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Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition (DVD Review)

16 Jan, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 1/19/10
Shout! Factory
$19.99 DVD
Rated ‘PG’ for mild language, crude humor and some thematic elements.
Stars William Shatner, Tiffany Bolling, Woody Strode, Roy Engel, Lieux Dressler.

Fanboys will get a kick out of this new DVD of the 1977 cult-classic Kingdom of the Spiders, which set the stage for fancier thrillers such as Arachnophobia and Eight Legged Freaks.

The plot, heavily influenced by other animal-versus-man thrillers such as Jaws and The Birds, involves an Arizona town overrun by deadly tarantulas that attack everything they see after people have decimated their habitat with pesticides.

In one of the featurettes on the DVD, screenwriter Steve Lodge says the story was meant as a throwback to 1950s horror movies. The final movie turns to be very similar to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, with tarantulas instead of zombies.

It all adds up to a perfect drinking game movie you can watch on a Saturday night with friends while knocking back six packs and shots.

Shatner, playing a local veterinarian who treats the animals that get bitten, is having too much fun as a wannabe John Wayne, riding around on horses, drinking beers three at a time and hitting on every moderately attractive gal who waltzes through town.

Reflecting on the role, Shatner discusses how working with the spiders inspired him to take up environmental causes.

I think the most interesting new extra is a short interview with spider wrangler Jim Bockett, who shows a number of varieties of tarantulas, giving viewers a good sense of why certain species are chosen for the cinema.

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