Ellory Elkayem’s “Eight Legged Freaks” came out during a horrendous time. First it was a limited release, unleashed around the time another Spider oriented movie was breaking box office records, and it was released during a time where audiences were still bruised from 9/11 and weren’t too keen on welcoming horror comedies in to their lives quite yet. It’s a shame since “Eight Legged Freaks” is a pitch perfect horror comedy that celebrates everything from B movies, slasher movies, disaster movies, and the classic monster movies like “Them!” and “Mosquito.” Ellory Elkayem based a lot of “Eight Legged Freaks” on his short film “Larger Than Life,” which is very much in the spirit of what we see on the big screen. It is a black and white ode to the sixties monster movies with Elkayem conjuring up what’s so gross and icky about spiders. I originally saw “Larger than Life” on television in 2000 when it premiered on the short film television series “Exposure” on the Sci-Fi Channel here in America.
Director Scott Ziehl’s “Earth vs. The Spider” is an often overlooked and extremely obscure film, and for good reason. It’s a relative rip-off of David Cronenberg’s “The Fly,” and let’s face it: There’s no reason to call this movie “Earth vs. The Spider” at all. I fondly remember this being featured on Cinemax here in America in a Stan Winston horror movie showcase. His company rehashed American International Pictures films, but in name only. As is the case with “Earth vs. The Spider,” which isn’t a masterpiece, but isn’t bad for a hokey shamelessly derivative monster movie.
Director Mike Mendez’s horror comedy “Big Ass Spider!” constantly straddles the line of pure idiocy and at any moment has the potential to be so. Surprisingly, “Big Ass Spider!” isn’t just a really funny buddy comedy, but a really creepy horror film. What’s so interesting about the movie is that the title sums up what the entire film is about. There’s no metaphor, or symbolism, or sugar coating. It’s a movie about a big ass spider, pure and simple. If you want to see a giant spider on a rampage, this film delivers on every aspect.
You know how I know “Spiders” is set in New York and not in a cleverly shot in a studio with the same set pieces re-used over and over again? Becawse Patrick Muldoon tawks like dis tru most of da movie. Youse guys and yaw clichés about New Yawkers! Hey, I’m walkin here! It sounds like I made a bad funny, but a character actually shouts that a half hour in to the movie. Because it’s not Canada if you don’t say “eh,” and it’s not New York if you don’t pay homage to Ratzo Rizzo.
If you’re one who is thinking “Arachnoquake? That sounds stupid,” then congratulations on displaying wisdom well beyond your years. “Arachnoquake” is a movie that sounds good on page, but when you see it, there’s just so much to hate about it that you can’t even take it at face value as a movie intended on being so bad it’s good. The movie is painfully self-aware to the point where you almost expect a laugh track to follow the “gags” staged. Meanwhile the writer behind the film is well beyond in over his head providing a three pronged story that jumps from sub-plot to sub-plot without resolving either, all the while ripping off films like “Jeepers Creepers 2,” “Children of Men,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “The Mist,” and “Piranha.” There are so much plot elements staged that are never touched upon or resolved, you could list them all in a whole review.
Preparing to go in to festivals soon enough, I was able to get a hold of “I Spyders” through online means and I’m glad that I did. “I Spyders” is quite possibly one of the most skin crawling and yet unabashedly demented short films you’ll see in a while. This is one of the few short films that manages to have a spider wrangler on set, and when they can acquire an actual wrangler, you know the director is at least trying hard to get his point across. That’s called effort, filmmakers. That’s the word for this review. “I Spyders” isn’t so much a horror movie in the traditional sense, but its premise is very much horrific. Especially for anyone who is an avid arachnophobe.
I’m not sure why, but the prospect of watching “Ice Spiders” was intriguing to me. Perhaps it’s because I just enjoy movies with giant monsters, or perhaps because many movies with giant spiders end up a barrel full of laughs, or maybe because I just enjoy cheesy monster movies. “Ice Spiders” really doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a great thing considering the ridiculous plot we’re introduced to. But with all the horrible plot devices against it from minute one, “Ice Spiders” comes out ahead.