Earth vs. the Spider - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Earth vs. the Spider Reviews

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½ February 28, 2016
A fine dose of 50's sci-fi cheese. Classic.
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2016
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2016
This low budget creature feature is filled with cheesy dialogues and whimsical numbers, everything a cheapie needed, though the melancholic characters really got on my nerves.
April 25, 2015
A failed attempt to cash in on success of Tarantula (1955), when it's still a good movie. Of course, it's low budget reduces your expectations. It's suspenseful and exciting. The spider is one of the best characters of the movie. And, the atmosphere, characters and the spider differs from Tarantula.
June 6, 2014
I grew up with these horror classics... spider, Ants, 50ft woman, The fly...I enjoyed them, so I shared them all with my kid's & grandkid's...
½ October 6, 2013
Crappy giant bug movie. Wish I would have watched the MST3K version. "Earth vs."? Huh? More like "Small Town of Idiots vs." Nothing like "Them!" or "Beginning of the End" where the threat actually spread. Just boring crap.
June 23, 2013
i think this movie is great and so is the amazing colossal man
½ August 7, 2012
Spider-Man would have fun in this movie. A giant spider wrecks havoc on a local town. Of course the acting is silly and so are the graphics, but this is indeed a cool guilty pleasure late 1950s hit.
½ March 21, 2012
The giant spider is decent but there are some laughable moments and uninteresting characters. It has a few good scenes, but nothing too great. It's understandable why this film was on MST3K.
February 4, 2012
Cheap B-Movie thrills with a town under siege from a superimposed tarantula. The spider makes a creepy wailing sound as it approaches and leaves behind it a trail of destruction and corpses sucked dry of fluid. Lots of fun.
½ September 11, 2011
Graphics are awful, very much a B-movie. Acting is awful, of course that's what they are probably going for, but I still think it's bad.
September 3, 2011
Not really Earth. More like this one town. It was an okay film for what it was, but the humans are all incredibly stupid (and very poorly acted.) MST3K did a good job of tearing this apart.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2011
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.
Keiko A. --Samurai--
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2011
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!)
July 2, 2011
Despite its lack of credibility, EARTH VS. THE SPIDER is an entertaining monstrous arachnidan horror movie which was produced not long after TARANTULA. This American International Pictures release takes place in a small, isolated town. Unlike most of the giant monster movies made in the 1950s, his Bert I. Gordon helmed hokum neither explains the origins of the gigantic spider nor does it call in the military to destroy it. Furthermore, the size of the giant spider is not blamed on a scientific experiment involving the use of atomic radiation. Instead, the county sheriff and a high school science teacher acquit themselves admirably in taking care of this eight-legged menace. Basically, all Gordon has done is use rear-screen projection and blown up footage of a real-life spider. Indeed, a scene occurs in the sheriff's office when a spider like the giant one is crawling across a desk and the sheriff knocks it on the floor and stomps on it. Altogether, Gordon plays this larger-than-life action in a straightforward fashion. Like his later outing WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, Gordon opens the film with a man, Jack Flynn (Merritt Stone of THE MAGIC SWORD), driving his pick-up truck home late one night when something mysterious gets in his way on the highway and then hits him. The following day, Jack's daughter Carol (June Kenney of TEENAGE DOLL) worries about the disappearance of her dad and persuades her boyfriend Mike Simpson (Eugene Persson of BLOODLUST!) to help her search for the old guy.

Eventually, they find the truck off the side of the road, but nobody is in it. Nearby is a cave with a warning sign posted to keep intruders from entering it. Our teenage hero and heroine enter the cave, prowl around, and then fall into a giant net that turns out to be a spider web. Not long afterward, they are attacked by a huge spider. Miraculously, they manage to escape, but skeptical Sheriff Cagle (Gene Roth of YOUNG DILLINGER) does not believe their story. Carol and Mike approach their high school science teacher, Professor Art Kingman (Ed Kemmer of CALYPSO JOE), and he convinces Cagle to investigate. They discover the giant spider and hose it down with DDT and kill it. At least, they believe that they have killed it. Professor Kingman persuades Cagle and his men to help him remove the giant spider from the cave and mount it in the high school gym. During a scene in the gym when everybody is snapping photos of the critter, Kingman explains that he exhausted his savings to bring the spider into the school. He hopes that the university will take the spider off his hands and reimburse him for his expenses. Later, our hero learns to their shock that the spider was only knocked out. It recovers, smashes its way out of the high school, goes on a rampage through the town, attack the home of Professor Kingman, and heads back to the cave. Interestingly, the spider awakens when a bunch of guys are practicing on their drums and guitars for an upcoming dance. Sheriff Cagle and company assemble a team to blast the entrance of the cave to seal the spider off. Little do they know, however, that Carol and Mike have gone back to explore the cave for the necklace that Jack had brought for his daughter before he died.

Altogether, EARTH VS. THE SPIDER is not a bad as it could have been. The spider is certainly a threat to the community and it seals off the community by knocking down long-distance telephone service so our heroes must fend for themselves against their adversary. They never get a call through to the National Guard or any kind of higher authority, even though a sheriff deputy takes a motorcycle and rides out of town. The spider waylays him and sucks the moisture out of his body. Professor Kingman, Cagle, and other open a hole in the top of the mountain and descend into the cave. Mike and Carol are trapped by the spider. Kingman has arranged for electric cables to be taken into the cave and they catch the giant spider between the cables and fry it. This 73-minute, black and white feature is good fun, with decent performances. This is better than most of its kind.
April 22, 2011
Típica peli de serie B de los cincuentas sobre monstruos, con una horda de jóvenes estúpidos, romances insulsos, policías que se quieren hacer los h (C)roes y unos deliciosos efectos especiales artesanales, donde la araña gigante pasa de tener el tamaño de un camión al de un edificio sin explicación.
½ March 3, 2011
i like the big spider that's soo cool the way he's soo big!!! cool spider!!
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2010
Another giant spider? You gotta watch those insects don't you? This movie is pretty cheesy, but it has some cool scenes.
October 27, 2010
If you play rock & roll music in the presence of the giant mutated spider that you just killed, the giant mutated spider will come back to life and make noises reminiscent of someone doing a bad Sylvester Stallone impression into a fan. No I'm not making it up - it's another Bert I. Gordon masterpiece!
September 2, 2010
Not a bad B-movie about a giant spider that comes out of its cave & reeks havoc on a small town. Actually a blatant rip off of Tarantula it still holds up fairly well on its own & should be mild fun for those of the nature gone amuck movies. I was actually hoping Gene Roth as Sheriff Cagle was going to get all his bodily fluids sucked out of him (take that as you may) by that giant spider because he pissed me off. I know most adults don't believe teenagers (especially w/ tales of giant arachnids) but you're the law for Christsakes. Do your fucking job! Really made on the cheap but that's half of its charm. They only made em like this in the 50s
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