TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977)

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KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977)

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Plot of the flick is fairly simple. When pesticides kill off their natural prey, the usually solitary tarantulas surrounding the remote town of Camp Verde, Arizona form a massive colony to attack larger prey such as farm animals and humans. Local veterinarian Rack Hansen (William Shatner) teams up with pretty arachnologist Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bolling) to try to stop the wave of hungry spiders as it closes in on the town.

Nature run amok flick is directed by John “Bud” Cardos from a script by Alan Caillou and Richard Robinson. It’s a spooky flick with many chilling scenes, especially for those who might have a problem with spiders. Anyone with arachnophobia will definitely have a hard time here. This might possibly be Cardos’ best movie as he hits all the right notes and his straightforward directing style works perfectly, as a slow burn is what this story needs. A problem effecting one farm, slowly builds into an invasion of an entire town and it’s done very well. The presentation of armies of spiders is very effective and looks like hundreds were used in filming. There is also some decent enough make-up FX to simulate spider bites and who isn’t given the willies by seeing someone wrapped up in a web as a spider snack. There is suspense, tension and watching spiders pouring out of air vents or surrounding a little girl on her bed, are goose-bump inducing. There are a few cheesy FX, such as the matte paintings used during the still very effective climax, but otherwise this is a little movie that smartly stayed within it’s means and spent it’s $1 million budget well. By today’s standards it could be seen as tame and slow moving, but the restraint and pace does work in it’s favor. When things do happen it’s all the more effective.

Cast are really good here. Cardos even reigns in Shatner a bit. Sure Shatner plays his country veterinarian as a bit of a Romeo, but the character also has some depth, as he is a bit of a drinker and torn over the feelings he has for his dead brother’s widow, Terry (Marcy Lafferty). It makes him more of a human hero. Tiffany Bolling is good as the sexy scientist that catches Rack’s eye, as well as, investigates his spider problem. She stands on equal ground with the heroic veterinarian and it makes it interesting. The then Mrs. William Shatner, Marcy Lafferty, is sweet yet a bit emotionally troubled as Terry. She has feeling for Rack, too, but is still mourning and loyal to her husband, who died in the Viet Nam War. Again it gives the characters a little depth. Little Natasha Ryan is cute as Terry’s daughter and Rack’s niece Linda and legendary athlete turned actor Woody Strode is perfectly cast as a farmer with a serious arachnid problem.

In conclusion, this is a solid and sometimes chilling nature run amok flick. It keeps it’s story simple with nature, in the form of tarantulas, making lethal adjustments to their habits to counter man’s interference. The spider sequences are really well done and effective and director John “Bud” Cardos’ down to earth style, keeps the flick grounded, realistic and scary. The FX are effective, for the most part and the film knows how to give you the willies. A solid horror with a good cast of humans and spiders.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3  (out of 4) webs.

 

 

 

 

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE DAY TIME ENDED (1980)

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THE DAY TIME ENDED (1980)

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The Day Time Ended is an inept 1980 sci-fi low budgeter from legendary schlockmeister Charles Band. It’s basically a random bunch of special effects scenes strung together by the thinest of plots. Silly flick has a triple super nova causing a “space/time warp”, to quote one of the characters, that seems to center around a single desert house to the annoyance of it’s occupants. They are besieged by various UFOs and stop motion animated aliens and creatures and then the house itself starts to travel in and out of other dimensions. The flick then comes to an abrupt and absurd happy ending that leaves things wide open for a sequel.

Flick is directed with no life or energy by John ‘Bud’ Cardos (Kingdom Of The Spiders, Mutant) from a script by three people, no less. The acting is terrible, as is the dialog, and the characters are prone to making the stupidest decisions. My favorite of these being when searching for a lost little girl, grandpa carries a gun and almost shoots her, but grandpa leaves the gun in the house when going out to investigate noises in the barn. Makes perfect sense! Except for some nice stop motion animation from the late David Allen, the special FX are as cheesy as one can imagine, for a flick like this and it’s tedious even at only 79 minutes long. Actually saw this one in a theater…my favorite grind house, The Oritani Theater in Hackensack, NJ.

Only bother if you are a David Allen or Charles Band completest or simply enjoy bad cheesy low budget flicks of this era. Also stars Dorothy Malone (Peyton Place), Jim Davis (Dallas) and Chris Mitchum (son of the legendary Robert Mitchum).

MONSTERZERO NJ’S EXTRA TRIVIA: Star Marcy Lafferty was, at the time, William Shatner’s second wife and Shatner himself had starred in John ‘Bud’ Cardos’ Kingdom Of The Spiders three years earlier. Coincidence?…we may never know!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 (out of 4) David Allen critters that deserved a better movie.

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