a.k.a. THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD
Written & Directed by Jack Hill
Distributed by Arrow Films / MVD Entertainment
Wow! How did I go this long without seeing this film?! SPIDER BABY is one of those weird cult classics that I had always heard about, but had never seen. In fact, I've had an earlier DVD release of this film in my collection for years, but had yet to watch it. Well, that DVD is obsolete now thanks to the great folks over at Arrow Films. Arrow continues to put out some of the nicest Blu-ray releases I have ever seen, and this one is no different. Here is the synopsis of the film from the MVD website:
The credits dub this "the maddest story ever told", a promise that's well on the way to being fulfilled in the opening scene alone, when Virginia traps and kills a hapless 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 to cross his fingers and hope that the 'children' behave towards their new guests... This was the first solo feature by Jack Hill, whom Quentin Tarantino dubbed "the Howard Hawks of exploitation filmmaking", and it remains one of his wildest and weirdest.
This is definitely one of the weirdest and wildest films I have seen, and that is saying a lot! I can't imagine how audiences reacted to this film back in the late 60's when it was originally released. I am sure they had never seen anything like this before!
While I sometimes shy away from older, black & white, horror films, I almost always end up really enjoying them. The black & white is so nostalgic and it's a lot of fun coming across an old classic like this that I haven't seen before. The picture quality looks amazing on this blu-ray. Arrow always does a remarkable job with their blu-ray transfers, and this one is no different.
I knew I was going to like this film from the opening credits, and the opening scene cemented this for me. In the opening scene we see young Virginia lure a delivery man up to her house and to the window. Little does the man know he is the 'bug' to Virginia's 'spider' in her sick and twisted game. Once the 'spider' catches the 'bug', it's all over for poor Mr. delivery man. Virginia, Elizabeth, and Ralph (played by Sid Haig of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS) make up the trio of kids who do some awful things. They are all mentally unstable and no one is safe when they are around!
This was such a fun, weird, creepy film. This is one I will definitely be watching again in the near future. I highly recommend this one. If you have never seen SPIDER BABY, do yourself a favor and pick up this new Blu-ray release asap!
SPIDER BABY is available now on blu-ray from Arrow Films. It is being distributed here in the U.S. by MVD Entertainment. Arrow films always contain tons of special features/extras, and this release is no different. Special Features on SPIDER BABY include:
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature, available in the UK for the first time
* Original 2.0 Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* High Definition transfer of the feature supervised and approved by director Jack Hill
* English SDH subtitles for deaf and hearing impaired
* Audio commentary featuring Jack Hill and star Sid Haig
* Panel discussion from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences FILM-TO-FILM Festival, recorded September 2012, featuring Jack Hill and stars Quinn K. Redeker and Beverly Washburn
* The Hatching of Spider Baby - Interviews with Jack Hill, Sid Haig, star Mary Mitchel, fan Joe Dante and more on the making of the film
* Spider Stravinsky: The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein - The composer of 'The Terror' and 'Attack of the 50 Foot Woman' among others is remembered by Harlene Stein, Jack Hill, American Cinematheque's Chris D. and others
* The Merrye House Revisited - Jack Hill revisits the original house that was used as the main location in the film
* Alternate opening title sequence
* Extended scene
* Original Trailer
* Gallery of behind-the-scenes images
* The Host (1960) - Jack Hill's early short film featuring Sid Haig in his first starring role [30 mins]
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
* Collector's booklet featuring writing on the film by artist and writer Stephen R. Bissette, and an extensive article re-printed from FilmFax: The Magazine of Unusual Film and Television featuring interviews with the cast and crew, illustrated with origin
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the blu-ray