Kingdom of the Spiders/Fun Facts
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
- $50,000 of the movie's budget went towards spiders. The producers offered to pay $10 each for live tarantulas, and handlers collected 5,000 of them.
- Roy Engel's final performance.
- At the time of filming, Shatner was married to Marcy Lafferty, the woman who plays his sister-in-law in the movie. The couple has since divorced. Altovise Davis, who plays Birch Colby, was the wife of Sammy Davis Jr.
- Woody Strode, who plays Walter Colby, was probably best known to film audiences for his role in the Lee Marvin/Burt Lancaster western film The Professionals. Sports historians know Strode as one of the first two African-American football players to break the National Football League's color barrier in the 1940s, when he joined the Los Angeles Rams.
- The film was nominated for the Best Horror Film award by The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, but lost to The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, which starred a young Jodie Foster. At the awards ceremony (which was broadcast in TV syndication), Shatner performed one of his noted spoken-word versions of a pop song, in this case Elton John's "Rocket Man". Footage of this performance was featured in the Comedy Central Roast of Shatner. In addition, a straight-faced, deadpan imitation of this performance can be seen in the Family Guy episode "...And the Wiener Is", given by Stewie Griffin.
- The film is mentioned on an episode of the animated sitcom The Critic. In the episode, titled "From Chunk to Hunk", Jay Sherman reviews the new action movie starring "Jean Paul LePope", a thinly-veiled parody of Jean Claude Van Damme. Sherman remarks, "Jean Paul LePope is the worst actor I've ever seen... and I've seen all of William Shatner's movies, even Kingdom of the Spiders!"
- Two people involved in the film's production went on to win Oscars. Ve Neill, a makeup artist on the movie, won shared Oscars for her work on Mrs. Doubtfire and Ed Wood. Steven Zaillan, a co-editor on the film, won for his screenwriting of the Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List.
- Kantor hinted in his Fangoria interview that Arachnophobia, which Spielberg produced, bears several similarities to Kingdom of the Spiders. "I thought it was a copy", Kantor stated, "but you don't go and sue Spielberg!"
- According to Cardos, several actresses were considered for the role of Diane Ashley but were rejected when they showed apprehension towards handling live tarantulas. (Cardos kept two of the hairy spiders in an aquarium on his desk while meeting with actresses to gauge their reaction). Ironically, two such actresses, Barbara Hale and Donna Mills, appeared in other "killer spider" pictures: Hale in The Giant Spider Invasion and Mills in the made-for-TV Curse of the Black Widow, though in neither of these films did the aforementioned actresses work as closely with the spiders as they would have in Kingdom of the Spiders.
- In the Warren Zevon Song 'Life'll Kill Ya' Zevon says "its the Kingdom of the Spiders" in the opening verse referring to the movie.