206. Kingdom of The Spiders (1977)

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*The Warlock opens the door to his lair. He’s wearing a black leather jacket, TOP GUN t-shirt, blue jeans, white sneakers and gargoyle shades. He’s holding a diamond-studded goblet of pepsi*

Warlock: Welcome to my lair….welcome I don’t think so, but enter. Enter my lair if you dare. I’m your host The Warlock.

*Warlock shoots fire into the sky and walks inside the lair*

Warlock: Tonight we’re doing another IT CAME FROM YOUTUBE and…once again….I’m flying solo.

*camera pans to empty recliner and couch*

Warlock: Although this time, it wasn’t by design. Mr. America couldn’t join me due to emergency circumstances, I couldn’t get ahold of Thug D and Neyzor Blades is sick. Plus she would refuse to watch this with me. Why? We’re doing KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS!

*The house rumbles*

Warlock: Sorry about that. Neyzor Blades refuses to do anything with spiders in it so even if she wasn’t sick, she wouldn’t be here. So what’s this movie about? William Shatner fights spiders, that’s all I know. Yes, this was two years before Star Trek was about to make the big comeback with full length movies so William had to keep himself busy.

*Warlock takes his seat in the recliner*

Warlock: So let’s get this party started with Kingdom of The Spiders.

 

Directed by John Cardos

Written by Jeffrey M Sneller, Stephen Lodge, Alan Caillou, Richard Robinson

 

*Warlock reads the tag-line*

Warlock: “Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas.”

Warlock: Tarantulas? That makes no sense, they’re docile.

 

*Peaceful Verde Valley by Dorsey Burnette plays over the opening credits with views of the Arizona desert*

Warlock: Kind of sounds like Frank Zappa and Willie Nelson mixed together.

 

*Walter Colby (Woody Strode) and Birch Colby Altovise Davis) look out over their farm. Cow eats in the pasture as creepy music plays*

Warlock: The cow knows something’s up. He’s probably a secret agent in disguise.

 

*Something attacks the cow as it moo’s. Meanwhile Rack Hansen (William Shatner) and Terry Hansen (Marcy Lafferty) lasso a bull. Rack administers medicine to it*

Warlock: So he’s a vet, gotta love it. By the way, that’s his real life wife at the time.

 

*Terry says “That was adequate” Rack pretends to talk like a cow to taunt her. He then lassos her to the ground*

Warlock: Hogtie her and throw her over the horse, ride back into town like that.

 

*Terry says “Damn you John” and Rack shoves her down, pissed off. Rack “I may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but I’m not my brother.”

Warlock: Uh oh….something is afoot.

 

*Rack gets a beeper with a computer voice that says Walter Colby called*

Warlock: “Kirk here, on my way.,….wait…shit…wrong line.”

 

*Rack “John isn’t around anymore, maybe its time to get usedto it.” He rides off and leaves Terry there. Rack then meets with Walter about a sick calf. Rack checks the cow as Walter asks what he thinks.

Warlock: “Dammit Walter I’m a doctor not a….wait….dammit”

 

*Walter runs tests on the cow with creepy music. He calls Mildred (Bettie Bolling) and tells her to tell Flagstead he’s on his way. He tells Walter the calf is dead. Walter “Aint that a crock, 2 years of breeding gone to hell”

Warlock: God damn varmints!

 

*Walter asks if it was the black leg, Rack doesn’t know. Walter asks if he’ll be quarantined, Rack hopes not. Next frame is Rack traveling to Flagstead in a truck*

Warlock: Nice 70’s spy show music.

 

*Walter lets his dog outside and is pissed off about the calf. Meanwhile the dog starts whining and runs off*

Warlock: Dog senses something too.

 

*Earl Forbes (Hoke Howell) tells Clyde (Bill Foster) he’s got a flat tire and needs a new one*

Warlock: Or just pump it and plug it?? Or was that technology not available to Arizona backwoods hicks in 1977?

 

*Earl wants to sell a tire for 18 dollars. Clyde storms off*

Warlock: Hahahahahaha

 

*Earl will sell him a donut for 5 dollars until he can find a new one. Clyde oulls over as Rack pulls up to pump gas and check his engine*

Warlock: A leaky donut for 5 bucks, I’ll take it.

 

*Earl “Damn spiders havin a field day in here”

Warlock: Gonna attack already?

 

*Earl finds a tarantula in the tire he plans to sell Clyde. He spits tobacco on it*

Warlock: And once again, tarntulas are docile and don’t actually attack people.

 

*The tarantula is locked in the shed by Earl as he rolls the tire out. Meanwhile Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) pulls up to the station and asks Rack to fill her tank. Rack then plays Mickey the Dunce to fuck with her*

Warlock: That is actually funny.

 

*Earl walks up and Rack tells him to fill up the tank and don’t get grease on the hood. Earl asks where the lady is and Rack says in the Men’s room. At first Earl goes with it and then stops to think about it*

Warlock: Hahahaha

 

*Diane drives to Washburn’s Lodge. Emma Washburn (Lieux Dressler) is there to greet her. Emma says the rooms are 9 bucks and night and the cabins are 11*

Warlock: Costs 110 dollars to stay at a Red Roof Inn these days, 9 dollars is a rare bargain.

 

*Emma explains that prices are up due to the county fair and Diane will take the cabin*

Warlock: 11 dollars? Let’s splurge.

 

*Diane asks for Rack and Emma says he’s 10 miles away. Meanwhile Rack calls Walter who’s still distraught. Sheriff Gene Smith (David McLean) says they may have to shut down the county fair. Mayor Connors (Mayor Connors) pulls up and says he forbids them to quarantine the Colby farm because of the importance of the country fair*

Warlock: Yeah, we got animals dropping dead of something lethal that could possibly infect humans but we gotta get that fair dad gummit!

 

*Mayor says to keep whatever’s going wrong over there under wraps. Diane pulls up and asks for Rack. Diane introduces herself and Gene introduces everyone. Rack turns on the flirty charm*

Warlock: THERE’S the Captain Kirk we all know.

 

*Diane says she’s with the doctor’s office in Tempe, Rack “Want a beer?”

Warlock: Hahahahahaha

 

*Diane has the blood samples of the calf. She says they have a serious problem. She says they won’t need a quarantine which pleases the Mayor. He leaves and Gene asks what the calf died of. Diane says the cow died of a massive amount of spider venom. Gene and Rack laugh and Rack scoffs “You want us to believe a 200 pound calf was killed by a…a spider?”

Warlock: Unless it was a swarm of black widow spiders, that doesn’t work. Tarantula’s venom is a pain in the ass but they’re not fatal to human’s or larger animals.

 

*Diane doesn’t care what Rack thinks but she wants to see the carcass and take a look at the Colby farm. Rack says the carcass is in the freezer and they can go check out the farm in the morning. He then asks if she’d like to have some dinner. Diane “I probably will…I’ll see you in the morning.”

Warlock: That was a sick burn.

 

*Diane bellies up to the bar where Emma is tending. Emma and Gene used to be an item, he used to be a ladies man. Verne (Joe Ross) and Betty (Adele Mails) Johnson are grossed out by Emma’s sex talk and she introduces them to Diane*

Warlock: Cutting edge for 1977 cable TV.

 

*Verne is from Colorado, Diane is from Nebraska*

Warlock: I don’t mind character development but can we speed it up please?

 

*Verne apparently invented portopotties and he offers to buy Diane a drink. She leaves*

Warlock: Ok, can we get some scary scenes now?

 

*Diane disrobes to creepy music*

Warlock: Woah, I thought made for TV movies were censored? You can totally see her titties. This is no longer the worst movie of all time.

 

*As Diane prepares for a shower, a tarantula crawls into her desk. She combs her hair and opens the desk to see a tarantula. Rather than get scared, she treats it like a pet. She pets it and takes it outside where it crawls away*

Warlock: See what I mean? They’re not normally aggressive. If the movie writers wanted to put them over as monsters she should have freaked out and be attacked.

 

*Walter calls out for the dog but it doesn’t come. Rack and Diane pull up to the farm. She introduces herself but Birch runs up and says the dog is dead. They all run out by the barn and find the dog’s body. Rack and Diane investigate and take samples. Diane figures out its spider venom. Walter says if they take his stock, he goes with them. Diane says the stock is fine, but there’s poisonous spiders around. Rack says that spider venom isn’t enough to kill a cat let alone a dog. Walter says he found a spider hill that morning, hundreds of them. Rack says to take a look*

Warlock: Yes, let’s progress.

 

*Diane and Rack find the hill and both are perplexed. Diane says there could be thousands in the hill. Walter gets mad and grabs a shovel*

Warlock: That’s really not going to help.

 

*Diane needs to form a plan of attack but tells Rack to keep Walter away from them. She picks up a tarantula and says there shouldn’t be that particular species around for 600 miles. Birch says she hopes the spiders don’t come in the house. Diane wants to know where the calf was attacked. Rack says he has to go see his girl and drives off, leaving Diane with the Colby’s*

Warlock: Now we’re really in trouble.

 

*Rack’s girl is actually his 7 year old niece Linda (Natasha Ryan) who greets him. She complains that her cat ran away and Rack says not to worry because he’s an outdoor car that likes to prowl around. Terry nearby makes a crack at Rack but he brushes it off. She wants to listen to a record with Rack and he says he’ll be there in a second as he pinches her ass and walks over to Terry*

Warlock: Dude, he just pinched a 7 year old’s ass. That’s pretty creepy even for 1977 standards.

 

*Terry apologizes for the other day and Rack turns on the charm. We cut to Rack following Diane down a highway, cutting her off and making her pull over. He sits on her car and she asks where his “girl” is. He says “she’s into Uncle Remus, I wasn’t.”

Warlock: Have you seeeeeeeeeeeen us, Uncle Reeeeeeeeeeemus.

 

*Rack says Diane is kind of pretty for a girl. He asks where she’s going and she says to dinner. He then picks her up, throws her in the passenger seat and climbs into the driver’s side of her car. He fires it up and speeds up*

Warlock: Yeah that’s how you impress a girl, commandeer her car without her consent and drive off with her.

 

*Rack and Diane are at an upscale restaurant. The waitress (Anita Merritt) asks what they want and Rack says two beers, Diane scoffs and asks if they have to drink them out of the can*

Warlock: Yeah, then you have a pissin contest after.

 

*Rack asks how the Colby farm went. Diane thinks he’s being a chauvenist and Rack says he back checked her and she’s the best in the field. He makes a toast to women’s lib and she asks how he got the name Rack. He says his kid brother used to hustle him at pool and started calling him Rack. Diane asks if he lives around here and he says he was killed in Nam the second day he was there. He admits that the “girl” he went to see was his niece.

Warlock: That’s pretty sad.

 

*Rack asks why spiders would suddenly turn aggressive against livestock. If they have nothing to eat, they’re cannibals and will eat each other without thinking twice*

Warlock: That’s what I would like to know.

 

*Diane says it could be because of pesticides and DDT, they’re killing off the spiders natural source of food so they’re turning to livestock for nourishment*

Warlock: Yeah, which doesn’t make the spiders the heels of the movie. Nice going.

 

*Rack asks how to get rid of them, she doesn’t answer. Instead we cut to her cabin where they look at film. She explains Mygalomorphae’s are loners and cannibals, meaning they don’t gang up like wolves or ants. In the film, the tarantulas are colonizing when they normally don’t. She pulls out a tarantula and disects it for venom. She explains animals are disappearing in the area. Rack asks about the spider hill. She says to just burn it. Rack goes to kiss her and she kisses back*

Warlock: There’s the Captain Kirk charm.

 

*The tarantula escapes the jar and Rack says they should burn the spider hill that night, why risk more colonization. They drive to the Colby farm and he’s already ready with gasoline*

Warlock: Something tells me this isn’t gonna work, we still have an hour left in the movie.

 

*Rack and Walter stop, Rack says its too quiet. Suddenly a bull bursts from the barn and knocks over the Colby’s. It falls and its covered in tarantulas*

Warlock: Was that supposed to be a jump scare?

 

*Diane and Rack check the bull, its dying and there’s nothing Rack can do. Walt says to just burn down the hill and worry about this later. Rack instructs Birch to take shelter in town and to get Walt checked out. Birch says hell no, no spiders aren’t going to drive them out*

Warlock: Heed the warning.

 

*Diane tells Rack that she’s scared, if the spiders will attack a 1,500 pound bull, what are they going to do to humans?*

Warlock: Good point.

 

*Walt sets the hill on fire and starts screaming “BURN YA SONS OF BITCHES! BURN IN HELL! GOOD RIDDANCE YOU BASTARDS, YOU’LL NEVER KILL ANY OF MY STOCK AGAIN!*

Warlock: Nice dialogue.

 

*We see various tarantulas escaping through a nearby opening. We cut to Rack bringing Diane to meet Terry and Linda. Terry cries that Rack brings Diane because she clearly wants him*

Warlock: That would be super awkward for Linda.

 

*Walt and Birch exit the clinic and Walt is driving back to the farm, says to stay here. We cut to Rack, Linda and Diane going horseback riding*

Warlock: The scenery is legitimately beautiful.

 

*Diane and Rack watch Walt drive home from atop a mountain. Walt is driving as a tarantula sneaks up on him*

Warlock: “Uh, excuse me sir, can you spare some change for like a bite to eat?”

 

*Walt turns the radio on as more tarantulas continues to crawl on Walt. He then holds his face and we cut here*

Warlock: What happened? Did he crash?

 

*Diane and Rack chill on a blanket with Linda playing nearby. Diane cracks open a cold one for Rack. we get some small talk as the two horses start getting suspicious. Something begins to crawl toward Linda*

Warlock: How come the cows, horses and other animals can sense the tarantulas coming before humans?

 

*Linda escapes before the tarantula strikes and the next frame we see is the Sheriff stopping by a roadblock. The deputy (Jay Lawrence) tells him Colby’s truck went off road. Rack pulls up and offers assistance. Gene and Rack check out the wreckage. They find Walter cocooned in the truck*

Warlock: Ohhhh, nice visual.

 

*Gene knocks on the door, Birch answers. Gene delivers the bad news and Birch cries. A tarantula watches nearby*

Warlock: “Well if that don’t beat all”

 

*Diane gets a call from Mildred, the venom they squeezed from that one tarantula is 5 times more toxic than normal. Rack gets a call from Gene, they found TWENTY more spider hills at the Colby farm*

Warlock: Well if fire doesn’t work, what about water?

 

*The Mayor wants to spray pesticides everywhere and Diane tells them that only makes it worse. Mayor refuses to take no for an answer. Diane says its a migration caused by DDT. Mayor then says what will kill them and Diane says their natural predators such as rats and birds. Mayor scoffs and tells Gene to get the strongest pesticide he can find. Gene says Mayor needs state permission for it and Rack says humans could be affected too. Mayor says they have two weeks until the county fair and to not screw it up*

Warlock: He and the mayor from Jaws can have a duel to decide who’s the bigger dumbass.

 

*The Baron (Whitey Hughes) is going to drop the pesticide by plane over the Colby farm*

Warlock: We still got a half hour left, this can’t be it.

 

*Baron draws on his own plane*

Warlock: Mr. America would like that part….or maybe not.

 

*Shot of the crop duster dumping pesticide all over town*

Warlock: Mr. America would appreciate the plane usage…..Neyz would have a fit f she saw all that pesticide being sprayed.

 

*Tarantulas are crawling all over The Baron. He starts screaming like a girl*

Warlock: He screams like a girl…that’s hilariously bad.

 

*The Baron flies erratically and Clyde notices he’s coming too close to town with all that poison. Baron then plows into the gas station*

Warlock: You guys may want to get the hell out of there with all those gas pumps.

 

*Next frame is Diane, Gene and Rack calling for help. An investigative team will be sent in a couple of days. Gene wants to know how many spiders there are. Diane says too many, humanity wouldn’t survive. Rack says to get Birch on the phone. We cut to the Colby farm with tarantula’s all over the house and Birch shooting at them with a pistol*

Warlock: Yeah, should have listened to Diane to stay in town. Now you’re screwed.

 

*Birch has a tarantula on her hand and she shoots it off*

Warlock: So rather than brush it off, you potentially blow your own hand off? What a moron!

 

*Gene wants to take a ride up there, Rack says he’s gonna pick up Terry and Linda. Linda is on the swing with dozens of tarantulas below her. Terry notices the tarantulas, screams, freaks out and runs out with a broom. She sweeps them off, grabs Linda, runs off hysterically*

Warlock: Geez, don’t panic will ya?

 

*Terry tells Linda to run inside as the tarantulas overwhelm Terry. Rack pulls up but he’s too late, she’s gone. He runs inside, gets Linda and brings her to Diane. He tells them to get in the truck and go. Diane finds tarantulas swarming the truck*

Warlock: That’s a no go….by the way now both the girl’s parents are dead.

 

*Rack tries to brush off all the spiders and then drives off. Back at the bar, Rack laments being too late to save Terry. Rack asks how Linda is, she’s in shock. Emma can’t reach anyone on the phone. Emma says Fred, The Johnson’s, Diane and herself are the only ones there. Rack says to take Fred and lock the place up. Emma wants to know what’s up. Diane says the spiders are now an aggressive army that have already killed a bunch of people. Diane asks if they have any fire extinguishers, she says yes. Diane tells her to go fetch some as Betty and and Vern Johnson run in saying they saw hundreds of spiders. Diane and Rack walk outside and they’re completely surrounded*

Warlock: One of the spiders gets on a megaphone “Alright come out with your hands up, we have you surrounded!”

 

*Rack hears a woman scream and runs off to investigate. He finds Emma in front of a shed and tells her to get in the lodge. He opens the shed and Fred is dead and cocooned*

Warlock: So much for him.

 

*Back inside the lodge Rack starts pacing around as Gene pulls up kicking at spiders as he runs inside the lodge. He reports that Birch was dead and coocooned. Gene wants to get on the horn but Mildred is also dead and cocooned*

Warlock: Jesus, the entire cast is almost gone.

 

*Emma tells Gene to take care of himself. He says “Yeah”

Warlock: Yeah…riveting.

 

*Gene leaves to go round the townspeople up. He tells Rack to take care of Emma. Diane says fire extinguishers will kill them off so arm themselves*

Warlock: Wait wait wait….they thought for sure fire would kill them and they didn’t.How the hell is she so sure fire extinguishers will do it?

 

*Gene kciks more spiders out of the way as he makes it to his cruiser. He drives off and Emma prepares a stew*

Warlock: Oh yeah, the stew is going to win best supporting actor.

 

*Emma is surrounded by tarantulas in the kitchen. She tosses the stew on some of them and shouts for Rack. Rack runs in with an extinguisher and starts unloading on them all. He then tries to plug up the hole where they’re coming from while continuously being bitten*

Warlock: Wait, if they’re 5 times as deadly, wouldn’t Shatner be dropping dead by now?

 

*Vern runs to the basement for supplies but Rack runs down and tells him to forget it, they can’t hold out there. They hear screaming and its Linda, she’s surrounded. Vern unloads with the extinguisher before handing it off to Rack as he runs with Linda to safety*

Warlock: The funny thing is the tarantulas are hit by the extinguisher and keep crawling, meaning if they’re supposed to die in the movie….they sure as hell don’t look like they are.

 

*Betty, Diane and Emma are convinced they are trapped. Rack opens the front door and a dozen tarantulas enter. The remaining survivors start stomping them all*

Warlock: And this is where people started hating the movie for real. They’re actually stomping on live tarantulas and killing them. Today this would be a big no-no but back then PETA didn’t really include arachnids.

 

*Rack looks out the window and they are completely surrounded. They start dropping down in the fireplace, scaring Betty. Rack says they need to light a fire*

Warlock: I thought fire doesn’t work….then again the extinguishers dont either.

 

*Gene pulls up to town where its bedlam and chaos with citizens running for their lives. Dead people are all over the place, cocooned*

Warlock: Well if the spiders themselves aren’t really scary, this mass hysteria sure is.

 

*Somebody plows into the water tower and it falls on Gene’s car, crushing him to death*

Warlock: Wow, this may be a no survivors movie. I’d love to see if the movie writers have the balls to pull it off.

 

*Betty asks why its so hot in there*

Warlock: Because you’re having a fire in the middle of Arizona where its probably 90 degrees out.

 

*Rack goes to investigate the air conditioning system and sure enough, a gaggle of spiders drop down on Betty. The survivors dispose of them as Rack boards it shut*

Warlock: If these guys didn’t have arachnophobia, they sure as hell do now.

 

*Rack says its 11 pm. He rings somebody but nobody answers. Rack tells Diane and Emma to get some sleep but all of a sudden the spiders are breaking through the glass windows. The entire group nails the windows shut but the tarantulas cut the power*

Warlock: 10 years before Aliens.

 

*Rack tells everyone to go to the kitchen, he’ll go to the basement alone. Rack finds a rat with tarantulas crawling on it*

Warlock: Ironic as its the rat that eats the tarantulas in real life.

 

*Rack tries to fix the fuse box but its blown and covered with spiders. A window bursts and Rack is covered in tarantulas. He flails around and crawls up the stairs*

Warlock: Same mannerisms he used in Star Trek.

 

*Diane, Betty, Vern and Emma continue to board up the place. Rack staggers up to them covered in spiders and spider bites before he falls. He passes out and the frame cuts to next morning*

Warlock: Alright, let’s see if they have the balls to go no survivor.

 

*Emma wakes up, Diane is still tending to Rack. She says she’s going to check on Linda. Emma tells a story about Gene as Rack tries to gather his bearings. Emma is convinced Gene is dead. Vern and Diane have an old style radio hooked up hoping to hear some news. Rack staggers in saying he’s going to take a look outside. Diane says don’t, he could let hundreds of them in*

Warlock: Yeah really.

 

*Emma says to try the windows instead. The radio finally gets a signal and the morning news mentions nothing about the spider infestation*

Warlock: Alright, we just imagined the whole thing!

 

*Peaceful Verde Valley plays again as Rack cracks open a board. He can’t believe his eyes so he cracks open another board.”Good god, sweet jesus.” Everyone gathers around and they’re all in shock. The entire town is cocooned including the lodge. End credits*

Warlock: That’s as good as “No survivors” so I’ll give the writers credit.

 

The Warlock’s Assessment: Bad choice for killer spiders but I’ll give it a 5.5 out of 10. The creep factor was pretty good and anyone who DOESN’T know about tarantulas should be scared.

Final Grade: 5.5 out of 10: Above Average

 

*Warlock rises from the couch*

Warlock: Apart from some really stupid scenes, it wasn’t a bad movie. The budget was about a million dollars, most of which was probably spent on the tarantulas themselves. Its a shame to see so many of them killed on camera but no sense squawking about it 40 years later. Even the movie can’t get out of its own way when they admit that tarantulas are normally no threat to humans. Even if we’re supposed to suspend disbelief that these are more aggressive spiders, the scene with Diane playing nice with the tarantula killed that notion off. Apart from William Shatner, nobody in this movie was A-List so no sense complaining about the acting. The twist ending was cool for its time although I have to nitpitck. If the entire fucking town was cocooned, you’d think SOMEBODY driving by would have noticed and squealed to the news? They were better off leaving the entire lodge cocooned and the town deserted, that way nobody would have noticed 6 people trapped inside. Bottom line is its definitely worth a watch all things considering. That about wraps up another IT CAME FROM YOUTUBE, have a pleasant evening.

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