For the MST3K episode, see MST3K 810 - The Giant Spider Invasion.

Synopsis

A meteor arrives on Earth, where it lands in the back pasture of a rural family. A giant spider emerges and starts laying rock-like eggs from which hatch tarantulas. A NASA scientist and an astrophysicist must figure out a way to destroy the monster before it and its children can ravage the countryside.

Cast

Information

"Packers fans... the horrible truth"

  • Alan Hale Jr. greets Davey (Kevin Brodie) in the opening scene with the line, "Hi, little buddy!" This is a reference to his role as The Skipper on Gilligan's Island.
  • The budget for the film was around $250,000.
  • Dan and Ev have a conversation which includes the exchange:
Ev: "I'm sorry I missed the sermon. What was it about?"
Dan: "Sin."
Ev: "What did the minister say about it?"
Dan: "He was against it."
This is taken from an anecdote from the life of United States President Calvin Coolidge (nicknamed "Silent Cal"), about a conversation that he and his wife reportedly once had.
  • A dramatic shot was planned of the giant spider crushing the house by having the spider dropped from a crane onto it while a bulldozer chained to the back of the house would pull away. However, when the shot was filmed, the spider's legs all went straight up into the air. The crew inside working its arms were nearly killed when broken wood from the destroyed house came up through the spider and came close to impaling them.
  • Another planned sequence involved a big spider in a tree bursting into flames. To achieve this, director Bill rebane covered a large prop spider with gunpowder and had two crew members sitting above it in the tree who would drop a match on the spider. The director got the camera up to a very fast fps to achieve a slow motion look, and had them drop the first match. Nothing happened, so they dropped a second. Still nothing happened, so they lit the entire book of matches and dropped it on the spider. With nothing happening, the director turned off the camera - and immediately afterwards a huge explosion and fireball shot up, burning the hair off of the crew members and starting several small brush fires. Rebane was reportedly furious that he wasn't able to get the shot on film.

    Alan Hale Jr. in The Giant Spider Invasion

  • In a scene depicting the "giant spiders" attacking a little league baseball game, the "spiders" are Volkswagen Beetles with puppet legs attached. Tread marks from the VW's tires can actually be seen in several camera angles.
  • This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie® Movie Guide.
  • In an interview, director Bill Rebane said that shooting on the film began before the script was complete. Rebane added that the script was revised numerous times throughout the shoot.
  • According to Bill Rebane, the two writers on the film each approached the story from different directions. Richard L. Huff wrote the original story and kept a very serious tone to the first draft of the script. Robert Easton lent the film a comical tone, writing most of the colorful dialog for his character and the other locals. The film's rather infamous jokes are credited to him as well. Combining both writers material resulted in an odd-ball tone for the script.
  • Bill Rebane said that the hot summer temperatures were quite tough on the cast and crew. At times the temperature on location would be 100 degrees and on the sets it would reach 120 degree due to the studio lighting.
  • Director Bill Rebane once dubbed the film "The Giant Spider Disaster" in an interview, referring to how problematic the production was.
  • Nearly all of the night scenes were shot day-for-night. The scenes were darkened in post production. Some of the footage was darkened too much to be clearly seen, but was still used in the film.
  • In May 2005 there was a Bill Rebane film festival at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin that featured this film. Hosting the festival were Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy. Nelson and Murphy said despite their lampooning of the film on MST3K they actually admired Rebane because he was able to make the film with such a low budget.
  • David Hoff, who provides the radio voice of the helicopter pilot, was a pilot for the Wisconsin Air Guard.

    "Packers won the super bowl!"

  • Stars Steve Brodie and Barbara Hale pulled in family members to play supporting roles in the film. Brodie's son Kevin Brodie played Dave Perkins and Hale's husband Bill Williams came in to play the role of Dutch.
  • It took nine people to work the fake spider legs on the Volkswagen Beetle that was used for the giant spider. The people would have to huddle together on boards nailed to the inside of the stripped vehicle.
  • Since the driver of the infamous spider-car couldn't see where the vehicle was going, extras would often have to push the vehicle to guide it, while at the same time having to pretend they were fleeing from the 'giant spider'.
  • Originally the spiders in the film were supposed to be only about 10 feet in length but the producers insisted that if the film were going to compete with Jaws (1975), which was released around the same time, the size of the spiders would have to be increased to pose more threat.

    A side view of the frame for the VW/giant spider hybrid, photographed in Gleason, WI in late 2010. Since then, the frame has disappeared.

  • In November 2010, the frame from the VW/giant spider hybrid was prominently displayed in Gleason, Wisconsin next the the U.S. Post Office (pictures below). Since then the frame has disappeared. Its whereabouts are currently unknown.
  • The Giant Spider Invasion became a RiffTrax Live presentation in 2019.
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