Earth vs. the Spider (1958)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A small Midwestern town comes under siege from a giant, blood-thirsty tarantula in this rock-n-roll horror opus from Bert I. Gordon also known as Spider.
Classics , Horror , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
American International Pictures


Ed Kemmer
as Professor Art Kingman
June Kenney
as Carol Flynn
Gene Persson
as Mike Simpson
Gene Roth
as Sheriff Cagle
Hal Torey
as Mr. Simpson
June Jocelyn
as Mrs. Flynn
Mickey Finn
as Mr. Haskel
Sally Fraser
as Helen Kingman
Bill Giorgio
as Sheriff Sanders
Jack Kosslyn
as Mr. Fraser
Bob Garnet
as Pest Control Man
Shirley Falls
as Switchboard Operator
Nancy Kilgas
as Dancer
George Stanley Jr.
as Man in Cavern
David Tomack
as Line Foreman
Merritt Stone
as Mr. Flynn
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Earth vs. the Spider

All Critics (3) of the many gigantic creature movies of the 1950s...

Full Review… | August 1, 2015

One of those so-bad-it's-good '50s horror/sci-fi "classics."

November 3, 2007

Typically hokey Gordon fun!

February 18, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Earth vs. the Spider


Also known as 'The Spider' mainly due to the success of 'The Fly' which prompted the powers that be to try and leech of that movies success with a similar title. And also known as 'Earth vs. the Giant Spider' which kinda seems more appropriate really. Anyway I think its safe to say you've guessed what this sci-fi horror is all about. This is pretty much a meat and potatoes giant bug flick from the 50's, one of many that was churned out during that decade to the point of near saturation. As you know I've reviewed many of them already, but this is easily one of the poorer efforts I'm afraid. I mean seriously, straight off the bat, its not the Earth vs the spider, its small town America vs the spider, as usual. The plot is obvious and as simple as ABC. A giant spider (Mexican redleg tarantula apparently) is living in some deep caves not too far from some stereotypical small country bumpkin town in the middle of nowhere USA. Every now and then it seemingly pops up for dinner and chows down on local residents. Obviously its now been noticed and the locals are trying to work out what the heck is going on. Luckily some good all American youngsters accidentally discover the giant arachnid whilst looking for the father of one of them, mystery solved! It was just a huge, oversized, man-eating, tarantula all along...phew! (at least it wasn't those darn Ruskies). So naturally once everyone has been convinced of the giant beast they all decide to try and kill it with DDT, and it seems to work. So they haul it back into town for local scientists to examine, deciding that the local high school gym being the best place for it...because of course it is. Bet you can't work out what happens next eh? yes that's right, it wasn't dead after all! oh my! oh golly! and now its running amok through this American as apple pie town (after half destroying the school gym of course). So its back to the drawing board...but wait! the silly thing just crawls off back to its cave, now the townsfolk can seal it in, hazaar! But wait! those stupid all American youngsters were apparently in the cave when the townsfolk sealed the cave opening, bugger! Aaand somehow it goes on. You can see early on this isn't gonna be one of the better giant bug B-movies, the acting from most (if not all) of the cast is pretty dire frankly, especially the two youngsters who keep going into that bloody cave. Its once they are within the cave you notice how shit this is gonna get, its when they find the giant cobweb, when I say cobweb, I mean rope net. Yes all the cobwebs are merely rope net seemingly painted white or whatever. The next big clue is when the giant spider turns up, its not exactly much of a surprise though because the thing makes a howling noise apparently. Yes that's right, in this movie the spider literately screams or howls like a banshee, in similar vein to the shark roaring in 'Jaws: The Revenge'. The giant spider is of course created in the same way most giant creatures were back then, real footage of a real tarantula against the live action footage using rear projection. The difference here is the tarantula isn't really made to walk in any specific way to incorporate its eventual surroundings in the film (like climbing over things or getting past something). It merely walks around as normal looking very awkward against the live action footage, they don't try to utilise any models or anything to help sell the illusion. The only thing we do see is the spider getting up off its back when it comes to in the school gym. There is a slight amount of puppet work for the tarantula in spots, when we see it dangling down on a thread of webbing trying to catch the youngsters, that is a full puppet spider. And inside the school gym there is a nice large puppet spider leg for close-ups against the actors which looks suitably hilarious. The one thing that makes me giggle is the fact every one of these giant spider films uses tarantulas, and they aren't that scary looking with all the hair. Of course I know why, its because they are trainable, but it would of been awesome to see a really nasty looking spider getting used, a big fat house spider say. Footage inside the caves is clearly set work accompanied by more rear projection footage of real caves which does look quite awful. Some of the sets and props are relatively effective so I guess they just couldn't afford to expand further with that, relying on cheap stock footage. I don't know why but I did like the brief nod to other 50's sci-fi B-movie 'The Amazing Colossal Man'. The poster being seen clear as day outside the local cinema before the spider attacks. While at the same time the marquee advertises 'Attack of the Puppet People' for all to see. Dunno why but I just kinda liked seeing that. I did also like the musical score to this movie, I believe they used a theremin? I'm not overly sure but it sounded like it. The infamous instrument best known accompanying the most classic sci-fi B-movies. There isn't really too much to say with this, nothing that hasn't been said before with other better movies. Its clearly a rip-off of the much better 'Tarantula' and categorically fails in every way to try and equal it. The effects are bad, the plot is super weak, cast are unknown (to me), and things don't make any sense. Like why would those dumb youngsters go back into the spiders cave just to look for a piece of jewellery?! what's more important, jewellery or your life? Then there are the usual little things like, could a large tarantula actually knock down an interior brick wall? When they blow up the cave entrance they decide to dig back into via the top of the cave...but wouldn't that be incredible hard and take fudging forever! They manage it within like...10 minutes. Lastly of course there are the real humdinger questions, where exactly did this giant spider come from? how did it get so large? and are there more of them?? The movie doesn't actually acknowledge these rather important conundrums. Its not 100% pure schlock, but its getting close to it, there are better offerings out there.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

This film is part of the Samuel Z Arkoff Cult Classic Collection. Not a bad film, I'm sure a good Drive In Crowd draw during 1959. About a small town with a pretty dumb sheriff who is invaded by a Giant Spider. It takes a Science teacher and a small town road crew to do away with this beast. Comical in some parts, It amazes me that this type of film capture my attention as a kid as I would sneak up at night to see chiller theater. One scene during movie was a movie theater shot where posters for puppet people and War of Colossal Beast was shown. All in all as far as science fiction Black & white Movies are concern its worth 4 stars.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


I really enjoy these crappy monster flicks with horrible acting and storys. But HANG ON! The effects aren't too bad flawed YEAH but still anything more awesome then Wood ever pulled off. Poor acting no doubt made because of the Godzilla craze (MONSTER MOVIES!)

Keiko  Aya
Keiko Aya

Super Reviewer

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