Eight Legged Freaks (2002) – Film

“Eight Legged Freaks”

Movie #5 of the 2019 31-days of horror.

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When a sleepy driver swerves to avoid hitting a rabbit, a canister of toxic waste falls off his truck, ending up in a local pond. This pond is the collection source for an eccentric spider breeder, Joshua, where he finds small insects to feed his spiders. Suddenly, the spiders have begun to grow, and Joshua excitedly shares the news of his large spiders with young Mike Parker, who’s mom is the local sheriff. Soon, animals begin to disappear, and Mike can no longer reach Joshua. Meanwhile, local bad-boy, Chris McCormick, returns to town following his father’s recent death, to take over his family’s gold mine, just in time to become ensnared in the mysterious happenings in town.

This is a super fun, well thought out creature feature. The small, slowly fading town of Prosperity, where the events occur is isolated, so the community is tight-knit, everyone knowing everyone elses business and history. The characters are surprisingly well fleshed out and interesting (I especially love stronger female characters), keeping the audience genuinely interested in their well-being.

A running commentary by consperacy therorist radio jocky, Harlan Griffith (Doug E. Doug) and creative soundtrack set a dark yet whimsical tone. The cast, featuring Kari Wuhrer, the local sheriff; David Arquette, the local bad-boy; Scarlett Johansson, the sheriff’s teenaged daughter; Tom Noonan, the eccentric spider breeder; Leon Rippy, the crooked mayor, and more, are more than up to the task of making the story plausible (ish). The giant spider effects hold up fairly well, as do the action sequences. This film acknowledges some horror movie tropes (such as the jump scares, plenty of those) and defies others (such as the death by sex scene).

This film makes a body giggle and squirm at the same time. It is a must for fans of the creature feature.

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