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William Shatner Gets Beamed Up Straight Into...The Kingdom of the Spiders! (Review)

Oh yeah.

The clasc 1977 spider flick starring William Shatner right before he did Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Kingdom of the Spiders stars William Shatner as Rack Hansen a veterinarian in Arizona.

Rack has problems dealing with his brother's death, though it is never explained in any great detail, so he has to care for his brother's widow and young daughter.

He is called upon by his friend Walter Colby (Woody Strode) when Walter's prize calf suddenly takes ill.

The calf dies and Rack sends blood samples to a lab to find out what exactly happened to this prized beef.

Enter Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) who is an entomologist and finds the results of the blood work to be fascinating.

The calf died of spider venom.

Soon Walter reveals a gigantic spider mound in his back field that is filled with hundreds of tarantulas.

The decion is made to burn the mound and kill the tarantulas, this only pisses off the spiders and turns them against the human population. Kingdom of the Spiders is a true clasc.

Yes the acting isn't the greatest but it isn't horrible either.

Even William Shatner turns in a good performance.

The film is directed by John "Bud" Cardos and he wisely uses real tarantulas instead of fake rubber looking spiders.

This decion is great especially in the scene where William Shatner is covered in spiders and even has one on his face!

REAL Spiders!

There are also some very good shots in this film.

The local sheriff vits a woman on her farm and tells her that her husband was killed in a car accident.

She loses it and embraces the sheriff in a tender moment.

As this happens the camera pans back and we see a spider crouched on a fence post watching them.

And as the sheriff leaves the spider comes out of it's crouch and starts towards the woman's house. That is not to say that the film doesn't have it's moments of "Huh?" or "Really?".

The biggest problem with Kingdom of the Spiders is that the spiders themselves just don't seem all that ambitious when on screen.

You see them either moving at a snails pace or not moving at all.

Even the victims themselves seem to be struck dumb when they are "attacked".

They mply t and take it or just freeze up and scream. Anyone who has seen this movie remembers how it ends.

The ending is a clasc and brings a grin to one's face when you realize at the same time as the survivors do how this is going to turn out.

The final shot before the end credits roll is a chiller.As far as the script goes there is some clever writing here and there is a small explanation about the uses of DDT and how the tarantulas food source has been wiped out caung them to look elsewhere for sustanance. Is it as good or as scary as Arachnaphobia.

No clearly not.

The spiders in Arachnaphobia are far more ambitious than the spiders in this film. As for my final thought, Kingdom of the Spiders, while not perfect, is a really good flick to turn on at night with the lights out and a tub of popcorn and have fun scaring yourself. Final score:

***1/2 out of *****

JohnCarpenterfan Sunday 1/15/2012 at 09:28 PM | 89509