Yoinked from wikipedia and badmovies.org with my bad movie knowledge mixed in ...
"Tarantula is a 1955 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold, and starring Leo G. Carroll, John Agar, and Mara Corday. Among other things, the film is notable for the appearance of a 25-year-old Clint Eastwood in an uncredited role as a jet pilot at the end of the film.
The plot concerns a biological researcher, Professor Gerald Deemer who is trying to prevent the food shortages which will result from the world's expanding population. With the help of atomic science, he invents a special nutrient on which animals can live exclusively, but which causes them to grow to many times their normal size. In his laboratory, he houses several oversized rodents and, inexplicably, a tarantula.
This film, although it might not seem like it, stands as a turning point for Universal who, even into the fifties, shot atmospheric horror with their legendary cannon of monsters. Even when they went humor with Abbot and Costello, their films remained spooky and atmospheric even when the script did not. This film showed the effect of the "atom" age. Gone were castles and full moons. Now for Universal, to borrow a line from the film Ed Wood, "it's all giant bugs, giant grasshoppers" from Tarantula on out. And as far as giant animal attack films go, this one stands above all others as the undisputed king.
The special effects for both the giant animals and the unfortunate scientist's deformity are fairly advanced for the time, with real animals (including a rabbit and a guinea pig in Professor Deemer's lab) being used to represent the giant creatures.
A real spider was also used for shots where the whole monster was shown, with models reserved for close-ups (and its skyscraper-sized version), resulting in a rather more convincing monster than the giant ants in the previous year's big-bug film, Them!.
The movie was filmed in and around the rock formations of 'Dead Man's Point' Lucerne Valley CA, a frequently used movie location for many early western films. Like Them!, Tarantula makes atmospheric use of its desert locations; and although a radioactive isotope does make an appearance, it differs from most big-bug films in having the mutation caused by the peaceful research of a well-intentioned scientist rather than nuclear weapons and/or a mad genius. Arnold was to use matte effects again two years later to show miniaturization rather than gigantism in The Incredible Shrinking Man, which also featured an encounter with a spider.
Bottom line: as far as giant mutated animal destroying things and causing general chaos, there are a lot worse movies you could watch than this, a fairly solid campfest from Universal right BEFORE they lost their horror movie mojo!"
Steve's Snacks Of The Week:
Chocolate Ice Cream
Confusion Over My Birthday Being Ruined Yesterday
Loads Of Free Time
... AND NOW, Steve and this blog are both PROUD to once again present today's Church-less Movie of the Week in its entirety FOR FREE! Please, though, a few rules first. There's absolutely no talking in Steve's Theater and talkers WILL be raped ... although RAPE IS NOT A JOKE!
Anyways, no cell phones or African-American berries in the theater. No open flames. Dispose of all trash in its proper receptacle. And absolutely NO TEXTING! I am so super serious about that last one.
And be sure to dim your headlights (where applicable).
ENJOY THE SHOW, Y'ALL!
YOU'RE WELCOME, WORLD!
And here are the Sunday movies that we've seen so far ...
December 7th, 2008: Godzilla VS Mecha-Godzilla
December 14th: Godzilla VS Mothra (free to watch)
December 21st: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (free to watch)
December 28th: Lord of the Rings (Rifftrack edition)
January 4th, 2009: Godzilla VS The Sea Monster
January 11th: Series 7 (free to watch)
January 18th: House of Wax
January 25th: Police Story 3
February 1st: Left Behind the Movie (free to watch)
February 15th: Godzilla VS Megalon
February 22nd: Jesus Christ Superstar (free to watch)
March 1st (part 1): Duck Soup
March 1st (part 2): Godzilla Final Wars
March 8th (part 1): Godzilla VS The Smog Monster
March 8th (part 2): The Three Caballeros
March 15th: Sonny Chiba's "The Street Fighter" (free to watch)
March 29th (part 1): I Bury The Living (free to watch)
March 29th (part 2): Drive-In Massacre (free to watch)
April 15th: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (free to watch)
April 25th (part 1): Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
April 25th (part 2): Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S. (free to watch)
May 3rd (part 1): Sex Madness (free to watch)
May 3rd (part 2): Frankenstein Conquers the World
May 10th (part 1): Muppet Treasure Island
May 10th (part 2): La Bamba (free to watch)
May 17th: Mothra (free to watch)
May 31st: Mega-Shark VS Giant Octopus (free to watch)
June 7th: Tommy (free to watch)
June 14th (part 1): Roger Corman's Fantastic Four (free to watch)
June 14th (part 2): Rodan (free to watch)
June 24th: MST3K's Godzilla VS Megalon (free to watch)
June 28th: Last Man On Earth (free to watch)
July 5th (part 1): Over The Top
July 5th (part 2): Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (free to watch)
July 12th (part 1): Air Guitar Nation
July 12th (part 2): Cockfight/We Are The Children (free to watch)
July 19th (part 1): Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves the World) (free to watch)
July 19th (part 2): Turist Ömer (free to watch)
August 2nd: The Marx Bros' At the Circus (free to watch)
August 9th (part 1): MST3K's Marooned (free to watch)
August 9th (part 2): First Spaceship On Venus (free to watch)
August 16th (part 1): The Atomic Cafe (free to watch)
August 16th (part 2): MST3K's Night of the Blood Beast (free to watch)
August 30th: God Told Me To Kill (free to watch)
September 3rd: Rebirth Of Mothra (free to watch)
September 6th: Cinema Insomnia's The Wasp Woman (free to watch)
September 13th (part 1): A Bucket Of Blood (free to watch)
September 13th (part 2): Cinema Insomnia's Prince Of Space (free to watch)
september 21st: Theater of Blood (free to watch)
September 27th (part 1): The Brain That Wouldn't Die (free to watch)
September 27th (part 2):MST3K's Amazing Colossal Man (free to watch)
October 11th: Horror of Spider Island (free to watch)
October 18th (part 1): I Woke Up Early The Day I Died
October 18th (part 2): Earth VS The Flying Saucers (free to watch)
October 25th (part 1): Frogs (free to watch)
October 25th (part 2): King Kong Escapes
November 1st: The Thing With Two Heads (free to watch)
November 8th: Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle For Earth (free to watch)
November 15th (Franken-Week, Day 7): Frankenstein Conquers the World (free to watch)
November 22nd: The Giant Gila Monster (free to watch)
November 29th: MST3K Gamera Triple Feature (free to watch)
December 6th (part 1): She Demons (free to watch)
December 6th (part 2): MST3K's The Incredible Melting Man (free to watch)
December 13th: A Triple Threat of Riffs
December 20th: Manos (free to watch)
December 24th: Christmas Eve Bonus - Manster (free to watch)
December 27th (part 1): The Screaming Skull (free to watch)
December 27th (part 2): The Sadist/Eegah (free to watch)
January 3rd, 2010: Wrestling With Shadows (free to watch)
January 17th (part 1): Teenage Zombies (free to watch)
January 17th (part 2): Horror of the Zombies (free to watch)
January 24th: The Crawling Hand/The Monster That Challenged The World (free to watch)
January 30th: Atom Age Vampire, the Steve-a-fied Edition (free to watch)
February 14th: House On Haunted Hill-Original and Remake (free to watch)
February 21st: Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory (free to watch)
February 28th: The Atomic Brain LIVE in Steve's Living Room
March 7th: Lady Frankenstein (free to watch)
March 14th (part 1): Castle of Evil (free to watch)
March 14th (part 2): Tormented (free to watch)
March 21st: A.P.E (WARNING: movie contains a line about RAPE which may offend your more easily offended co-workers)