Before you complain about Arachnophobia not being a horror movie, email Dylan and ask him why he’ll never watch this movie. That’s good enough for me.
But that’s not how I wanna start this review. I’m gonna start with a personal story. When I was in the 6th grade, all the teachers in my school went on strike. The principal, not knowing what to do with the kids, just shoved them into classrooms and had us watch movies all day. One of the movies I remember watching was Arachnophobia. To those keeping score, this was the same school that showed a bunch of 4th graders Halloween.
I miss that school.
The film starts off in some country in South America and Dr. Julian Sands is looking for the rarest spider on the face of the planet. He calls for a photographer named Manley (played by our first “Hey it’s that guy!” Mark L. Taylor) to come with to take pictures of this spider. Manley and the doctor, along with some natives, all climb down some giant hole and find a tree full of spiders the size of my head. Manley freaks out, but takes some photos. A spider sneaks into Manley’s backpack, and they all go back to camp.
At camp, Manley goes to lay down when the spider makes its appearance, biting him. Manley immediately dies. The doctor puts Manley in the cheapest coffin I’ve seen since my great-uncle’s funeral, and ships him back home. Unfortunately, the spider fell in love with Manley and decides to hitch a ride back to the good ol’ USA! WOO!!
Back in the USA, we now meet Dr. Jeff Daniels and his wife, who I swear to GOD thought was Helen Hunt until I went to IMDb and saw it wasn’t her. Anyway, Jeff Daniels and Not Helen Hut use to live in San Francisco until they heard this small town doctor is going to retire and is gonna give his practice to Jeff Daniels.
But when Jeff Daniels arrives, he finds out the doctor changes his mind and tells him to fuck off. To make matters worse, he has arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and refuses to touch a small common house spider. Wow, what a perfect character to have in this movie! Because the huge spider of South America just now showed up, finds its way to Jeff Daniels’ barn, fucks the common house spider, and soon start popping out small vicious babies.
If Dylan is reading this, he’s probably curled up in a ball right now.
The rest of the movie is pretty much the spiders killing people in this town. There’s a pretty humorous portion of the movie where the townspeople think Jeff Daniels is killing the people because he was the last one to see them alive. Then the old town doctor keels over and shows signs of being bitten by a spider.
I can’t talk about this movie without mentioning John Goodman’s character Delbert, a overzealous exterminator who thinks he knows a lot about bugs cause he makes his living killing them. To flesh out the “hey it’s that person” list, you got Stuart Pankin as the Sheriff, the weird old lady from “Twin Peaks” as the old doctor’s wife, and Henry Jones as the old doctor.
Eventually, they discover it’s cause of the spider from South American, call in Dr. Julian Sands to come take care of this problem, and Jeff Daniels must overcome his problem to fight the deadly spiders that live in his barn.
Ok I do have to mention one thing I didn’t like and it’s at the end. It’s not really a spoiler per se, depends on your definition of a spoiler. But Jeff Daniels is doing battle with the giant spider. The spider has been successful in hiding from him, and it gets to a point where Jeff Daniels is knocked down on the floor. The spider decides to take this opportunity, heads for him, crawls up his leg, and then his body. I was just thinking “All the other people you just simply bit and killed them, why are you wasting time by crawling all on him?” This of course sets it up so Jeff Daniels can torch the son of a bitch, but still. Didn’t make sense.
This movie is still pretty fuckin’ creepy, especially if you do have a fear of spiders. I can handle small spiders, but huge giant spiders like they have in Australia or the Middle East, I’d have to say “fuck that shit” and go live on the Moon or something. So seeing these spiders attack people like a serial killer creeped me the fuck out. It’s a good rainy day movie, if there’s nothing else on, give this a shot. There is a 3-second boob shot, so you can’t go wrong with that.