A lone-wolf scientist sequestered in a mansion near a small desert town arouses the suspicion of the town's doctor when his lab assistant is found dead from a case of acromegaly which took only four days to develop. As the doctor investigates, aided by the scientist's new, and very female, assistant, they discover that, far worse, something much larger and hungrier than it ever should be, is devouring local cattle - and humans - in increasingly large quantities.
Directed by: Jack Arnold
Author: John Chard
Can all mankind escape the terror of its dread embrace... Professor Gerald Deemer has been working on a special nutrient that will help offset a predicted food shortage, the serum he has created escalates growth in his lab animals at an alarmingly quick rate. Deemer quickly loses control of the experiment and during a fight at his lab a fire breaks out and a Tarantula that is already 50 sizes bigger than it should be, escapes, and soon all species are on the menu! Tarantula is a big personal fave of mine from this particular genre, so I make no apologies for my uncontrolled bias! The film opens with a facially malformed man running through the desert until he collapses, and from then on in we are treated to a story involving acromegaly (a disease that causes gigantism), and a gigantic tarantula eating everything that gets in its path, its pure sci-fi/horror hokum for sure. However, Tarantula has that knack of spinning the story with only minor glimpses of the spider until we are positively sensing the dread that is about to be unleashed. Using a real spider inserted onto the screened landscape, and then having it crawling over smartly moulded miniature sets, really adds to the creepy fun unfolding. Directed by genre hero Jack Arnold, and starring stoic actors like John Agar & Leo G Carroll, Tarantula is 80 minutes of pure genre entertainment. 8/10