313. Earth vs. The Spider (1958)

Small towns face-to-face with adversity. Shadow of a Doubt (1943), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Blob (1958). Everyone knows everyone and inside that circle all hell breaks loose. A nice uncle from out east, a lifetime of good deeds unseen, corrosive Jell-O on a tear, the group beats back Yahoo Serious and civilization endures. Until the next monster movie at least. Inside The Robot Mind, Cheese Phone, CD Blow Drier, Speech, Earth vs. Soup, Spidorr, The Cool Toys of the Past, Homework. “This film’s a capitol idea”, “Hey Charlotte, it spells out a word”, “I’m putting my money on the spider.” “Hey, this film’s slipping us a mickey” or “This spider keeps eating the credits”?

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When’s Crow gonna publish the unknown Earth vs. Soup?!

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Earth vs. Soup.

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Earth vs. The Spider (1958) Trailer.

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The Spider Visits City Hall.

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Imagine If They Had The Budget To Show It All.

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Earth vs. The Spider (1958) Theme.

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I feel like I haven’t seen this one in a long time, but it’s a black and white monster flick so I’m all for it. Plus we begin the long-running Earth vs. Soup saga and get to rock out with Spy-Dor!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wander around this totally safe cave for a while and then dance next to the totally dead corpse of the monster.

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Where there’s one spider, there’s more spiders. They didn’t think of that.

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The short is pretty much what it says in the title. It helps that the narrator avoids the authoritarian pomposity often encountered in the instructional shorts of this era. Though whoever wrote the script doesn’t appear to have thought through the phrasing of the advice to use plenty of lip and tongue action.

The main feature is a Bert I. Gordon Giant Rampaging Critter film which originally had the title The Spider. The alternate title used in this print is quite misleading, as it implies either a threat that is extraterrestrial in origin or at least international in its scope. Instead, it comes from a nearby cave and menaces a small southwestern town. Elements of the teen angst films of the 1950s are injected in a similar vein as The Blob. Also like The Blob, several of these “teens” are clearly in their twenties or even thirties. But then it’s easier than trying to comply with Coogan laws.

A key difference from The Blob is that the two high schooler leads, rather than being key to defeating the monster, are a danger to themselves and others as they cause the complication that must be dealt with in the third act. It’s pretty clear that, compared to teen exploitation flicks from someone like Roger Corman, Mr. Gordon does not have a high opinion of Kids These Days. As is typical with a Bert I. Gordon film, the special effects are erratic, with the spider frequently changing its size and sometimes coloration.

On the host segment front, we see the origin of two of Crow’s recurring shticks. The first is his ambitions as a screenwriter with the introduction of Earth vs Soup. Then there’s how, whenever the Bots are assigned to do a school report involving the feature, Crow’s effort will involve a bit of halfhearted research mixed with a bunch of made-up details. Even people who aren’t uptight, pretentious film snobs can regard his thesis on the parallels between the filmographies of Bert I. Gordon and Orson Welles as fundamentally flawed.

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The Cave Of The Flying Wallendas.

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Incidentally, the spider’s web wasn’t sticky. What’s the point of a non-sticky spider web?

What was it eating in that cave anyway?

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Dad?

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Top 10 episode for me. The movie alone merits it, but the short is one of the best ever.

Hey, it’s Carol’s Dad’s Caverns!

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I’m still bummed that Crow is pitching This Island Earth instead of Earth vs. Soup in the Onyx Path Media ads in the gizmoplex

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@optiMSTie Bert I. Gordon in MST3K. Where is this in the Mr. B.I.G. arena of MSTs?

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Best of 313.

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Early Tanning Beds.

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I recently discovered this one and it ticks all the B.I.G. boxes for me. I’ve since rewatched it, so that’s high praise.

I do love when adults play teenagers…

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Death Count.