideburns, Kingdom of the Spiders is one of those good bad films, like the good bad books Orwell used to talk about sometimes — nothing outstanding but certainly entertaining, or in other words bad in a good way.  In a small town in Arizona, ultra-poisonous tarantulas are coming out in overwhelming numbers to attack humans because we messed them up with too many pesticides, or something.  The lessons aren’t subtle, and like some other horror films, the characters have the first half of the film to join some kind of family unit or find a romance, rather than get bumped off as expendable.  Let’s not get into why that’s vaguely disturbing in favour of accepting it as one of the standards of horror.    

Shatner plays “Rack,” (don’t ask, his nickname came out of a pool game somehow) a local vet who flirts outrageously, grinning like a big kid, and then spends the second half of the film swatting spiders off people and saying things like “Sweet Jesus.”  We also get to hear stuff like “This is our home, and no damn spiders are gonna run us out,” and phones aren’t dead, they’re “graveyard dead.”  These are spiders that know to go for the fuse box, and watch carefully for the spider-cam, because the film simply wouldn’t have been complete without the spider perspective once in a while.  

I grew up watching Shatner in reruns of original Trek, and the man has a way of being immensely watchable — he doesn’t even hang up a phone like another actor would, making him the ultimate good bad actor.  So if the county fair is going to be ruined in a film with a few impressive stunts and a lot of unintentionally hilarious lines, he’s the man to star in it. 

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