...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*.
*I obviously wrote this a while ago, because it's been available on Instant for quite a while now. Deal with it, you freaky perfectionists!
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."