Spider Baby (1968) - Rotten Tomatoes

Spider Baby1968

Spider Baby (1968)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Spider Baby Photos

Movie Info

Exploitation titan Jack Hill, who went on to make such cult favorites as Switchblade Sisters, The Swinging Cheerleaders, and Foxy Brown, made his solo directorial debut with this fascinating, offbeat shocker. The three surviving children of Titus W. Merrye, who represent the end of his family's line, live in a dilapidated mansion where patient servant Bruno (Lon Chaney, Jr.) watches over the increasingly eccentric Virginia (Jill Banner), Ralph (Sid Haig), and Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn). All three Merrye siblings suffer from the same rare disease that felled their father and the other members of his family -- "Merrye Syndrome," a neurological ailment that begins to manifest itself at the age of ten, causing the brain to slowly decay and sending its victims into an alternately violent and infantile state. Bald, inarticulate Ralph is supposed to be a vegetarian, but "can eat anything he can catch," while Virginia, who seems to be in a perpetual dream state, imagines herself as a human spider and catches people in her "web" (a large net) and then kills them. While it might seem best to let nature to take its course and allow the family's sad legacy to die out, the Merrye siblings have two distant cousins, Emily Howe (Carol Ohmart) and Peter Howe (Quinn K. Redeker), who are interested in laying claim to the family mansion and any money remaining in the Merrye Estate. But not long after they pay a visit to Bruno, they start to have serious regrets about their decision to see the family. Shot in 1964, Spider Baby sat on the shelf until 1968, when it was briefly released as the second half of a horror double-bill on the drive-in circuit. But after it appeared on home video in the early '80s and was the subject of an enthusiastic essay in the book RE/Search: Incredibly Strange Films , the film began to develop a potent cult following and is now regarded as a minor classic of '60s horror. The film has also appeared under the misleading titles Cannibal Orgy and The Liver Eaters, as well as Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told.

Watch it now


Carol Ohmart
as Emily Howe
Mantan Moreland
as Messenger
Karl Schanzer
as Schlocker
Quinn K. Redeker
as Peter Howe
Sid Haig
as Ralph
Jill Banner
as Virginia
View All

Critic Reviews for Spider Baby

All Critics (12)

... one of the greatest blasts of creative B-movie inspiration to hit American drive-ins and grindhouses.

August 25, 2017 | Full Review…

This hilarious haunted house schlocker opens the doors on America's demented, diseased history of horror, before burying it beneath the foundations of the genre's next golden age.

June 24, 2017 | Full Review…

Jack Hill's uncategorisable cult nasty is part Old Dark House/Addams Family black comedy, part Texas Chainsaw Massacre, before the whole thing winds up somewhere in Eraserhead territory.

October 17, 2016 | Full Review…

Mere words cannot properly convey the uniqueness of this film, which should be sought out and seen by all with an interest in the genre.

October 17, 2016 | Full Review…

Though hampered by bad distribution deals and multiple title changes, word of mouth helped Spider Baby to connect with fans of schlock cinema.

September 29, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Two-Legged Freaks!

September 28, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Spider Baby


Some straights go out on Route 66 and visit the Addams Family, thinking that the whole "other" (as in "if you're straight, then we are the other") thing is only an act. Guess what? It isn't. Lon Chaney, for a change, plays the normal one, but normal by how much is the question. (Not much is the answer). Get your kicks out on Route 66.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


this is in the public domain so there's no excuse not to watch it!! totally the inspiration for 'texas chainsaw massacre' and other hillbilly horrors. yes it's very low budget and the acting and effects are pretty weak but there's a bizarre black comedy atmosphere about the film that really sucks u in. go watch it right now. happy halloween!!

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A pretty bizarre B-Movie. Black & White we open up with a little 1960'ties Black Comedy. The postman goes to what is rumored to be a haunted mansion, After the initial opening it turns real has into B- Suspense/ Horror. As the post man sticks his head in the window to see what that noise was, he is slashed by the young daughter of Lon Chaney Jr. A young couple come to adopt the two girls and the fun begins. This is just a B-Movie Cult Classic, though I often wonder what a film has to do to become a cult Classic. I can only squeeze out a 2 star rating on this one.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Spider Baby Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features