Who’s in this?
Claude Akins as Bert Springer. Akins had a great, gruff voice and a long career mostly as a character actor. He was in a number of westerns and fans of 70’s TV may remember him as the co-star of Movin’ on and as Sheriff Lobo on BJ and the bear. I remember him most from the classic Twilight Zone episode the Monsters are due on Maple street.
Pat Hingle as Doc Hodgins. Another veteran of many westerns. You may also know him as Commissioner Gordon from several Batman movies.
Howard Hesseman as Fred one of the pilots who crashes early on. This was shortly before Hesseman would become Dr. Johnnie Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati. He also later starred in Head of the class.
Matthew Laborteaux as Matthew (a real stretch). Another familiar face as you may know him as Albert from Little house on the prairie.
What’s this about and back story? This made for TV movie must have been shown numerous times in the late 1970’s or else it was just and it left an impression on me. At the time I thought it was horrifying and I’m fairly sure that I didn’t see after like 1980. That is until I bought a used copy of it like four years ago just in time for Halloween. So these guys are taking off in this plane from Guatemala and they are hauling coffee beans, unauthorized passengers and tarantulas. The pilots don’t know about that last one. One of the illegal guys gets bit in mid-flight and starts suffering ohhhh. Pretty soon the plane crashes near a small town in California and the plane begins spilling fuel. The townspeople stumble and bumble their way through trying to contain the fuel spill. The tarantulas make their way out of the plane and towards town. So they cause havoc, people die and people scream. There are little stops in the film every 12-15 minutes, oh wait that’s where the commercials went when it first on television. Anyways eventually all the important townspeople make their way to the orange processing plant to fight the eight legged terrors. They set up all these speakers and play Tom Jones albums to to paralyze the spiders. That’s not right. They play the recordings of bees at high volumes and is paralyzes them. Wait, that makes less sense than the Tom Jones idea. The spiders lay there like they are fake, oh wait I think they are. The people pick them up and put them in jars because pickled tarantula that’s good eating mmmm boy. Oh wait they are not for eating. There is a glitch with the electricity and the spiders may awaken and beat the humans, but alas the power comes back on and the spiders go sleepy time again. Anyways roll the credits.
The negatives-It’s not the fear factory I remembered it to be. It’s actually kind of slow and not scary at all.
The positives-The film does have a decent cast and a nice setting. It’s an okay film, but not even the best spider film of it’s year as the William Shatner vehicle Kingdom of the spiders is far superior.