Earth vs. the Spider on DVD
Another of Columbia Tristar's Creature Features, this ripping yarn is
kind of "Spiderman meets the Fly," with a little bit of Alien
thrown in at the end, and is a wonderful guilty pleasure.
Devon Gummersall stars as Quentin Kemmer, the sort of comic book aficionado
and all round geek that many of this movie's viewers will be able to identify
with. He's a security guard and small time loser, who happens to be in
the wrong place at the wrong time when the biotech lab he helps guard
is broken into and the people there, including his friend and work partner,
are gunned down in cold blood.
There wasn't really anything Quentin could have done, but it looks bad
and he's denigrated by the police for supposed incompetence, leaving him
psychologically shattered and determined that, next time, he'll be unstoppable.
Happily for him (at least at first), the lab did experiments on spiders
so, in keeping with his love for "The Arachnid Avenger" of comic
book fame (named such, perhaps, to avoid a messy legal fight over the
use of "Spiderman"), he injects himself with a serum laced with
This is where "The Fly" analogies come into play, particularly
the David Cronenburg version. Quentin starts changing.
At first, the changes seem positive, giving him heightened abilities
that help him do a nice little bit of crime fighting. But of course the
longer the stuff stays in his system (and it's there to stay!), the more
he changes. He learns to spin webs, which is pretty gross but niftily
done - and gradually he starts to become more spider (sorry, "arachnid,"
in case there are any Marvel comics lawyers reading this!) than man.
And he develops these hungers
Dan Aykroyd co-stars as a police officer Jack Grillo, another supposed
loser who (thanks to the lab break-in and, later, Quentin) gets a chance
for redemption. Also along for the ride are Amelia Heinle as the girl
next door to Quentin and Theresa Russell as Jack's slutty shrew of a wife.
It's neat ride, with a screenplay that, even though you know exactly
what's going to happen (it's a Creature Feature, after all), still spins
a nicely dramatic web populated by three dimensional characters and with
just enough chills (without being excessively gross) to keep fans of such
movies more than happy.
This is another title from Samuel Z. Arkoff and Stan Winston and it's
a classic horror movie fan's dream come true. These are "old fashioned"
creature features done in the classic sense, but with modern production
values and special effects that are as state-of-the-art as the films'
relatively low budgets allow.
The low budget actually enhances these packages. These are not Big Slick
Hollywood productions. Rather they appear more like labors of love from
people who are obviously paying homage to the movies on which they grew
up and cut their teeth.
The DVD is well produced, too. Columbia Tristar presents it offering
both an anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible) version and a Pan&Scan
version on the same side of the disc. The picture quality is very good,
with nice resolution and color - and just enough deep shadows to keep
your hair standing on end. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and the sound quality
is for the most part excellent, though we thought they could have turned
down the bass a bit; our walls were rattling at a volume level at which
most DVD's would merely be humming along nicely.
Extras include a "making of" featurette, photo gallery, filmographies
A delicious disc.
Earth Vs. the Spider, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
90 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan,
Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Devon Gummersall, Dan Aykroyd, Amelia Heinle
Produced by Lou Arkoff, Stan Winston, Colleen Camp
Written by Gary Solomon & Chuck Kunzelman and Max Enscoe & Annie
de Young, Directed by Scott Ziehl.
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