Monday, July 1, 2019

Eight Legged Arts & Crafts

If you grew up on a deserted island with no access to cinema, imagine how powerful a movie like Arachnia would seem.


Quick Plot: Professor Mugford has chartered a private plain captained by a man named Sean to fly his team to a dig in Arizona. Also on board is Chandra, his assistant, Deke, a horny grad student, and Kelly and Trina, airheads sleeping their way to a passing grade. When a meteor shower takes their plan down, the group lands on an isolate farmland stretch.

Like any educated group, the gang finds the nearest house and rudely make themselves home, guzzling down the available liquor and running baths in the center of the living room. Farmer Moses Cobb (the farmerest name that ever did farm) comes home a little miffed, but excited by Kelly's nude body and Mugford's specialty in critters. 

See, two generations ago, Grandpa Cobb found a car-sized spider and took him around as a traveling fair attraction. Moses still has the petrified corpse, which Mugford dismisses as a carnival hack. Naturally, our eggheaded misogynist will soon be proven very, very wrong.

What follows is a somewhat adorably cheap creature feature populated with paper mache, stop motion animation, and some incredibly well-aimed molotov cocktails. Writer/director Brett Piper's ear for dialogue is about as keen as his sense of staging, which means we get the kind of conversations that go like this:

Kelly: You ever do it with another girl?
Trina: I don't think so.

In the world of low budget Vermont filmed horror, young women don't even remember whether they've had same sex experiences. This is the kind of movie that has the world's foremost expert in ancient animals constantly referring to spiders as insects or bugs (and never arachnids, despite the title of his movie being, you know, Arachnia). 

Basically, you're dealing with a SyFy level cheapie made with even less money and skill. Considering that means our effects are seemingly 100% practical, there's a huge amount of charm to be found in the homemade efforts, providing you're the kind of horror fan who appreciates that type of thing.

High Points
I can't stress enough how terrible everything looks in Arachnia, but the fact that you're looking at physical creations rather than fast and cheap CGI is genuinely refreshing in our current era

Low Points
There's obviously a LOT that I COULD complain about in a movie like Arachnia, but I'm in a kind mood so I'll instead sit back and let my annoyance at the lack of effective web-based plot details be it

Lessons Learned
Studying dinosaurs makes you a critter expert, even if you can't tell the difference between an insect and arachnid

Self-proclaimed world's best damned personal assistants have a unique set of skills, including excellent shotgun aim 

Always trust in the air force, especially when it's being led by a discount Asylum version of Paul Sorvino 

Folks, Arachnia is by no definition of good a good movie. Its acting is stiff, dialogue laughable, and effects less impressive than most of what came out in the 1950s. That being said, if you're in the mood for dumb hand-crafted fun, you can find it on Amazon Prime. 

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