Monster of the Day #67

I’m pretty arachnophobic, so you can imagine I don’t like this guy very much.  Still, for all the higher budget, the name stars (the inevitable John Agar, the luscious Mara Corday and Leo G. Carroll, even the famous Clint Eastwood cameo) and director (the mighty Jack Arnold), I really kind of prefer Bert I. Gordon’s Earth vs. the Spider.  Perhaps because Tarantula featured the acromegaly subplot, which trailblazed the whole “useless subplot that diverts attention from the giant whatsit” deal that continues to plague so many sci-fi movies today.

Plus Earth vs. the Spider featured Mr. Ziffel and a giant spider roused from a coma by bad rock ‘n’ roll music.

  • well I guess I’m a philistine then because I love the acromegaly subplot. It actually has some bearing on the giant monster (hey, it’s growth hormone), and joy of joys it’s NOT a stupid romantic triangle. man those “kissing scenes” are so hard to get through for us red-blooded men.

  • I’m not saying no one can like it; I just don’t. At least it ties into the plot and isn’t a guv’ment SPOOK trying to murder people to cover things up. Still, I prefer a ‘stick to the point’ plotline, ala The Thing, Them! or Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

  • I love Clint Eastwood saving the day with napalm at the end. I’m almost expecting him to say, “I know what you’re thinking spidey. Did he drop six cannisters or only five?”

  • John Nowak

    Possibly the only effective airstrike in the history of giant monsters.

    Of course, what did you expect when you put Eastwood in the cockpit?

  • Ericb

    When I first saw this movie I was only on the cusp of literacey, so while I knew that a tarantula was a big, hairy spider I wasn’t quite able to associate it with the word “tarantula” as written. So when I saw this in the tv listings I had no idea that it was going to be about a giant spider only that it was going to be a monster movie (it was on Chiller Theatrer or something). In fact after the first scene I assumed that the acromegaly/caveman looking guy was going to be the monster … I was n for a suprise.

  • Ericb

    I’m pretty arachnopobic as well. My nightmares usually feature lots of web with cat-sized spiders.

  • Navy vs. the Night Monsters features another effective napalm run, although that’s not a giant monster flick.

  • Rock Baker

    I think both films are great for different reasons. Ultimately, Tarantula wins slightly higher favor in my eyes because of that classic Universal score made of stock tracks. No other studio re-used its library music to such great effect. That both films, despite being made so close together and featuring a big spider, are so different only helps both films. At no time does Earth vs The Spider play like a rip-off of the bigger studio film.

  • Ericb

    One of the things I like about Earth vs. the Spider is that no explanation is given for the size of the spider. It’s all kept nicely mysterious.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    The American Godzilla also had an effective air strike at the end.

    I haven’t seen either in quite a while, but I recall preferring this one to EvtS. I think the science stuff kept me entertained enough between spider attacks, and it didn’t have a hidesouly annoying, near-constant screech. I also liked the goofy puppet.

    That “woken by crappy rock music” think was pretty hilarious, though.

  • Rock Baker

    Am I the only one who LIKED the rock n roll music in Earth vs the Spider?

    By the way, Godzilla just did a spot on local TV, see here: (it is okay if I share this here, isn’t it, Ken?)

  • Rock Baker

    It might help if I get the right link in place.

  • The acromegaly subplot gave me nightmares as a kid. Leo G. Carroll coming to get me. Brr.

  • zombiewhacker

    How come Rondo Hatton never made a movie with a giant spider?

    We wuz robbed!

  • Rock — Sharing is always encouraged at Jabootu!

    I saw the video compiltation of your brother posing with people at G-Fest. I was just gobsmacked at the range of motion he had in his suit. Any day you can bring that many smiles to that many kids is a good one. If he ever returns to Chicago, and is here the right weekend, I’m sure my friends at the Portage would love to have him display his suit.

  • TongoRad

    Am I the only one who LIKED the rock n roll music in Earth vs the Spider?
    In a sense I’m with you. I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the music itself, but that whole scene in the gym is definitely my favorite part and probably why I prefer that movie overall. I’m not sure if it could be seen as some sort of commentary on how the adults of the era didn’t really ‘get’ the youth culture or not (“that rock and roll music is a dangerous addiction of the kids these days and it makes them do crazy out-of-control stuff, they can’t help it once that music starts!”) but I choose to do it anyway ;)

  • I’m not sure if the clearly 30something protagonists of EvtS count as “youths” but I will say that despite the awesomeness of the spider resurrection I would say you ARE alone in liking the rock ‘n’ roll in that movie. It was second only to the folk music in Giant Gila Monster, for me, in wincingness.

  • Rock Baker

    Where do you stand on the theme to Modesty Blaise?

    Kidding aside, I’m always nervous when it comes to rating music as ‘good’ or bad’ since liking of music is even more a matter of personal taste than movies are. Movies are seen by crowds, so there’s something of a group reaction. Music hits you in a personal way, I think. Sometimes I’ve enjoyed the generic rock n roll music from a film’s soundtrack even more than what was released pubilcly at the same time. Then there’s music I absolutely hate, like rap or punk or pop or what have you. I hate it, but lots of others love it, who stands in the right here?
    As for Giant Gila Monster’s soundtrack, I think “The Mushroom Song” gets a little overplayed but it’s hard to work up bad feelings for something so harmlessly sweet. I really liked the number “I ain’t made that way” but the tune was cut short.

  • TongoRad

    Well, I can’t say that I’ve even made a cursory comparisson of the rock/pop/musical interludes from the movies of the era but I will say this: the guys in ‘Earth vs. the Spider’ don’t hold a candle to the Del Aires. Still, that scene remains one of those moments where I just can’t help going “ooh, I love this part”, so I guess it works for me in a way. ‘The Giant Gila Monster’, hmmm, not ringing a bell (maybe that’s a good thing?)- I’ll have to check it out again.

  • Petoht

    Sing whenever I sing whenever I sing…

  • Rock Baker

    I doubt anyone can help me with this, but there used to be a show on local TV back in the late 80s/very, very early 90s. I don’t know if it was produced locally or if it was just aired here, but it seems like it was pretty ambitious for a kiddie show to have been made locally. It had a western theme, and involved some cowboys at a ranch who at some point in each episode would intone that something was or wasn’t done “The Cowboy Way.” (The only episode I really recall was a spoof of the Batman show, with the cowboys going up against a sponge-based supervillian with sidekicks named Drip and Drop. From what I recall it was a pretty spot-on parody.)

    At any rate, a regular segemnt on the show was “The Giant Gila Monster.” There would be a minature set of a big party or something that was populated by cardboard cutout people who were animated over the scene. Each week, there would be this brief setup, then the monster (a green iguana) would show up and destroy the set, and chase the people off, before wandering away toward his next target. Each segment was probably only a minute long, if that.

    Does anyone know what this show was called? I can’t find anything about it on the internet and I can’t recall the title. You’d think a show with a regular segment called “The Giant Gila Monster” would have some sort of mention in internet land, wouldn’t you?

  • Late reply and off topic, but Rock Baker: the group you’re thinking of is Riders in the Sky. They’ve had more than one TV show, but you’re thinking of this one, which was indeed full of offbeat humor. (In retrospect, it was fairly clearly CBS’ attempt at replacing Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which had ended the previous season.)