The Giant Spider Invasion/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< The Giant Spider Invasion
  • 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" (1964).
  • Cost about $250,000 to make.
  • 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 it's arms were nearly killed when broken wood from the demolished house went through the spider, coming 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 afterwords 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 can be seen in several shots.
  • 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 the film began before the script was even done. However, Rebane added that the script was revised numerous times during 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 referred to the film as The Giant Spider Disaster in an interview, due to how problematic the production was.
  • Nearly all of the night scenes were shot day-for-night. The scenes were darkened in post production, though 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 in Madison, Wisconsin that featured this film. Hosting the festival were Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy of the TV series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (1988), which featured The Giant Spider Invasion in a 1997 episode. 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 in each Volkswagen spider. Crew would 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 help guide it, while at pretending they were fleeing from the giant spider.
  • Originally the spiders in the film were suppose 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.

Alternate Versions

  • The original UK cinema version was heavily cut for an 'A' (PG) certificate to remove some sexual dialogue and a topless shot, and to edit scenes of gore including victims being eaten, shots of blood, and close-ups of dead bodies. The 2005 Stax DVD release was uncut and upgraded to a 15.
  • The film was slightly cut for its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1997. The scene where Dan tries to bribe Terry with a diamond and the scene where Terry talks to Billy in the Kesters kitchen was cut.
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