Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) – Film

“Kingdom of the Spiders”

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31 Days of Horror Challenge: Movie #27

Weeks before the Verde Valley county fair, veterinarian Rack Hansen is called to look into the mysterious death of the Colby’s prize bull.  Afraid that the farm might need to be quarantined, Rack contacts a nearby university that sends and expert, Diane Ashley, to help investigate, when the cause of the bull’s death is discovered to be spider venom.  Soon, the surrounding area is overrun with spiders.  

This creature feature is exactly what one would expect from a film starring William Shatner, as our hero, Rack Hansen, and his signature style.   It combines elements of different genres (mystery, western, horror, and sci fi), presumably to appeal to a larger audience, but regardless of this amalgamation, once the story is in full swing, the audience is swept up in the action.

This is actually a straight forward, solid film, that has a heavy slant on environmentalism.  The acting is surprisingly good for the most part, featuring not only the Captain himself, but 70’s b-movie bombshell, Tiffany Bolling (who was allegedly cast largely due to her lack of fear of spiders) as Diane Ashley; Ford “family” favorite, Woody Strode, as Walter Colby; and Altovise Davis, wife of Sammy Jr., as Birch Colby.  Simple make-up effects, dramatic music, and creative camera angles keep the tension and fear factor at a nice level.

It is a nice, refreshing, and very effective change that the film maker decided to use regular spiders rather than giant sized or mutated creatures.  I found the final scene creepy and memorable.  If you’re a fan of b-grades and/or creature features, I strongly recommend this.

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