Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Editorial : The Arachnophobic Five

Screaming like a big girl is something I am shamefully familiar with....

Ever since I was a very small kid, Ive had one longstanding, unending and totally uncontrollable fear- the fear of spiders.

Everything about these abominations repulses me to my very core. The cold cluster of eyes, the sharp fangs, the bristling hair. The way they move. The way they feed. I just plain fucking hate them.

Even the word, 'Spider', itself holds all sorts of evil connotations in my mind. It sounds wrong, nefarious, predatory, barbed and brutal to my ears. Yep, these horrible bastards were, are, and most likely always will be the fuel for my nightmares.

I think of myself as a pretty zen guy. I never kill any bugs, I let em go about their weird-ass business as they see fit. Hell, I even help em out when I can, (just the other day I gave a massive slug a ride to the nearest safe foliage). But Spiders? When it comes to these godless horrors, I would kill and kill and kill, till the whole damn species was wiped out. Only problem with my genocidal plans for the little fuckers is that I'm too damn terrified to get within ten feet of them. They had just better hope I don't grow a pair of balls sometime in the future. Hell mend em if I do!

Anyway, I was thinking over some films that truly scared the bejeesus outta me the other day, and found myself running over a common theme. So, heres my top five Arachno-Horrors. Feel free to avoid them like the plague if you suffer from the same weakness as myself. Nobody will blame you....

By 1955  the big-bug movies were in full swing, and TARANTULA was one of the more successful entries into the sub-genre. It incorporated a real spider into the footage, and is notable for featuring a very young Clint Eastwood, (playing a scientist, if I remember correctly). I have a soft spot for giant bug flicks, (THEM! being a firm favourite from the time period), but this is one I just cant handle. Ive seen certain scenes from it, and once almost watched a full ten minutes, but no dice.

THE FLY stars one of my all-time heroes and a legend in the Horror world, Mr Vincent Price. His role is small, but he shines as always. Its easy to see why he took the part as the film is a subtly disturbing Horror masterpiece that relies more on heart and soul than on the cheesy effects that were the norm for the time. It makes this list because of that finale. If you haven't seen it, I say check it out, its a brilliant film, but the final moments are so horrifying, (even with such cheap effects), that they'll stick with any arachnophobe long after viewing. I often fall asleep listening to Vincent Price movies, as his voice comforts and lulls me, but with THE FLY, I never play it late at night. I have a terrible fear I'll doze off and wake up just as that huge fucking spider is looming from the screen, and die of a heart attack there and then.

What happens when Captain Kirk comes face to face with a horde of Tarantula's that are overrunning a town? I don't know, because I've blocked most of it out of my memory. I only rediscovered KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS recently, and even my well developed 'man-crush' on Willian Shatner couldn't get my eyeballs anywhere near this nightmare. I watched it in my youth, and have no fond memories, at all. No Shatner. No cool one liners. Just lots and lots of spiders. Next...

Based on the brilliant novel by Richard Matheson, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN is an absolutely fantastic film. Intelligent, thought provoking and well directed. Just look at the poster. It promises a thrilling, Sci-fi adventure that will take your breathe away. The only problem is that the film is, in many ways, an extended game of cat and mouse, (or spider and fly), between our constantly shrinking hero and the house spider which wants to make a meal of him. And its a damned Horror movie if ever I saw one. There are some truly terrifying scenes here that have forced me to respect the film from afar.....very afar!

ARACHNOPHOBIA is my idea of hell. I was dumb enough to go see it on the big screen when it was released, as I wanted to test myself, and my Dr, (fuckhead that he is), recommended 'flooding' techniques to overcome my crippling phobia. Did it work? Did it fuck! This film sent me home a wreck of a boy. I proceeded to strip my room from top to bottom, checking for any sign of my arachnid pals. I then had two sleepless nights and for the next five or six years I had to check every corner and every dark space in any room I slept in. Fuck this movie! I'll never watch it again as long as I live. It's like a laser guided missile of terror, directed straight at the core of my deepest, darkest fears. A huge, monstrous Venezuelan spider that jumps, attacks relentlessly and can kill with one bite!? Hundreds of smaller variants, all hiding inside people's slippers, showers and lampshades ready to kill!? Its just awful. I want nothing to do with this movie, and I want my fucking money back. Its also just occurred to me to punch my Doctor in the mouth next time I see him.

And an honorary mention goes to.....

EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS is a fun throwback to the giant mutated bug films of the 50's. Its a real treat for those of us who love those old classics, and it gets a whole lot right. The desert setting, the kid in town who knows the truth but no-one will listen to, and of course, a whole army of huge-ass spiders of all kinds munching and destroying everything in sight. It doesn't make the main list, as its the only film on this list I can happily sit and watch from beginning to end, as the entirely CG spiders, while looking really good, have a 'cartoonish' vibe and some human qualities to them, that reduce the fear factor considerably. I see em more like 'Gremlins', than the silent, stealthy killers of my nightmares. Its a fun film, fast paced and witty to boot. I recommend this one to all. If a pussy like me can handle it, so can you....

So there you have it, a quick rundown of some creepy crawly classics that I'd sooner eat a bag of dicks than watch, (last one notwithstanding). I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I didn't enjoy writing it. It brought back some nasty memories, and every time I looked for images for the article, I was faced with pictures of eight legged horrors too terrible to recount. The things I do for you guys.....


  1. Spiders....Great article,you have some major horror info stored in your brain,that rivals wikipedia.

  2. Hahaha...its about all I got stored in there! Thanks :D