Who’s in this?
William Shatner as Doctor Robert “Rack” Hansen. Rack is a veterinarian living in a small Arizona town who soon runs upon a series of animals getting bit by spiders. He is a ladies man of some sort and everyone finds him highly amusing. He also watches over his deceased brother’s wife and daughter. You may know this guy from Boston Public, TJ Hooker, a pair of classic Twilight Zone episodes and that space show where he was a Captain or something.
Tiffany Bolling is Diane Ashley from the city and comes to investigate what’s going on in this little town when Rack sends in specimens that intrigue her. She starts out in full snoot mode but then falls for Rack’s charm. Bolling was fairly active between the late 60’s and early 80’s doing a few films and a lot of TV.
Woody Strode as rancher Walter Colby whose cows start getting bit by spiders. Strode was a successful college athelete who made the transition to solid character actor. He was in Spartacus, The man who shot Liberty Valance and many other films. I remember most as one of the three hired guns waiting for Charles Bronson to arrive on the train in the masterful beginning scene of Once upon a time in the west.
Lieux Dressler as Emma Washburn owner of cabins outside of town. Eventually the surviving characters will head to her cabins to try and flee the spiders. She was in various tv shows in the 70’s.
David McLean as Sheriff Gene Smith. Well duh the Sheriff of this here town. A no nonsense kind of guy who tries his best in the tough situation he is given. He was in a number of western shows in the 60’s but is probably best known as the Marlboro man in commercials and ads in the 60’s Later after developing cancer he became anti-smoking.
What’s this about? In Verde Valley, Arizona all is calm until Colby’s calf gets bit yeowwww. The vet Rack (there is a story to the name and he tells it and not it’s not that great) comes and has a look see. The calf dies and Rack is unsure, but he sends the tests to the city people to have it analyzed. Meanwhile the town is preparing for a big festival thingie. Dianne Ashley shows up as she had been called in after receiving Rack’s sample. She says it’s a powerful spider venom and she has come to investigate. Spin me another tale, lady..get it spin…spider bite…wahahaha well it could have been funny. Anyways Rack is doubtful about her findings. He hits on here somewhere around this time (it’s the Shat you know). In betweeen her warming up to Rack is more trouble for Colby and his dog and bull die from spider bites as well and eventually Colby himself bites it. This just wasn’t his movie. So Rack is becoming convinced that this spider stuff may be true. Of course seeing hills of them everywhere begins to sway his as well. Diane spouts off her theories about man using DDT and stuff has wiped out the spiders food and turned them mean so now they go after livestock … and other food. You know like the kind of stuff Soylent Green was made out of. Damn I just gave spoilers for two movies. This talking foolishness and flirty hooey has gone on too long it’s time for the evil furry beasts of this film (no, not Shatner’s hair piece but rather the spiders) to get some action going. The spiders get vicious and start going towards Emma’s cabins. We find that several people are dead already and have been stored to be meals for the spiders, I wonder if they have expiration dates. Anyways Rack, Diane, the sheriff, Emma and a few other others are trapped in the cabins trying to fight off tons of the hairy little beastoids. Yeah, now believe it was spiders. The Sheriff tries to get to town for help. Bad move, slick it’s a festival of madness over there with spiders winning the ball game over the humans. The sheriff gets crushed by a water tower because some doofus can’t drive worth a lick while getting bit by spiders. Meanwhile back at the cabins Rack is getting bit but he eventually pulls through. Despite all the deaths, horror and mayhem it is a new day. The sun is shining sort of and Rack looks out to see that indeed…well holy shit what do you know the whole friggin’ town is wrapped in a cacoon and that cornball country music starts on so roll the credits and chalk one up for the spiders.
The negatives-The whole sister in law side story doesn’t add much to the film. The movie is a bit slow at first and if you don’t love Shatner (how could you not) but if you don’t you may find the early parts slightly tedious.
The postives-This is a B film that benefits greatly from Shatner -ham or not. If it were someone else this film may have been forgotten. Shatner is what he always is over the top. Woody Strode does fantastic with a small role. He seems like a rancher whoise livelihood is tied up in these animals that are dying from strnage bites. The desert locations are spectacular at times and the camera work is better than avergae. The great ending makes a decent film even better.