Spider Baby - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spider Baby Reviews

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½ March 2, 2017
Just gave this one another look last night to break in the Blu-ray, still really digging this film.

A strange hillbilly horror film that moves along at a nice measured pace, slowly revealing the oddball nature of the Merrye family and why they live in such remote seclusion.

Well worth a look.
January 14, 2017
The Merrye family live with a genetic curse. As the family members get older, they mentally regress to a younger age, passing back through childhood until they finally hit an animalistic, cannibalistic state. Family chauffeur Bruno (Lon Chaney, Jr.) looks after the last three children of the family, sisters Elizabeth and Virginia and infantile older brother Ralph (Sid Haig). When distant relatives arrive with a lawyer, Bruno tries to stave off their attempts to take over the house and all the wealth of the remaining Merrye clan, as well as protect them from the kids' deadly games ... and an uncle and aunt who live hid away in the cellar. This wickedly black comedy from Jack Hill has easily the best performance Chaney gave in his later years ... he's really engaged with this one. He even gets to sing the title song.
December 29, 2016
Wacky cannibal comedy. The two leads are adorable, Haig is unrecognizable and creepy, And Chaney Jr gives quite an impressive performance.
June 12, 2016
Spider Baby is my kind of movie- off kilter and a lot of fun. Kind of a darker, edgier cousin of The Addams Family, it accomplishes something very difficult: occupying its own special little place in movie history. It does so by leaving the viewer feeling they have never seen anything quite like it before. A lot of mainstream moviegoers are turned off by the graphic violence common in horror films, and aficionados of the genre are bored with many newer films because they've seen it all before. Spider Baby offers something different- no explicit violence or nudity, but a well edited and paced film with ample amounts of winking dialogue, campy performances, and just the right amount of transgressive originality and nastiness to keep the attention of almost any movie fan.
½ October 27, 2015
The family that sits at the center of "Spider Baby" is a more functional version of the tight knit cannibals of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," as equally eager to kill but better able to repress their insanity, like how the killer in "Scream" conceals their true right up until the very end of the film. Then they're allowed to turn into a spitting, cackling maniac. But as it's directed by Jack Hill, "Spider Baby" almost reaches the heights of a great movie, only to lose its footing and drown in its own filth. If only it had the wit of "Scream" and the bizarre terror of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" - then we'd have a B-macabre comedy a little more in tune with themselves and a little less desperate to be likably off-kilter.
Lon Chaney Jr. headlines as Bruno, the caretaker of the infamous Merrye mansion, where, rumor has it, deadly secrets hide and murder runs amok. As this is a low-budget shocker, the rumors are true: the Merrye family carries an unfortunate genetic sequence that causes their brains to decompose around the age of ten, after which they begin to morph into murderous monsters who, when not killing, act like tiny tots. Bruno, strange but sweet, is in charge of caring for the long-dead Merrye father's children, Virginia (Jill Banner), Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), and Ralph (Sid Haig), all of whom sharing an infantile mental state combined with Leatherface madness.
Bruno wisely likes to keep them locked up to ensure that they don't harm the public, but his safety net is suddenly ripped open when the mailman (whom Virginia stabs to death) brings news that distant cousins, Emily (Carol Ohmart) and Peter (Quinn K. Redeker), are planning on stopping by to collect any money left over in the family estate. Unsuspecting and blinded by their own greed, the guests invite themselves to stay the night, leading to a ghastly sequence of events set to the darkness of the witching hour.
"Spider Baby" is above average in terms of premise and execution - it is vaguely astute (it appears to know full well just how ridiculous that Chaney "sings" the song that hovers above the opening credits) and attempts to be as off-kilter as a horror comedy can be - but I cannot say that it is a completely successful film. As is the case with most of Hill's films ("Coffy," "Switchblade Sisters"), discerning drollery is not as prevalent as it thinks it is; it remains slight as it attempts to jump to the high peaks of Russ Meyer levity. But Chaney is a lovable bear, and the actors portraying his quasi-adopted children are similarly genially peculiar. "Spider Baby" is as good as someone seeking a low-budget horror comedy might expect it to be; let's just hope expectations are low and experience enhancing supplements are involved.
½ October 17, 2015
This somewhat obscure 1960's horror film could be seen as the bridge between Freaks and modern classics such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It might not be surprising that it is not exactly comfortable viewing but it it quite compelling.
September 25, 2015
Crazy low budget horror film that initially seems like a goofy Adams Family type of horror film is really much darker and bizarre. The film tells the story of Lon Chaney Jr. as the caretaker for three criminally insane man-children, two girls and one boy (the boy played by Sid Haig). The film was originally going to be called "Cannibal Orgy" which gives you a pretty good picture of what you're in for. Written and directed by Jack Hill, who'd later go on to make grindhouse classics like "The Big Doll House," "Coffy" and "Switchblade Sisters," this film really is something unique. It features a young Sid Haig, who'd later appear in many Rob Zombie pictures. I actually think that Zombie's film "House of 1,000 Corpses" is a pretty good film to compare this film to. "Spider Baby" is nowhere as violent as Zombi's film, but tonally it's very similar, mixing dark humor and also harsh violence.This film isn't really a four-star quality of film, but it is absolutely had four-star worth entertainment value. And that's a pretty catchy theme song sung by Chaney.
Super Reviewer
½ September 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.
½ August 27, 2015
What to say about this one. Wow!
August 5, 2015
Jack Hill's Spider Baby Or The Maddest Story Ever Told is a claustrophobic thriller that isn't as effective on the atmosphere as it could have been. The credits dub this, "the maddest story ever told", a promise that's on the way to being fulfilled in the opening scene alone, when Virginia traps and kills a deliveryman in her makeshift web. She's one of three siblings who suffer from a unique genetic disorder that causes them to regress back to childhood, while retaining the physical strength and sexual maturity of adults.
Lon Chaney Jr gave one of his most memorable late performances as Bruno, their guardian and protector, who has managed to cover up their crimes until two distant relatives lay claim to their house. When they insist on moving in, Bruno has his fingers crossed that the children will behave towards their guests.
Jack Hill's first solo feature is a film which features an interesting twist on the psychotic killer theme, a somewhat original idea for it's time and an excellent (but largely unknown), cast. It's an entertaining piece of exploitation cinema, in which if given the budget and a better production this would have been a lot better than what it is.
June 4, 2015
For years I had heard of Spider-Baby but wasn't really sure what to make of all the fuss. Well the fuss wasn't exactly justified in this reviewer's opinion. You can certainly see the influence that it had on filmmakers like Rob Zombie and Tobe Hooper, as they made similar films later on. The performances by the two girls are very good, but the overall product left me feeling underwhelmed. It did peak my interest when Carol Ohmart was on-screen in her underwear, which is not a bad thing at all. Otherwise, I just didn't care for the movie all that much.
April 29, 2015
Very ahead of its time, even if it is incredibly silly. The whole time watching it I kept thinking this would be a lot of fun to turn into a play for a theater class. It just has that Rocky Horror Picture Show feel to it. Not a musical, but the Spider Baby theme by Ronald Stein is just as fun as anything in Rocky Horror.
March 14, 2015
For Father Ted fans everywhere.
½ February 9, 2015
Perfecta en lo que se propone, hay que mirarla solamente cuando el humor se presta para lo desagradable, y habiéndola visto por la tarde yo la proclamo ideal para una noche de esas en las que estás paranoico por ruidos en la casa, aunque yo no lo haría. Piensen en American Horror Story, pero grandiosamente mas demencial.
December 9, 2014
A bit too kooky an odd for it's own good, but it features a brilliant performance by Lon Chaney and the most over-the-top theme tune I've ever heard
September 29, 2014
Totally twisted and very old school horror that at points left me laughing .Loved it.
½ July 29, 2014
Campy, offbeat and very 60's. An elderly Lon Chaney Jr. (better known as the original Wolfman) plays a servant of a murderous family of misfits, and performs the opening tune which has to win an award for strangest lyrics ever.
July 21, 2014
This has gone well beyond the boundaries of prudence and good taste... A funny, unashamedly crazy little movie--Strange And Original 'Cult-Classic'!!
½ July 2, 2014
Amazing, toshy 60's b-horror that's pretty much an exact cross between The Addams Family and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Jill Banner's great as the titular character and Lon Chaney Jr manages to squeeze genuine pathos out of his role. The Arrow Blu looks really nice too.
½ May 25, 2014
Campy as can be, most likely a cult classic.
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