Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spider Baby (1968)

Dir: Jack Hill

Starring: Lon Cheney Jr. & Sid Haig

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Come into my parlor, said the spider to the...

Plot: In a dilapidated rural mansion, the last generation of the degenerate, inbred Merry family lives with the inherited curse of a disease that causes them to mentally regress from the age of 10 or so on as they physically develop. The family chauffeur looks out for them and covers up their indiscretions. Trouble comes when greedy distant relatives and their lawyer arrive to dispossess the family of its home.

My Rating: 4/10
Would I watch it again?

I don't get it. I just don't get it. Looking at the comments on imdb you'd think this was a masterpiece. Glowing review after glowing review elevates this thing into "genius" territory. WTF? It's slow, slow, slow. I'm going to do my damnedest not to bash it. I went into this thing looking for a hidden gem of a B movie. I'd even called some friends over to witness a buried classic and what I ended up with was nearly having to find replacements for the friends I almost lost.

The theme song at the beginning (sung by Cheney) was awesome. It kind of had a Monster Mash feel to it. It's catchy and kooky. I'm on board. Then we get to meet the young girls of the family and their caretaker, Cheney. OK, so far I'm with it even though it starting to really drag and do absolutely nothing. Then we get to meet the "bitch" and her brother (Peter, played with a delightful playfulness by Quinn K. Redeker) and then their lawyer and his assistant (she's pretty cool, too). The lawyer's acting is WAY over the top - the worst acting of the bunch. Peter is awesome. His sister (bitch) has forced him to go with her against his will and so he's just going to make the best of it by encouraging anything she doesn't like. Everyone watching this with me loved his performance. He was the only thing we really enjoyed.

Poor Lon. I didn't know he was an alcoholic but at one point I made the comment that he seemed really sad as if there was someone behind the camera teasing him with a bottle of whiskey to get him through a scene. There might have been some truth in that. I don't know.

Bitch, at one point, dressed to kill for a lingerie party, is raped by Sid Haig and ENJOYS IT!!! Just like in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN a few years later only it was much more effecting in YF. We did get a chuckle out of it, though. Despite its short 81 minute run time it was still 20 minutes too long. I was fearful that people might start throwing things at my TV. It's so rare I have to apologize for showing a movie. I want my dignity back...and my 81 minutes. See that image above of the two girls? Throughout the entire film all of us had the expression on the blonde.

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