Our survey of post-Atomic age tales of king-sized critters run amok scurries onward with a disappointing effort by The Hidden auteur Jack Sholder and Re-Animator producer Brian Yuzna. Unlike the recent Spiders, which cleverly paid tribute to the genre, while simultaneously advancing it, Arachnid (2001, 95 minutes) merely wallows in cliche with little tangible imagination.
The movie: Space aliens meet good ol' American air superiority when they get rear-ended by a stealth fighter. Both crafts miraculously crash on the SAME tropical island where both E.T. and our yankee flyboy get themselves gobbled by a not-so-itsy-bitsy spider from another universe. When villagers start inexplicably croaking, a doomed expedition of do-gooders arrive led by Spanish actor Jose Sancho who mumbles so much it's never clear WHAT he's all fussy about. He's probably peeved by Mercer (Alex Reid) the chick pilot who had to ditch their plane on the beach, or Valentine (Chris Potter) and his merry mercenaries who want to high-tail it out of there when things start to get the least bit spooky. Where things get interesting is when one of Valentine's goons gets ticks. Not on his backside. No, they bore BENEATH his skin, claw around in his guts and suckle themselves to the size of hard-boiled eggs before erupting forth in an over-the-top gore sequence while the rest of the cast stands around with their mouths gapping. It's yet another ghastly ode to Alien, but one well worth seeing. CineSchlockers should be amused by Ravil Isyannov as Henry Capri a geekazoid bug nut who gets a little TOO caught up by his pursuit of crawly things. Ravil can sure pick 'em because he also had smaller roles in stinkers Octopus and Under Pressure.
Notables: No breasts. 11 corpses. Acid loogies. Gratuitous urination. Puking. Super-deadly blow darts. Exploding eyeball. Sweaty cleavage. Dissection closeup. Gratuitous sequel-bait ending.
Quotables: Capri loves spiders, "They just want the same things we do. Food, shelter and a mate to propagate the species." Mercer ain't quite so warm and fuzzy about 'em, "F@#%!!! I hate spiders!"
Time codes: An extraterrestrial vacuum cleaner arrives on Earth and commences to sucking (2:15). Romance blossoms when our sexually charged heros find themselves STUCK together with spider goo (30:30). Best reason to see the flick (42:22). Second best reason (59:10). This would be a "money shot" if the movie starred Jenna Jameson (1:05:39). Mercer's dear departed bubba falls apart on her (1:17:35). Is that a rotting DINO down there!? (1:23:07).
Audio/Video: Presented in its original widescreen (1.85:1) format. Lackluster Dolby Digital 5.1 suffers from fair amount of static during early scenes.
Extras: Trailers. Static menus without audio.
Final thought: Eight legs and not a one to stand on. More grue like that glorious eyeball eruption would've greased this well-worn story line. Recommended.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.