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Eight Legged Freaks

Eight Legged Freaks on DVD

In the grand tradition of atomic-age monster movies and horror films that refuse to take themselves seriously comes Eight Legged Freaks.

The movie’s blend of horror and comedy reminds us of “Lake Placid,” “Army of Darkness,” or “Tremors,” and we’re confident that fans of any of these other horror/comic classics will enjoy Eight Legged Freaks just as much.

The movie, not surprisingly, is about gigantic mutated spiders terrorizing the small Arizona town of Prosperity. Despite the town’s name, it’s really on its last legs; the gold mine appears to be a bust and the town’s proudest civic project, a big enclosed shopping mall, appears on its last legs as well. In fact, the mayor (Leon Rippy) is advising the residents to sell out and move when all hell breaks loose.

The spiders come courtesy of an exotic spider farm just outside of town where the critters have been fed industrial waste-laden food and start growing to many times their normal size. The only one who really knows what’s going on is a kid (Scott Terra), but of course no one will believe him.

The stars, ostensibly in this ensemble cast, are David Arquette as a Prosperity native who returns home after ten years determined to reopen the gold mine and Kari Wuhrer as the local sheriff (whose son Mike is the kid who knows the real dirt). They play the parts mostly straight, though there are some great throwaway lines throughout the movie that force you to chuckle even as your skin crawls from all the creepy crawlies on the screen with them.

Just about every horror movie stereotype you can think of is here, lampooned beautifully. We have the horny teenagers, the conspiracy theorist, corrupt politician, you name it.

The spiders, for the most part, are very well done (a few shots don’t stand up to even casual scrutiny, but somehow it doesn’t matter) and there are so many of them they’re guaranteed to freak out those with a spider phobia.

The movie itself delivers everything you'd want from this type of flick. Though there’s really nothing original about the story, that actually works in the film’s favor as it lampoons itself and its genre.

The DVD really does this creature feature justice, too. We received the anamorphic widescreen version, fortunately, (a Pan&Scan version, alas, is sold separately) and the picture quality is outstanding. Colors are bright and the images are sharp and clean and free of foreign objects.

Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and it’s also very good, with nice surround use just when you need it most.

The extras aren’t quite up to snuff, though one of them is the short film “Larger Than Life,” director Ellory Elkayem’s original version of the concept, one that got seen by the people with the clout to pull off this expanded and enhanced version. The short’s pretty good, too.

You also get a running commentary by the director, producer, and co-stars, some extremely limited cast/crew info (Arquette is the only actor with a filmography), some deleted/changed scenes (one per “freaks’ leg”), a short text essay on other giant thingy movies, and the trailer. There’s also some DVD ROM material.

This is definitely a classic guilty pleasure!

Eight Legged Freaks, from Warner Home Video
99 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan (sold separately), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Doug. E. Doug, Scarlett Johansson
Produced by Dean Devlin and Bruce Berman
Written by Jesse Alexander & Ellory Elkayem, Directed by Ellory Elkayem


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Updated May 13, 2006