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Eight Legged Freaks


Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug, Rick Overton, Leon Rippy and Eileen Ryan
Directed By: Ellory Elkayem
Rated: PG-13


You want spiders? You got spiders! About 200 multi-specimen creeping fellows growing faster than fat multiplies on Rosie O'Donnell thighs! Okay, if you expect a fancy plot or some of that high falutin dialog so popular these days with all the 'intelligent' films out there, you will be saddly disappointed. But hey it's summer! There's nothing like a good "Drive-In" style movie complete with the right combo of cheesy shock tactics, schlocky love scenes, and two hundred brilliantly digitalized attacking gigantic spiders! Eight Legged Freaks is a plain old funfest at the movies!

Of course you'll be hard pressed to find a Drive- In location nowa days, but Eight Legged Freaks has so much camp and subtle homage to the sci-fi genre that brought us Empire of the Ants (1977) or say, Giant Leeches (1959) and a with a billion times the special effects of Giant Spider Invasion (1975) you may just want to make the effort. If not just hit the multiplex and remember to keep telling yourself…. they are fake…. they are fake…. the spiders, not the cast.

The story (hehe) goes a large man is plodding along in his utility truck that's carrying ominous barrels stacked in the back. What's that? Oh, of course there's bright yellow "hazard" signs painted on the side with foreboding chemical radioactive style jargon. Did you expect less? The man swerves off the road to avoid hitting a fluffy critter resting in the road. He's safe but guess what? Yep, one of those pesky dangerous mystery liquid filled barrels got away and plunked right down into the roadside creek…

Along comes a strange man a couple of weeks later. He's the local strange ranger/ spider farmer down the road. He's gathering some chow for his bevy of hungry arachnids back at the "spider zoo." But those crickets he's got aren't too healthy after drinking up all that radiactive contaminated water…

Meanwhile… the old mining town the aracnid-phile calls home is being tempted to sell off their land. A land riddled with used mines….used mines filled with methane gas.

Also thrown into the super obvious plot- along -the -dotted -lines scenario is the arrival of the town's old favorite, Chris (David Arquette) . Chris has been gone some ten years but he's come back to work the mines his departed father left him and find the allusive mother load daddy claimed to have found just before he blew up from the…methane gas in the mine.

There are about three more instances where Arquette alludes to the methane gas down there in the mine. If he broke fourth wall and looked out at the audience and mentioned that methane gas directly to us I was joining to wet my pants. He didn't thank gawd.

What's this? The town's pets and livestock are disappearing? There appears to be something hiding in the mines? Bet it has something to do with the Spider Zoo and that pesky barrel of toxic waste. Now how are they going to stop all those carnivorous spiders down there in the old mines no longer filled with gold but.....methane gas?

Comedian Doug E. Doug plays the town's resident alien fanatic who also runs an entertaining radio show about invasions and conspiracies. He's a funny guy and the banter he bulleted out was hysterical.

Another funny-guy, Rick Overton, does a guffaw-inducing job as the bumbling Fife-like town deputy Pete.

David Arquette playing hero Chris, acted better in this farce than just about anything I've ever had the pleasure of seeing him in. Maybe this style we-know-it's-stupid-and-we're-not-trying-to -apologize-come-play-with-us movie is his nitch? I think he's ready for more but pay is pay after all. Dave's a talented man stuck in that area of pigeon hole actor's dread. Pray for him - he has more in him. Here he was fun, as always, and his timing was great.

Kari Wuhrer played Sam the town sheriff and, naturally, Arquette's love interest. She was fun as the straight man, er, woman just trying to save her town and family from the beasts.

Eileen Ryan, real-life mom of Sean, Michael and Chris Penn, was classic as the ever-smoking, tough chick aunt Gladys. You know that 'meet ya at the Elks for some belts -o-booze type. A very funny, even if stereotypical, character.

ELF is oozing good old fashion nonsense filled with hearty laughs, a billions super creepy moments and some genuine adrenaline pumping bits.The excitement comes mostly from the graphic spider attacks. The CGI wizards are merciless with these eight legged villains. DO NOT SEE THIS if you have a fear of spiders or you will need shock treatment - honestly. Three of my own party declined to continue to the theater when they heard the subject matter. But the rest of you take your sci-fi lovin' kinfolk and friends and get ready to laugh, shudder, and quiver! It's not a film noir, but it's not meant to be. Go, laugh, enjoy.

Snack recommendation: Chocolate covered spiders and a diet coke.


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