The truth about spiders

The director of Infested, Sébastien Vaniček, tells the inside story of making a horror movie about spiders.

And, yes, they really did use 200 spiders on the set—but not all at once. “They are able to shoot for 10 seconds, and then after that they are tired, and you can’t have anything from them,” Vaniček explained. “You have to understand them, and understand that they are really fragile creatures. They are always afraid and they want to hide. When they are on the floor, they will run and they will seek a place in the shadow. They are able to run for about 10 seconds, and after just 10 seconds they are completely tired. You can put them on the wall and let them stay, and I can film them because I know they won’t move.”

Truth. Most spiders are laid back and placid — their whole lifestyle is about being still and quiet, and suddenly darting forward opportunistically. That might be part of the reason they scare some people, that they are capable of suddenly darting at prey, even if most of their life is spent at rest.


  1. says

    I must say I find them biologically implausible. It’s impossible to keep up with the cobwebs in my house, but I seldom see the creatures that make them and as far as I can tell they never catch anything. What are they eating? Where do they get water? They just stretch random strings around the place, which get vacuumed up as soon as I notice them. I never see any egg masses, or rather I have once or twice but they wound up in the vacuum. But they are impossible to get rid of.

  2. magistramarla says

    Sounds like the lives of my cats – sleeping most of the day in the most comfortable spots they can find, then getting “the zoomies” when it’s feeding time. After they have devoured the food and played for a bit, it’s back to sleep for them!

  3. robro says

    PZ, perhaps you could be a consultant on a spider movie. Hollywood pays well, and you may not even have to go there given remote conferencing.

  4. belvederespudge says

    While it warms my heart to know that someone directing a horror movie about spiders actually sought to understand something about, I’m still giving it a miss. My eventual acceptance of our arachnid overseers was very hard won and it wouldn’t take much to taint it. Arachnophobia (the film) set me back years.

  5. Callinectes says

    @1 Cervantes They come in from outside through doors, windows, and various cracks, usually by accident. They are safe from predators but prey is rarer. Unless you have a bug problem they won’t last. Though many places have bug problems that go unnoticed due to the spiders.

    Somewhere, in places behind places that you rarely get to clean or dust, there will be a line of shed exoskeletons getting progressively larger. I’ve found them occasionally. They do most of their living out of sight.

  6. says

    Callinectes, so far they’ve lasted for 13 years since I built the house. And I don’t have a bug problem, as I say, they never catch anything as far as I can tell. They’re survival is a mystery.

  7. sincarne says

    I’m not as big a spider guy as PZ, and had an experience with spiders that kind of creeped me out, but I think they’re pretty fascinating. Something that’s always amazed me is that it seems like being a spider is expensive. Making webs, wrapping prey, sudden explosive motion…it must be a constant calculation to see if the expenditure is worth it, on par with something like a Venus fly trap.

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