Kingdom of Spiders (1977)

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With this week’s episode, VHS Rewind is correcting a major faux pas: we have never before tackled any of the output of one of the shining stars of our youth: Mr. Captain Kirk/T.J Hooker himself, William Shatner.
The Shat was always around while we were growing up in the 1970s/1980s, not just because of STAR TREK and, later, T.J. HOOKER but because Shat was everywhere on TV: BARBARY COAST was another show he did which we watched because, well, Captain Kirk was on it; guest spots on every show we watched as kids: SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN; BARNABY JONES; HAWAII 5-O; IRONSIDE, KUNG FU; and guest spots on every tv show we didn’t watch as kids (PIONEER WOMAN, anyone? POLICE SURGEON??).
Then there were some incredible TV movies like HORROR AT 37,000 FEET, DISASTER ON THE COASTLINER and the classic PRAY FOR THE WILDCATS (with that once of a lifetime cast of Andy Griffith (playing the dangerous psychotic for a change) + Shat + Robert Reed + Marjoe Gortner (!!) + Angie Dickinson & Lorraine Gary.
Folks may forget that Shat’s theatrical features include more than the STAR TREK motion pictures: THE DEVIL’S RAIN; THE KIDNAPPING OF THE PRESIDENT; VISITING HOURS; AIRPLANE II: THE SEQUEL and, the subject our episode, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS.
KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS is part of the subgenre of films we love: the nature-runs-amok-and-strikes-back genre which includes DAYS OF THE ANIMALS (all animals attack); FROGS (frogs attack); NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (giant bunnies attck); SSSSSSS (sssssnakessss attack); PHASE IV (little ants attack): EMPIRE OF THE ANTS (giant ants attack); a few movies about bees attacking; SQUIRM (somehow, worms attack); and yes, you know JAWS, JAWS 2 etc. In this one, we get to see spiders attack.
If the Shat seems to be dialing his Shatner-ness back somewhat (this isn’t the Shatner of STAR TREK V), remember that the Shat remains a singular actor and he gives us a lot to talk about. Shat certainly has a way with the ladies in this flick – part Donald Trump, part Pepe Le Peu, all creepy, sleazy sexual predator.
We hope you take a listen to this week’s episode so you can hear our thoughts about KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS and where, in the pantheon of spider flicks this one falls: is it as good as 1955’s TARANTULA? No but that 1955 flick is a personal, nostalgic favorite. Is KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS as unintentionally funny as 1975’s THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION? No, alas. Does KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS feature incredible rock-n-roll songs like 1958’s EARTH VS THE SPIDER. No, but there are plenty of songs in KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS and we play every damn one of ‘em on the show because they are amazing.

 

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