- Arachnophobia (film)
name = Arachnophobia
caption = Theatrical release poster.
director = Frank Marshall
Don Jakoby Richard Vane Steven Spielberg(executive producer)
writer = Story:
Jeff Daniels John Goodman Harley Jane Kozak Julian Sands Brian McNamara
music = Trevor Jones
editing = Michael Kahn
Buena Vista Pictures
July 18, 1990
runtime = 105 minutes
language = English
budget = $31,000,000 USD
amg_id = 1:2749
imdb_id = 0099052
"Arachnophobia" is a 1990 American horror-
comedy filmJennie Punter, "HOPE 'THRILL-OMEDIES' DISAPPEAR AS FAST AS THIS FILM," "The Whig-Standard", July 27, 1990, pg. 1.] directed by Frank Marshall and starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman. It is about deadly spiders infesting a small Californiatown, with the title referring to the fear of spiders.
A deadly spider from the
Venezuelan Amazon is brought into the United Statesthrough the inside of the coffin of one of its victims, dead nature photographer Jerry Manley ( Mark L. Taylor). It then breeds with local spiders, creating a new type of spider that invades the small town of Canaima, California. The film focuses on physicianRoss Jennings (Daniels), who is new to the town and faces a lack of patients due to elderly rival Sam Metcalf, who was supposed to retire and give his patients to Ross. It is established that Ross has a fear of spiders. Ross' reputation is severely damaged as his few patients begin to die, but this is the work of the spiders rather than his neglect. After Metcalf is himself killed by one of the spiders, it is realized that the town is infested with deadly arachnids, and with the help of exterminator Delbert McClintock (Goodman), entomologistDr. James Atherton ( Julian Sands) and his assistant Chris Collins ( Brian McNamara), an effort is made to wipe out the species. Eventually the "queen" is traced back to Ross's own basement, where he manages to overcome his fear enough to kill the creature.The movie ends with the Jennings family back in San Francisco. As Ross and his wife Molly ( Harley Jane Kozak) enjoy a fine wine, an earthquakeoccurs. While checking the kids, an aftershockhappens.
Steven Spielbergwas involved with "Arachnophobia", with one of his earlier producers Frank Marshall directing for the first time. Spielberg and Marshall are both the executive producers of the film.Leonard Maltin, ed., "Leonard Maltin's 2002 Movie & Video Guide". A Signet Book, 2001, p. 58.] Marshall meant for the film to be like Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", and added, "People like to be scared but laughing, like a roller coaster. No one wants to be terrified." [Kenneth Turan and New York Times, "The spiders are No. 1 on this set; Working with a herd of erratic arachnids poses special problems for human actors," " Edmonton Journal", April 15, 1990, pg. D.5] Jamie Hyneman, of " MythBusters" fame, stated in " Popular Mechanics" [Page 44, Nov 2006 issue] that "Arachnaphobia" was one of the first movies he worked on and that he often relied on simple magnets for several of the effects.
The film made use of 374 Avondale spiders, which were picked for their large size, lack of actual venom, and unusually social lifestyle. They were guided around the set by the use of heat and cold, but the large "queen" was an articulated model.
To create the
sound effects of spiders being stepped on or squashed, people stepped on mustard packs or crunched potato chips. [Rick Gamble, "A stinging commentary," "Expositor", Brantford, Ontario: April 22, 2006, pg. D.7.]
"Arachnophobia" was the first film released by
Hollywood Pictures,Michael Walsh, "Less-than-terrific tension in this failed spider's web," "The Province", Vancouver, British Columbia: July 22, 1990, pg. 85.] which belongs to the Walt Disney Company. Amblin Entertainmentalso helped produce it. Advertisers were uncertain as to whether they should market the film as a thriller or a comedy. Therefore, television spots promoting the film billed it as a "thrill-comedy." [Bill Provick, "Arachnophobia fun- for those who can stand it," " The Ottawa Citizen", March 16, 1991, pg. G.7.]
The film was a financial success,"Here are the top 40 money-making entertainers; Bill Cosby No. 1 at $60M a year," "
The Ottawa Citizen", September 18, 1990, pg. D.7.] grossing $53,208,180 domestically [" [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1990&p=.htm 1990 Domestic Grosses] ," "Box Office Mojo". URL accessed 19 May 2006.] and going on to gross an additional $30,000,000 in video rentals. This allowed Spielberg to be the fourth wealthiest entertainer of the year, having previously been the second wealthiest.
In his book, critic
Leonard Maltincalls the film a "slick comic thriller" and approves of the acting, warning, "Not recommended for anyone who's "ever" covered their eyes during a movie." " Newsweek" associated the film with B movies "about the small town threatened by alien invaders," and said it was well made but "oddly unresonant." [D. Ansen, "A choice of chuckles," "Newsweek", 23 July 1990, vol. 116, issue 4, p. 64.] Roger Ebertsaid it made audiences "squirm out of enjoyment, not terror," and listed details in the film that he felt were typical of such films, including "the bright young doctor, whose warnings are ignored" and "the loyal wife and kids," as well as "the usual cats and dogs, necessary for the obligatory scene in which they can sense something even when the humans can't." He gave the film three stars. [Roger Ebert, "Arachnophobia," " Chicago Sun-Times", July 18, 1990.] The film won a Saturn Awardfrom The American Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films for Best Horror Film and Best Actor (Daniels). Young actress Marlene Katzwas nominated for a best actress award from the Young Artist Awards.
The film drew protests from some people interested in spiders, as they believed the film tarnished the public image of spiders.
soundtrack albumfor the film, also called "Arachnophobia", was released in 1990. It included instrumental music from the film as well as songs such as "Blue Eyes Are Sensitive To The Light" by Sara Hickmanand " I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett.
video gameversion of "Arachnophobia" was also released in 1991, for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64and DOS. [" [http://www.mobygames.com/game/arachnophobia/ Arachnophobia] ," "MobyGames", URL accessed 6 April 2007.]
Eight Legged Freaks, a film about giant spiders invading an Arizona town
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