Movie Review: Earth vs. the Spider (1958)

Synopsis: When Carol Flynn's father doesn't return from a trip to buy her a birthday present, she convinces her boyfriend, Mike Simpson to help her search for him. They find her father's truck severely damaged on the side of the road and look for him in a nearby cave. That's when they discover a giant, man-eating spider.

Who's in it? The movie stars June Kenney, Eugene Persson, Ed Kemmer, Gene Roth and June Jocelyn.

Review: My wife and I decided not to go out last night and she surprised me by suggesting we watch a classic monster film (normally she isn't into that kind of thing). After some searching, we settled on this one and, overall, we enjoyed it.

The movie, as you probably would expect, is somewhat limited as far as special effects are concerned but still manages to do a decent job infusing footage of a spider to make it look like a large killing machine. The film also throws in some entertaining twists that keep it from being too predictable. The part about them bringing a supposedly dead spider into a high school was a fantastic way to set up carnage and a missing bracelet was a great excuse to put Carol (Kenney) and Mike (Persson) into extra danger.

My wife and I also managed to get a laugh at some of the absurd reactions to the spider. The sheriff (Roth) seemed to go out of his way not to believe the evidence in front of him and I thought it was hilarious when he retrieved the body of June's dad but completely ignored the various other bodies lying around the cave. 

I only had a couple complaints about the movie. The title of the film doesn't really match the plot since it wasn't really the Earth taking on the spider, just a small town (this is probably why they eventually changed the title of this movie to The Spider). Plus, I was a little disappointed the film doesn't attempt to explain why the spider was as large as it was. There were hints of an environmental factor that could possibly affect other creatures, but it was never confirmed. Fortunately, those things were relatively minor and didn't really detract from the plot.

Final Opinion: The movie is a bit cheesy at times and the special effects are definitely dated. However, it was an entertaining film we both had a fun time watching.

My Grade: B


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