Saturday afternoon creature feature? Sure!


Back when I was a kid, the local stations would have the creature features with the horror host on Friday and Saturday night, but they’d also show them on Saturday afternoons for the kids. It’s Saturday Afternoon. Are you ready for The Giant Spider Invasion? It stars, sorta, Alan Hale Jr. as the sheriff — he’s better known as the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island.

The first lines of dialog:

Young man: “Sheriff!”
Alan Hale Jr: “Hi, little buddy!”

Because of course they are.

Other notable facts: it takes place in northern Wisconsin, but none of the residents seem at all perturbed at finding tarantulas all over the place. Just the usual house spiders, I guess.

The big bad monster is cheesy and fake, but by the standards of low budget horror/skiffy of the day, it’s actually not too bad. They do a good job of framing it with the camera so you can’t see the puppeteers wiggling the legs and moving it along. I want one.

Also by the standards of the genre, they did an OK job imitating the chelicerae of a mygalomorph.

The story ends with an abrupt deus ex machina, but it’s really an excuse to show buckets of multi-colored goo and slime oozing out to an excessive degree from the dead spider puppet. Young me would have appreciated it.

Comments

  1. Hatchetfish says

    The MST3K episode is worthwhile too. (I missed the original run of these by a decade or three, so my fond Saturday recollections of them include Joel or Mike, and the bots.)

  2. Michael says

    Ha, that brings back a few memories…

    I asked my dad to take me to see that movie, in an attempt to help overcome my arachnophobia (I wasn’t scared of spiders when I was a kid, and used to dispose of them for my mum, but learned the fear from her, and became petrified of them.). The blender scene stuck out in my mind, along with the wife and husband’s demise. Unfortunately it didn’t help much with the arachnophobia.

    However I was able to touch the shedding of a tarantula in grade 12, and later touch one and have it sit on my jacket in university.

    Since then, the most effective method to reduce my arachnophobia was educating my kids. While teaching them a healthy respect for bees and wasps, I also tried to avoid them developing a fear of creepy crawlies, so exposed them to all sorts of arthropods. So now, while they are still not my favourite creature, I can look at them without shuddering, and even see what other people would find attractive in them (particularly peacock jumping spiders).

  3. robro says

    “Hi, little buddy.” Totally true to type. His signature line which they had to include.

    Perhaps the other Hale in the film deserves a mention. Almost worth seeing the flick just to watch Barbara Hale doing something other than Della Street.

  4. says

    My favorite Saturday/Sunday afternoon specials when I was a kid were the movie/pilots for perspective new Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows. They always came after Xena and Hercules. This was when Star Trek TNG was really hitting it’s stride and everyone wanted to be the next TNG. Specifically, I remember a series of films and a very short lived series called “TekWar” based on a series of novels “written” by William Shatner. There was another one that was a sort of Flash Gordan reboot without using the name. I loved them all, but I doubt any of them held up over time.

  5. Mark says

    A good, spider movie is the Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957. It scared me as a kid and it’s not cheesy. The ending is existential.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    If you like cheesy, gory stuff, check out “Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews” on Youtube. He watches movies so you don’t have to.
    He has also reviewed a ton of Godzilla movies and Godzilla ripoffs. Tons of rubber monsters, HP Lovecraft ripoffs etc. Turkish Superman was….particularly weird.

  7. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin is very annoyed. (Well, nothing unusual there.) Her proposal for a Horrible / Hilarious / Hip / Hogshite / Lot$a-Dollar$ Creature series was ignored. By everyone she says she sent it to, even if they were previously dead or imaginary. Her idea was simple: A mild-mannered squid in a farming area “accidentally”, as part of their studies, produces a invisible spider which spreads around the world rapidly, and is noted for eating politician’s and false-prophet’s brains.

    A few bravefoolhardy individuals did review it and provide feedback. One said The idea the President would engage in conspiracy theories while the world is struggling to contain an obvious threat is so unbelievable even the propagandists would laugh, and the other reviewer, when found, was in a zillion pieces.

    Her title was Dr Morris’s Marauding Monsters, through the diced reviewer is known to have called it Pathetic Zoological Messy Poop.

  8. antaresrichard says

    Others will recognize television personality Barbara Hale, Perry Mason’s long-time, legal secretary, Della Street, and character actor Robert Easton (Kester) who was also an accomplished dialect coach of some repute.

    ;-)

  9. says

    Filmed in Gleason, not far from the bustling metropolis of Merrill, WI! I guess they found the spider props sitting in the forest outside of town a few years back.

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