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Spider Baby

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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(Sep 14, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

The seductive innocence of Lolita, the savage hunger of a Black Widow and a taste for blood! Lon Chaney, Jr. plays the caretaker for a family who is inflicted with a unique genetic disorder--one that causes them to regress mentally to a state of savagery and cannibalism. When distant cousins arrive with the intention of "taking over," an utterly bizarre night of horror follows.

Special Features

  • Newly Discovered 8 minutes of footage
  • Footage from the 30th Anniversary cast and crew reunion at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles

Product Details

  • Actors: Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner
  • Directors: Jack Hill
  • Writers: Jack Hill
  • Producers: Alan Riseman, Gil Lasky, Marvin Levine, Paul Monka
  • Format: Black & White, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JN2R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,971 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Spider Baby" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Shanks on April 23, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What to write about THIS one? I have to be honest, this is a tough call to make, because I just haven't seen anything quite like this before, and maybe that's enough of a recommendation in itself. Some reviewers have likened it to "The Addams Family", but I'd say "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is another candidate for comparison. The Merrye family suffers from a degenerative disease ("rots the brain" - that's what my dad used to say about comic books!) which causes them to regress to, eventually, homicidal, psychopathic cannibals. There's no denying that Lon Chaney does a superior job as the family chauffeur and as the sole voice of reason in the madhouse. Carol Ohmart, as a relative visiting to reclaim the estate, reprises her sexy ice-queen role from "House on Haunted Hill", this time stripping down to the black lace (in one of the more gratuitous moments in a gratuitous movie!)
There's no gore, at least nothing like what you commonly see in today's poor excuses for "horror movies". In fact, the "rat scene" from "Hideous Sun Demon" is probably more of a pure gross-out than anything on camera in this movie. But the *implied* violence is there, in spades. And folks, it's weird. Do NOT expect to sit there and yawn. It may have been done on a low budget, but all that means is that today's directors are wasting money. "Spider Baby"'s director, Jack Hill, did some work with Roger Corman before knocking this one off in a mere 12 days of shooting. The movie was lost in legal limbo for years, and that lack of exposure at a time when it could never have made it to television probably ensured it's future as a true "cult" film.
The print is excellent - no complaints at all.
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Format: DVD
I discovered this DVD a few weeks ago whilst browsing Amazon. I had'nt seen or heard of it before and simply bought it on a whim. It now ranks as one of the most enjoyable movies in my collection. 'Spider Baby' is in a different league to most other B-movies. The production is lifted by excellent direction from Jack Hill and by a very capable and likable cast. The real surprise for me was Lon Chaney's performance as the family chauffeur. I'd half expected to see a washed up old horror star sadly trying to emulate his past glories (a la Bela Lugosi in 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'). Instead, Lon Chaney treats us to one of the best performances of his career (honestly!) and shows what a great professional he was. The movie benefits from a marvellous musical score, including the opening theme which is sung by Mr Chaney himself. It really does have to be heard to be believed. The storyline is surprisingly slow paced and there is little on-screen gore or violence. Most of the horror occurs off camera and the film relies on the weird characters and strange goings on to keep viewers capitivated...and it succeeds brilliantly!
On the technical side, picture quality is fantastic - exceptionally clean and sharp with very little sign of wear and tear. The sound is single channel mono and is also very good. The film is presented in its original widescreen 1.66:1 ratio. This is a good size even if you don't own a widescreen set - the movie looked great on my standard size 1.33:1 TV. The DVD also features an interesting commentary by the film's writer and director Jack Hill. Jack has a very easy going style and gives lots of behind the scenes info on the movie, cast and crew. Spider verdict : a thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek horror that comes highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
Also known as THE LIVER EATERS, and subtitled THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD (a variation on the DeMille movie); this 30th Anniversary DVD of Jack (FOXY BROWN) Hill's horror classic SPIDER BABY is a real treat. For a movie addict like myself, discovering this is like having Xmas come early.
Hill's script deals with an imaginary medical condition known as "Merrye's Syndrome", a "rotting of the brain" a disease so awful many authorities are in denial of its existance. The result of inbreeding, the sufferer experiences age regression, which is to say as the body grows, the mind gets younger. SPIDER BABY tells the story of "that fateful day ten years ago" that Merrye's Syndrome was wiped out forever.
Despite their name, the Merrye family are anything but and make the Addams family look like the Cleavers by comparison.
Horror legend Lon Chaney Jr has one of his best roles as Bruno Schlocker, the Merrye family's new chauffeur- though unknown to him the previous driver was "webbed" by Virginia Merrye (Jill Banner), one of their cute but deranged daughters. As if that wasn't enough the poor chap also had his ears hacked off with a pair of carving knives. What a lovely young lady. The other psychotic daughter is Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) also cute, but suffering from radical brain rot. And last but not least is Ralph (Sid Haig) an unfortunate fellow who stalks and kills domestic cats, which the Merryes then roast and serve to their guests; who are told they're eating rabbit. Ironically, the Merrye family are all vegans because.... nope. No spoilers.
During dinner one of the guests asks Bruno: "Isn't Ralph a vegetarian too?" to which Bruno replies: "Yes, but Ralph's allowed to eat anything that he catches".
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