Jun 16, 2009

Spider Baby

...or, The Maddest Story Ever Told

I've had this movie on my Netflix queue for just about forever. Spider Baby is the name and it is a cult classic starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and Sid Haig.  It supposedly was a big influence to a whole host of horror filmmakers including Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Rob Zombie (House of 1,000 Corpses).  I've always wanted to see it, but it was always a "very long wait" to get the DVD so I stopped moving it up to one of the top spots on my queue.

But last week Netflix made the film available for instant streaming so Gia and I were able to watch it this weekend.


It truly may be the maddest story ever told.  It's about a family of two sisters and a severely retarded brother who are in the care of the family's, um, caretaker.  At first we the viewers are unaware of what has happened to the parents of the children, but we soon discover that the entire family suffers from a rare disease that cause a social and psychological regression soon after the 14th year.  Eventually, each family member becomes something of a primordial beast with no reason whatsoever.

A couple of distant relatives decide that they want the family fortune so they hire a lawyer (awesomely named Schlocker) to determine if the children can be made wards of the state.  A night of wackiness ensues when they decide that they are going to spend the night with the creepiest family this side of the Borgia's. 

One of the daughters is obsessed with spiders, even acting like one on several muderous occasions.   That's her up top there in the picture.  If you can't tell, badness is about to happen.  You see, neither of the daughters or the caretaker want the general public to know of their "secret".  And their brother Ralphie isn't much more than a simpleton at this stage of his disease, but he has become sexually active.  Yeah.

Inbreeding, rape, murder, incest and cat killing are all part of the joy ride.  It's only that last one that really bothered me, but I heard they taste like rabbit so I guess it is okay.

One of my favorite parts?  The title theme, sung by Lon Chaney, Jr. himself.


The film has fallen into the public domain, so you can all watch if for free in a few places on the Web. Cult Reviews is a good one. Check it out, if you are in the mood from some schlocky horror/comedy fun.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. "This has gone well beyond the boundaries of prudence and good taste."


Barlinnie said...

The photie attached is remarkably striking and offers up many wonderful moments of inspiration.

Again.. great post sir.

savannah said...

mantan moreland? holy moley, sugar! and then, that theme song...thank the movie gods for netflix streaming!!! xooxo

Avitable said...

I might have to check that out! Sid Haig is one creepy, creepy guy.

2abes said...

maybe one day i'll catch it....love those old black and whites

Verdant Earl said...

Jimmy - The great thing about the two daughters was how crazy they both were and how beautiful at the same time. They seemed young in the film, but both actresses were in their 20's when they filmed it in 1964.

Savannah - Yeah, this was Moreland's last significant feature. He suffered a stroke soon afterward.

Avitable - And he was super creepy in this one. In fact, it was Sid Haig that steered me toward this film in the first place. I saw a pic of him as Ralphie and I was creeped out enough to put it on my queue.

Verdant Earl said...

2abes - if you don't have Netflix you can watch it anytime on that Cult Reviews site I mentioned.

Slyde said...

i have heard of this one, but never seen it.. maybe i'll check it out this weekend.

Verdant Earl said...

Slyde - you are going to love that Cult Review site.

Heff said...

I'm still waiting for Wil Harrison to hook up my totally free Netflix account, then I'll get in to stuff like this !

Callie said...

I'm going to have to see that.

One of it's alternate titles is "The Liver Eaters".

So cool!

Verdant Earl said...

Heff - in the meantime you can watch it on Cultreviews.com

Callie - You know what I love? I love when I take the time to put in link to something and one of y'all actually follows it to read about it. Very cool. Thanks!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

The Maddest Story Ever Told, not quite of the family friendy variety.

There was a que for this film on Netflix??

Verdant Earl said...

Candy - well that's how Netflix works. You either put it on your DVD queue or your Instant queue to watch in the future. The DVDs come in the order they are in on your queue, but you can watch the Instant films anytime you want. This one just became available for Instant watching on the PC or TV (if you have a Roku player or similar device).

Michelle said...

Creepy but I can't look away!!

I need to view this!!! Should I bring my mommy?

Verdant Earl said...

Michelle - or your mummy. Har har har.

Dr Zibbs said...

I've got to see this!


Verdant Earl said...

Zibbs - it is cray-zeee!

sybil law said...

That really, really looks like a movie I'd love.
Thanks for the info!!

Faiqa said...

That looks like it would be really creepy or really stupid. I can't figure out from your post which one?

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - Hope you like it!

Faiqa - You know the beauty of it? It was both. Creepy and stupid. And fun and wonderful and all sorts of other things.

teeni said...

Oh this sounds right up my alley. I'm definitely going to give it a view. Thanks for pointing it out.