Spider Baby

1968

Spider Baby

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,675
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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.

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Critic Reviews for Spider Baby

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for Spider Baby

  • Aug 16, 2018
    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. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2015
    Simply one of the best black comedies ever. Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told is a cult classic about a regressive inherited syndrome that transform the patients gradually backwards evolutionarily and eventually to become cannibalistic savages. Merrye family happened to be carriers of this disease. the last remaining siblings lived in a mansion being supervised by their loyal caretaker, when their cousins arrived to claim their inheritance, all hell breaks loose. I love the bizarreness in this B-movie, the plot was simply shockingly good (pun intended), I loved the campiness and the tongue in cheek humour. The underlying themes were so dark and taboo, but they were handled in such way that left you amused. Jack Hill was a genius.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 19, 2010
    Parody comedy is really something that is hard to pull off, I am really critical of it and I actually hate it more than any other comedy. Directors like Rob Zombie makes a lot of these parody horror movies, that have a real certain flair to them. His movies are more of an homage, yet they have this certain dark comedy to them. This movie is just like any Rob Zombie horror movie. I can see everything in this movie that he uses in most of his movies. Or maybe its just the fact that Sid Haig is in the movie, that could be it. To touch on what I said above, this movie really feels like a really watered down version of either House of 1000 corpses or The Devil's Rejects. The movie has to do with a crazy family, including Lon Chaney Jr. The family has some disease that is named after them, the disease makes you turn into some sort of crazy beast in a devolution style thingie. The disease makes them kill and mame people, it makes the eldest girl hate everything and the middle child kill everyone. Was that convoluted enough for you? The movie has a really amazing cast, it stars Lon Chaney Jr. and Sid Haig. They have some of the best roles. Sid Haig plays a "big kid" who is extremely creepy and scary. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the caretaker to the children with this disease. He plays the scariest character, just because he knows what the children do, but he does nothing. Yet when you see him in the movie you feel safer, I don't know exactly how he does this or how he pulls it off. The movie also was made in the 60's at a time when movies like this had to be very buttoned down. The film dealt with murders and even incest, but it does it with a Bewitched sitcom type comedy to it. The music is very apparent in that, you notice it when the movie begins. All of the murders and gore are left off camera, and you see nothing that would make any censor blush. That I believe makes the movie that much creepier. All of the killings are done from a really weird victim-type perspective. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone that is a fan of Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, or even Toby Hooper. I throughly enjoyed watching the movie and couldn't of been more happy, this movie would prosper from a reboot. I am going to give this movie a 7 of 10. You will really enjoy this, if you haven't seen it before. For the record I hate Spiders S!D Filmed in Chatsworth, CA (My Home) The movie had a working title of Cannibal Orgy Shot in 7 days
    Brandon S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2009
    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 B Super Reviewer

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