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Kingdom of Spiders - DVD - Shout Factory Print E-mail
User Rating: / 6
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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DVD Artwork for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema
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AKA: Farmakeres Arahnes, Hämähäkkien Hyökkäys, Królestwo Pajaków, L'horrible Invasion, Mörderspinnen, Mörderspinnen Greifen, Império das Aranhas, O Reino das Tarântulas, Panik, Spindlarna, Tarántula

Directed by:
John Cardos
Written by:
Richard Robinson, Alan Caillou
Produced by:
Igo Kantor, Jeffrey Sneller
Cinematography by:
John Arthur Morrill
Editing by:
Igo Kantor
Music by:
Igo Kantor
Special Effects by:
Greg Aueur
Cast:
William Shatner, Tiffany Bolling, Woody Strode, David McLean
Year:
1977
Country:
USA
Language:
English
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 37min

Distributor: Shout Factory

It’s quite well known that William Shatner dabbled here and there in horror as the seventies wrapped around his career, and more recently in "American Psycho 2."  In that part of his career, "The Devil’s Rain" and this gem are the two that spring to mind.  I saw "Kingdom of Spiders" as a kid watching the "Deadly Earnest Horror Show," and it really stuck with me until I managed to grab a copy on the Shout Factory label (please ignore the dodgy 23rd Media release from a few years ago). I am happy to relive this childhood memory and share it with you all.

So we’re in proper open range and mountain America territory for this film; horses and cowboy boots are available for all to purchase in 1977.  Two farmers, Walt Colby (Woody Strode, "Keoma") and his wife Birch Colby (diseased widow of Sammy Davis Jr., Altovise Davis), with big smiles let a young calf out to graze on the field.  They get on with their work and so does the calf.  Suddenly we have three alternative camera views from the angles of small fast things in the grass, and they’re approaching the calf.  Meanwhile, William Shatner is Robert ‘Rack’ Hansen, the small valley vet.  We meet him lassoing livestock, and a girl, as cowboy valley boys do.  He’s called out to the calf that’s been totally paralyzed from bites. “Ain’t that a crock,” says Walt as the calf dies (this guy must be related to Scatman from my previous review of "The Rats").

Across town, a mechanic comes across one hell of a big spider whilst picking webs off tyres in his storeroom.  He spits on it and walks off.  As he shuts the door, the spider gives chase.  The Mayor is quite concerned due to Walt’s calf and the chance of quarantine, because the county fair is due soon.  Meanwhile, Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) arrives in town from the university due to samples Rack sent over for testing; he’s discovered that spiders bit the calf.  She catches Rack’s eyes straight away.  Back at the farm as Hansen and Diane arrive, Walt and Birch’s dog is found dead (although we noticed the dog is still breathing -- he he!) and they find a huge spider hill filled with maybe a thousand or so right near the farm.  Diane takes a venom sample from a spider and sends it off, then kisses Dr. Hansen for a while.  That night they decide to burn the hill and discover Walt’s bull coated in spiders.  As the hill burns, some spiders have an escape tunnel a few feet away.

The next day as Walt is driving, spiders attack him all over his face; when he’s found in his crashed truck, he’s in a cocoon.  Further back in the fields there are now twenty or so spider hills (Oh ohhh!)  The Mayor sends up the Baron, a fella with a crop-spraying plane to wipe out the hills.  The Baron draws a really stupid sketch of a spider on the side of his cockpit, which looks like a hairy skittle, then does a few circles over the fields before he finds himself covered with spiders.  A high explosive crash follows.

The spider armies rampage through the valley, into town and all over.  Shatner throws spiders around with a priceless expression, which reminded me of the infamous "Star Trek" episode, Trouble with Tribbles.  He rescues his niece, who for a five or six-year-old wears very worrying short dresses.  He takes his niece and Diane and hides out in a lodge with the Sheriff and a few others, whilst everyone else is cocooned in the invasion.  The small group have to defend themselves from the mass of creepy little bastards.

"Kingdom of Spiders" is a fun movie that actually uses real spiders, and a lot of them!   This really adds to the atmosphere and the film has a great era setting, insect disaster feel just like the ants, the bees, and everything else the seventies turned into waves of terror.  The characters are plastic and predictable, but carry the film well enough.  William Shatner is a competent actor as a rugged ranch cowboy vet of sorts.  As I said earlier, it’s best to seek out the Shout Factory DVD since other releases do not exist in the dimension to any knowing seventies horror fan (23rd Media… there’s budget and there’s feeling like your self- respect is a mass of kill crazy ants, and bees, and frogs, and spiders and rats).  It could only happen in that era and if made now would be a mass of CGI sell outs.

Shout Factory's Special Edition delivers an interview with William Shatner, about 16-minutes in length, in which the actor is frank, funny, and his usual self while reminiscing.  A full-length Commentary Track with director John "Bud" Cardos, producer Igo Kantor, spider wrangler Jim Brockett and cinematographer John Morrill.  A 12-minute "Jim Brockett: Spider Wrangler" featurette, taken in conjunction with his contributions to the commentary track gives you most of what you want to know about spider-action in the movies. 17-minutes of rough quality Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage will please the hardest fan only due to as I said the condition.  A four-minute Interview with Writer Steve Lodge fills in more gaps regarding production, and a self-navigated Poster Gallery contains images, most of which feature the same motif.  Finally, the Original Theatrical Trailer wraps things up.  Thanks to Shout Factory, this film can enjoy rediscovery with respect.

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

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DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

DVD Screenshot for Kingdom of Spiders on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16:9
 Region: NTSC R0
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - All-new interviews with William Shatner, and Director John Bud Cardos.
 - Commentary by director John Bud Cardos, producer Igor Kantor, spider wrangler Jim Brockett, DP John Morrill and Hostel producer Scott Spiegel.
 - Behind the Scenes
 - Theatrical Trailer

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 July 2012 )
 
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