This classic sci-fi monster movie from Jack Arnold starts with a disfigured chap in his pyjamas staggering across the desert.  He soon succumbs to whatever is wrong with him but that is nothing compared to what is to come for the small town of Desert Rock in Tarantula!

Smooth talking all-American doctor Matt Hastings is called by the Sheriff to have a look at the body of the man when it is discovered.  Hastings isn’t convinced when the man’s colleague and friend Professor Deemer turns up with an explanation of what killed his friend.  Unfortunately when Deemer returns to his lab he is attacked by another disfigured man and in the struggle a rather large tarantula escapes.  The spider makes his way into the desert and soon begins snacking on local livestock.

Hastings starts to poke around with the help of a graduate who is working with Deemer and the local sheriff for find out what the hell is going on.  Next thing you know the tarantula’s victims are discovered including some local members of the community.

Made over sixty years ago, Tarantula! is a serious amount of fun for what is really a Hollywood B movie.  Director, Arnold and his special effects team really go to town and produce some startling images considering how long ago it was made.  Backed up with a capable cast taking the material reasonably seriously including Leo G. Carroll as the Professor who delivers his lines in a style in which he actually believes he doing it all for real.  We get comic relief provided by Hank Patterson as Josh, the doc’s receptionist who spends his time listening in to Hastings’ calls and reading comic books.  There’s a nice orchestral score as well which is obviously ‘of it’s time’ but suits the proceedings well.

101 Films and Universal have produced a nice little Blu-ray here, although there’s no extras you do get a poster and a DVD copy as well so it’s a pretty good value for money package.  Perhaps too quaint for the kids but old gits like myself and fans of classic monster movies will have a great time.

  • Starring John Agar  Mara Corday  Leo G. Carroll  Nester Paiva
  • Director Jack Arnold
  • Distributor 101 Films