Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grooming Deals Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Voyage Cyber Monday Sweepstakes in Prime Music Outdoor Deals on HTL
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Tarantula (1955) [VHS]

143 customer reviews

Additional Other options Edition Discs
New from Used from
(Apr 08, 1997)
"Please retry"

Best of 2015
This Year's Top Products Shop the Editors' picks at Amazon including Movies, Music, Games, and more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Actors: John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Ross Elliott
  • Directors: Jack Arnold
  • Writers: Jack Arnold, Martin Berkeley, Robert M. Fresco
  • Producers: William Alland
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: April 8, 1997
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302763835
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,568 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

When the radiation-spawned giant ants of Them! swarmed over American screens to become one the most successful films of 1954, it didn't take long for the rest of the insect kingdom to follow suit. The best of these mutant bug movies is Jack Arnold's giddy Tarantula, with Leo G. Carroll as a scientist whose experimental, radiation-treated nutritional supplements transform the title creature into a rampaging monster. The hungry arachnid graduates from rabbits to cattle to people as it grows and creeps across the barren countryside in search of food, dwarfing the desert hills in simple but unsettling special effects shots. John Agar plays the square-jawed doctor who tries to warn the local populace of the impending menace and Clint Eastwood has a bit as an Air Force pilot called in to bomb the now mountain-sized spider. It's an essentially silly story with plenty of heroic dashing about and monster-movie tropes ("See its mandibles crush cars like a tin cans!"), but Arnold, one of the most talented and thoughtful genre directors of the 1950s (It Came From Outer Space, The Incredible Shrinking Man), creates a surprisingly eerie mood with his austere visual style and winds the film up with his tension-building rapid pacing. Composer-playwright Richard O'Brien liked the film so much he immortalized it in the Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Leo G. Carroll was over a barrel when the Tarantula took the hills." The film still straddles the line between nostalgic goofiness and smart sci-fi thrills. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By P. Ferrigno on November 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Outstanding 1950's science fiction thriller by noted fantasy director Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon) sees an arachnid grow to mammoth proportions and terrorise a small desert community !!
Professor Deemer (Leo G. Carroll)is working in desert laboratory on a radiation developed serum to rapidly accelerate growth and size of animals with a view to solve world's food crisis. After Deemer is involved in laboratory destroying fight with a fellow scientist afflicted by growth serum side effects, an oversized arachnid escapes into the New Mexico desert and proceeds to grow and develop a hunger for livestock & humans !
"Tarantula" also features square jawed, John Agar as town doctor Matt Hastings...and the very attractive Mara Corday as medical researcher "Steve" Clayton. The film has a wonderful eerie quality that existed throughout Jack Arnolds sci-fi films and the ominous soundtrack accompanying the arachnid is excellent. The interesting black and white photography in the stark desert locations further adds to the unsettling nature that something hideous is lurking nearby....
And yes...that's Clint Eastwood almost hidden behind the oxygen mask aboard the jet fighter in the film's final sequences.
A "B" horror movie that hits it's mark on every point....highly recommended for fans of the genre !
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Clay Jr. on August 25, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's big, hairy, ugly, and it has eight legs. A dedicated, if slightly mad, scientist (Leo G. Carroll) experiments with "gigantism" in animals as a solution to the world's finite food supply. One of the "experiments," a tarantula the size of a large dog, escapes during a fire in the lab, and crawls out into the desert. Because its enhanced size is chemically induced, the spider continues to grow, and grow. This is an entertaining '50's scif-fi flick that does a nice job of building suspense. There are a couple of "cheap shots" of a person coming up off camera, and suddenly touching someone on the shoulder. The first-time viewer is expected to jump out of his skin, I guess. A better example of the film's scary content is the night scene showing nervous horses pacing in their corral while frantically looking at the nearby hill and sensing "something" approaching over the horizon. When the "something" finally arrives, pandemonium ensues. Another scene showing the skeletal remains of cattle amid "pools" of spider venom raises the hackles. In typical '50s fashion, conventional handguns, shotguns, and rifles can't stop the big bug. The Big T just keeps coming. The special effects are competent, if not spectacular. The B&W photography combined with a normal sized tarantula photographically enlarged to fantastic proportions produces some dark-tinted results that adds to the creature's aura of shadowy mystery, especially in the frequent night scenes. Considering the gigantic size of the thing, it takes the townspeople forever to realize there is something awry out there in the spooky desert. After the truth is learned, the usual "monster movie" hysteria breaks loose.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Connor on July 7, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Tarantula is a highlight of the continuous stream of monster B movies produced in the 50s and 60s. This is the story of a lifelong scientist (Leo Carroll), who is attempting to produce technology for the world to benefit from. When he is attacked one night by one of his former partners, a mutated tarantula is set loose in an Arizona town. The town medical doctor (John Agar), realizes that life is at stake, and must find a way to destroy this creature before it is too late. The formula used to mutate the arachnid has produced fatal effects on humans, deforming and killing them in a matter of 4 days.
Jack Arnold's edge of your seat lore did not need to be remade several years ago. If they are planning to outdo the 1950's "Tarantula", they should forget the idea right now. Movies just are not made like that anymore, and it just cannot be equaled by modern technology. Pick this horror film up, and you will discover why so many of these type of films were made in that time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Is it Oscarworthy? God, no. Is the plot remotely memorable? Ummm....plot? Does John Agar go totally over the top and give a completely hammy performance like he does in every other sci-fi/horror movie he ever made in the '50s? Indeed, but that likable Agar was the ULTIMATE hero in these kind of pictures of this era so we forgive him. Is Mara Corday still one of the most beautiful leading ladies in '50s Sci-Fi/Horror film lore? Whoa nelly, yes, although I still think she looked better with her hair down in 'The Giant Claw'. Are the special effects passable but do you get one to many glimpses of a bad matte or incorrect scene placement of the 150 foot tall spider? Geez, now you're just being picky. Three letters describe this movie; F-U-N. When I was a little kid, this was probably my favorite monster movie to stay up and watch on the late late late show, and to this day I still get a kick out of it. The film benefits from the talented direction of legendary Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Incredible Shrinking Man,etc.) who is a master of keeping suspense taut through 80 minutes and getting the most visually out of a shot. And there is a good performance by veteran actor Leo G. Carroll as the well intentioned but ultimately mad (not to mention eventually horribly deforemed) scientist who starts all this commotion. Also has a somewhat campy and overblown but nonetheless wonderful music score. Don't think about it too hard, these movies were never made to be taken very seriously (I think these filmmakers would get such a kick out of seeing all the books out there these days that overanalyze the heck out of these movies!). Just turn out the lights, make some popcorn and settle in on the couch for a fun waste of time. And, try to ignore that feeling of something slowly crawling up your pantleg as you watch....eeeeeeeeeeee! (Or worse yet, don't look out the window; you'll need to watch to understand.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in