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The Giant Spider Invasion

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And, somewhere in the world, a helicopter exists.
  — Mike


810 - The Giant Spider Invasion0810
Air Date May 31, 1997
Running Time 92 Min.
Movie Director Bill Rebane
Year 1975
Cast Steve Brodie, Alan Hale Jr., Robert Easton, Barbra Hale
Preceded by 809 - I Was a Teenage Werewolf
Followed by 811 - Parts: The Clonus Horror


The Movie

Synopsis

Some sort of a meteor shoots out of the Crab Nebula and makes its way to Earth, where it lands in the back pasture of a family of hillbillies. A giant spider emerges and starts laying rock-like eggs all over the place from which hatch a bunch of creepy tarantulas. Now it's up to a NASA scientist and an astrophysicist to figure out a way to destroy the monster before it and its children manage to ravage the whole countryside. There's hillbillies, bumpkin sheriffs, a teenage reporter, and a whole town full of drunken lumberjacks facing off against The Giant Spider Invasion. Who will win the final battle?


Information

  • This is the second movie to be lampooned by the Satellite of Love crew featuring spiders as the main attraction.
  • Alan Hale Jr. greets Davey (Kevin Brodie) in the opening scene with the line, "Hi, little buddy!" This is an obvious reference to his role as The Skipper on "Gilligan's Island".
  • The budget for the film was around $250,000.
  • Dan and Ev have a conversation which includes the exchange: Ev: "I'm sorry I missed the sermon. What was it about?" Dan: "Sin." Ev: "What did the minister say about it?" Dan: "He was against it." That referred to a famous (or infamous) conversation former President Calvin Coolidge - nicknamed "Silent Cal" - and his wife once had.
  • There was supposed to be a dramatic shot of the giant spider crushing the house by having the spider dropped from a crane onto it while a bulldozer chained to the back of the house would pull away. However, when the shot was filmed, the spider's legs all went straight up into the air! The crew inside working its arms were nearly killed when broken wood from the destroyed house came up through the spider and came close to impaling them.
  • There was supposed to be a shot of a big spider in a tree bursting into flames. To achieve this, the director covered a large prop spider with gunpowder and had two crew members sitting above it in the tree who would drop a match on the spider. The director got the camera up to a very fast fps to achieve a slow motion look, and had them drop the first match. Nothing happened, so they dropped a second. Still nothing happened, so they lit the entire book of matches and dropped it on the spider. With nothing happening, the director turned off the camera - and immediately afterwards a huge explosion and fireball shot up, burning the hair off of the crew members and starting several small brush fires. The director was furious that he wasn't able to get the shot on film.
  • In a scene depicting the "giant spiders" attacking a little league baseball game, the "spiders" are obviously Volkswagen Beetles with puppet legs attached. Tread marks from the VW's tires can actually be seen in several camera angles.
  • This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.
  • In an interview director Bill Rebane said that shooting on the film began before the script was even complete. Rebane added that the script was revised numerous times throughout the shoot.
  • According to Bill Rebane the two writers on the film each approached the story from different directions. Richard L. Huff wrote the original story and kept a very serious tone to the first draft of the script. Robert Easton on the other hand lent the film a comical tone, writing most of the colorful dialog for his character and the other locals. The films rather infamous jokes are credited to him as well. Combining both writers material resulted in an odd-ball tone for the script.
  • Bill Rebane said that the hot summer temperatures were quite tough on the cast and crew. At times the temperature on location would be 100 degrees and on the sets it would reach 120 degree at times, thanks to the studio lighting.
  • Director Bill Rebane once dubbed the film "The Giant Spider Disaster" in an interview, referring to how problematic the production was.
  • Nearly all of the night scenes were shot day-for-night. The scenes were darkened in post production, and although some of the footage was darkened too much to be clearly seen, it was still used in the film.
  • In May 2005 there was a Bill Rebane film festival at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin that featured this film. Hosting the festival were Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy. Nelson and Murphy said despite their lampooning of the film on MST3K they actually admired Rebane because he was able to make the film with such a low budget.
  • David Hoff, who provides the radio voice of the helicopter pilot, was an actual pilot for the Wisconsin Air Guard.
  • Stars Steve Brodie and Barbara Hale pulled in family members to play supporting roles in the film. Brodie's son Kevin Brodie played Dave Perkins and Hale's husband Bill Williams came in to play the role of Dutch.
  • It took nine people to work the fake spider legs on the Volkswagen Beetle that was used for the giant spider. The people would have to huddle together on boards nailed to the inside of the stripped vehicle.
  • Since the driver of the infamous spider-car obviously couldn't see where the vehicle was going extras would often have to push the vehicle to guide it, while at the same time having to pretend they were fleeing from the 'giant spider'.
  • Originally the spiders in the film were supposed to be only about 10 feet in length but the producers insisted that if the film were going to compete with Jaws (1975), which was released around the same time, the size of the spiders would have to be increased to pose more threat. 
  • In November 2010, the frame from the VW/giant spider hybrid was prominently displayed in Gleason, Wisconsin right next the the U.S. Post Office (pictures below). Since then the frame has disappeared, its whereabouts are currently unknown.

The Episode

Host Segments

810-1

Servo as a Cheerleader

Prologue: - Tom Servo's got spirit and wants to be a cheerleader. Wanting an 'S', Mike and Crow are hesitant to give him any letters at all, but eventually assent to give him a M, an R, a small x, and one L. Servo's got MRxL!

Segment One: - Pearl and her goons tell stories about the fun they had camping and mock Mike and the bots' inability to camp. Because they're trapped on a satellite. Pearl proceeds to show some "wild flowers" they found, which prove later to be mind controlling aliens. Servo explains "portage", whilst managing to smack Mike and Crow with the canoe on his head ala three stooges style. Pearl and Brain Guy become controlled by the pods, and offer M&TBs some of them. Mike becomes suspicious, meanwhile Pearl sends him the movie.

Segment Two: - Gypsy becomes controlled by one of the pods. She tries to convince M&TBs to sleep, but her lullaby about evil super-consciousnesses devouring them makes Mike wonder if something might be up with her.

Segment Three: - Mike and Tom struggle to stay awake so they don't have their minds taken over while Crow decides to consume a large quantity of caffeine. Mike calls Bobo, and discovers that he has not been taken over. Mike convinces Bobo of the pod's plan eventually, but it's too late as the mind controlled Observer and Pearl tie him up.

Segment Four: - Mike and Crow attempt to determine the original Tom from the alien clone. The clone is successfully scared away when Tom proves himself by rattling off his underwear collection.

Segment Five: - The original Tom dissapeared and Crow ends up affected, Mike calls Bobo again and convinces him he can save the day. Bobo escapes and kills the mother pod, destroying the clones and rendering everyone affected back to normal in the process. Pearl, realizing she missed Mike and the Bots watching the movie, forces them to watch the movie again.

Stinger: "Pfffft!" (Jeweler guy makes a raspberry with his tongue).

The host segments in this episode notably parody "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (both the 1956 and 1978 film versions. The pods are from the original, while the clones screaming at non-clones is from the 70's one.).

Quotes & References

Giant Spider 2

Side view of the frame for the VW/giant spider hybrid, photographed in Gleason, WI in late 2010.

  • "It's a Giant Spider Invasion of savings at Menards!"

Menards is a chain of home improvement stores in the upper Midwest, headquartered in Mike Nelson's home state of Wisconsin.

  • "Hey, little buddy."

    In one of the most depressing things ever shown on this show, Alan Hale repeats one of the Skipper's repeated line from "Gilligan's Island." Oh, Alan, how did it come to this?

      • "Casual day at Hazelden."

    Hazelden is a chain of rehab/recovery centers based in Minnesota.

      • "I need one room in Las Vegas and a lot of liquor, please."

    An allusion to the Nicolas Cage movie Leaving Las Vegas .

    </li>
      • "They saved a lot buying the old Gein place."

        Referring to serial killer Ed Gein's house in Plainfield, Wisconsin which contained horrific sights like furniture and other artifacts made out of human remains. Aside from the horror element, it is impossible to live in the original house as it was burned to the ground (causes unknown) before it could be auctioned off.


        • "Aryan...Nation...rules."

    Aryan Nations is an American-based neo-Nazi group.


        • "Free Mumia!" "Free Bobby Seale!"

    Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and the former Information Minister of the Black Panthers during the period when the mayor of Philadelphia was the depraved racist Frank Rizzo (Abu-Jamal has been in prison since the early 1980s for the alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer, but, it is argued, he never received a fair trial (the judge, for one thing, during the trial, vowed that they were going to "fry" him and black jurors were excluded from the jury pool)). Bobby Seale, the Black Panthers' co-founder, was tried and acquitted on charges of murdering a fellow Panther in 1970.


        • "SUUUUURGE!"
          Giant Spider 1

          Front view of the frame for the VW/giant spider hybrid, photographed at around the same time.

    The advertising slogan for Surge, a heavily caffeinated soft drink marketed by the Coca-Cola Company during the late 1990s.


        • "They’re toughening GED standards! No fair! -- Boo!"

    GED stands for General Educational Development, the standardized test for people who never graduated from high school; passing the GED is equivalent to earning a high school diploma. In 1997 tougher standards went into effect: whereas before a student needed at least a score of 40 on each of the five sections or an average of 45 across all five tests, now they needed both a minimum score of 40 and an average score of 45.


        • "Fur is murder!"

    Fur is murder is a popular slogan among anti-fur animal-rights activists, who denounce the use of animals for making fur coats as cruel and unnecessary, given the ready availability of non-animal-based outerwear.


        • "Violence erupted when Dave Dudley canceled his appearance in Gleason."

    Dave Dudley is a Minneapolis musician known for his trucker-themed songs featured on such albums as 'Six Days on the Road' and 'Christmas Truck Stop.'


        • "I’m headed over to Taco John’s till this blows over."

    Taco John’s is an American chain of Mexican restaurants featuring tacos, burritos, nachos, etc.


        • "Give my Hamm’s waterfall sign to my son."

    Hamm’s is a beer manufactured in St. Paul, Minnesota. Its slogan is From the land of sky-blue waters, and many of its advertising signs feature a moving waterfall.


        • "Dutch! Oh, Dutch." "Too many Jell-O shots."

    Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin (made from collagen derived from skin, boiled crushed horn, hoof and bones, connective tissues and intestines of domesticated animals) dessert made by General Foods Corporation. Jell-O shots are Jell-O made with booze instead of with water and then cut into little squares for consumption by college students.


        • "Um, Mr. Rebane, you really can’t see anything." "Shut up and keep filming, Mr. NYU Film Pants."

    New York University’s Film School has been teaching film for more than thirty years and is considered one of the country’s finest film schools.


        • "My emergency shipment of Lucky Strikes."

    Lucky Strike cigarettes were one of the most popular brands in America during the first half of the twentieth century, and the first brand to be marketed directly to women. Thanks to an ad campaign in the 1920s that urged women worried about their weight to reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet, the number of teenage girls who smoked tripled in a decade.


        • "I understand you can repair these giant spiders yourself."

    Yet another reason VW Beetles were so popular is that they were relatively easy to repair on those rare occasions when they broke down.


        • "I wish John Agar were here."

    John Agar (1921-2002) was an actor who appeared in a stunning number of terrible B movies in the 1950s and 1960s. He has appeared in several MST3K episodes, including episode 8x03, The Mole People and Revenge of the Creature, and also Women of the Prehistoric Planet. His characters have a reputation amongst the Mads for being maddenly verbose in a somewhat supercilious manner.


        • "She’s dressed like an Elvis impersonator."

    Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, was one of the most popular musicians from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42. Since his death, many, many people have earned a living by donning a sequined jumpsuit and pretending to be the King. There are more than 30 professional Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas alone.


        • "If you see only ten thousand movies this year, make sure this isn’t one of them."

    'If you see only one movie this year, make it this one' is a critic’s line that has been used for countless movies, to the extent that it has even been parodied in movie trailers: the trailer for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999 announced, If you see only one movie this year, see Star Wars. But if you see two movies, see Austin Powers.


        • "Soon Hitler’s giant mechanical spiders had pushed past the Maginot Line."

    The Maginot Line was a giant defensive barrier between France and Germany. It was built by France in the 1930s as a way to defend against another German attack like the one in World War I. Unfortunately for France, when Nazi Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, finally decided to invade in 1940, they did so by way of Belgium, where the French border was essentially undefended.


        • "These spiders have lousy heaters, though."

    The heater in the VW Beetle (see above note) was notoriously terrible. Because the engines were air-cooled, it was difficult to channel excess engine heat into the passenger cabin.


        • "Jog-walk out of danger!"

    Jog-walking is an exercise program in which the runner alternates jogging with walking, ultimately working up to five minutes jogging, one minute running. Marathoners sometimes use this approach because it is less likely to lead to cramps and muscle fatigue.


        • "Might as well get my Pall Malls while I’m here."

    Pall Malls were one of the first 'premium' brands of cigarettes, debuting early in the 20th century. Between 1960 and 1966 they were the top-selling brand in the country.


        • "Hey, spider, you have a ball hitch? Mine’s busted."

    A ball hitch is a type of hitch for automobiles that is commonly used for towing boat trailers and attaching bike racks.


        • "Remember: I mate, then I kill."

    The female black widow spider notoriously devours the male after mating is completed, although there is some evidence to suggest that Mrs. Widow’s lethal reputation has been somewhat exaggerated.


        • "The first extremely tentative atomic test at Alamogordo."

    Alamogordo is a town in New Mexico. On July 16, 1945, 60 miles from the air base at Alamogordo, the first atomic bomb was exploded. The following month, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, ending World War II.


        • "I am death, destroyer of lawns."

    J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967), head of the top secret Manhattan Project, has written that when he witnessed the detonation of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo in 1945 (see previous note), a line from the sacred Hindu text Bhagavad-Gita came into his mind: I am death, destroyer of worlds.


        • "The spider needs a Zantac."

    Zantac is an acid reducer used to relieve the symptoms of heartburn. It is available in both prescription and nonprescription forms.


        • "Alan Hale digests a kielbasa."


    Kielbasa, also known as Polish sausage, is a type of sausage frequently flavored with garlic and smoked. It is made from either pork or a mixture of beef and pork.


        • "I guess somebody tampered in God’s domain or something."

    A reference to Episode 423, Bride of the Monster .


        • "PACKERS!! PACKERS WON THE SUPERBOWL!!!"

    The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XXXI on Jan. 26, 1997 - a mere four months prior to the initial airing of this episode. The repeated cheers for the Packers from M&TB also lead to considerable interest in this film among fans in communities online when the Packers went up against and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in 2011.

  • "This can't be Wisconsin! There's no billboards for Tommy Barlett's water show!"</li>

    Tommy Barlett's Thrill Show is a water-skiing attraction that takes place every summer on Lake Delton in Wisconsin.

  • "Realize he doesn't reduce speed when approaching Elroy, Danbury, Tomah."</li>

    Those three places are small towns in Wisconsin; other towns, such as Gleason, Baraboo, and New Richmond were mentioned in the riffs.

  • "Velcome to Beer Hall Putsch days!"</li>

    The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt to seize power in Munich, Germany which occured in November 1923, and led by then-Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler.

  • "The mob demands Whoopee John."</li>

    "Whoopee John" Wilfahrt (1894-1961) was a polka musician, born in Minnesota.

  • "Does Captain Stubing know you dress like that, Vicky?"</li>

    Captain Merrill Stubing was the main character on the 1970s-1980s sitcom The Love Boat, played by Gavin McLeod; his daughter, Vicki, was played by Jill Whelan.

  • "Ah, greasy guys carrying unconscious girls, comfortable 2 PM beer buzz; ya homesick yet, Mike?"</li>

    This, of course, refers to the fact that Michael J. Nelson hails from Wisconsin.

  • "Nigel Tufnel's playing a guitar solo."</li>

    Nigel Tufnel was the frontman of the fictional heavy metal group Spinal Tap, as portrayed by Christopher Guest in the 1984 film This is Spinal Tap.

  • "Oh, that would be my shift down at Skipper's."</li>

    Skipper's is a restaurant located in Merrill, Wisconsin.

  • "Are we still on for the RIchard Feynman lecture?"</li>

    Richard Feynman (1911-1988) was a quantum physicist, specializing in quantum electrodynamics.

  • "A way out here they've got a name / Stinky, hairy white guy"</li>

    This is a parody of the first line of the Jim Ed Brown & The Browns' "They Call the Wind Maria"

  • " 'Oh no, a spider the size of a Buick is attacking his Buick', I distinctly heard him say."</li>

    This is a reference of Woody Allen's quote in the 1977 film Annie Hall, "Honey, there's a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick."

  • "I wonder if he bequeathed his Wet Willie albums."</li>

    Wet Willie is a Southern rock band who had its heyday in the mid to late-1970s; formed in 1970, the band is still active as of 2013.

  • "R. Crumb is leading them."</li>

    R. Crumb (born Robert Crumb in 1943) is a cartoonist famous for Fritz the Cat and the "Keep on Truckin'" posters popular during the 1970s.

  • "Let's go have a nice dinner at The Gobbler."</li>

    The Gobbler was a supper club located in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin; after over three decades, the complex was abandoned in 2002 when the last tenant went out of business.

  • "I injected a paralyzing toxin into the sheriff / But I didn't inject a paralyzing toxin into the deputy."</li>

    This is a parody of the first lines of the Bob Marley song I Shot the Sheriff, later covered by Eric Clapton.

  • "Dedicated to the memory of Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch"</li>

    This is an anachronism, as Hirsch, an NFL running back from the mid-1940 until the late 1950s, did not pass away until January 28, 2004. Incidentally, this occurred three days before the last epsiode of MST3K (already in reruns since the original run ended in 1999) aired on SciFi.

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