Eight Legged Freaks
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Eight Legged Freaks is a 2002 horror comedy film directed by Ellory Elkayem and starring David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra and Scarlett Johansson. An international co-production between Germany, the United States, and Australia, the plot concerns a collection of spiders that are exposed to toxic waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions and begin killing and harvesting. The film was dedicated to the memory of several people: One was Lewis Arquette, father of the star of the film David Arquette, who had died in 2001 from heart failure, and the other two were Don Devlin and Pilar Seurat, the parents of producer Dean Devlin, who both died of lung cancer in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
|Eight Legged Freaks|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ellory Elkayem|
|Produced by||Dean Devlin|
|Screenplay by||Ellory Elkayem
|Story by||Ellory Elkayem
Doug E. Doug
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Cinematography||John S. Bartley|
|Edited by||David Siegel|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|July 17, 2002|
|Box office||$45 million|
The quiet Arizona mining town, Prosperity's problem with giant spiders started with a simple accident where a truck carrying barrels of toxic waste swerved trying not to hit a rabbit, throwing a barrel into the reservoir. Thus, begins the food chain reaction. An exotic spider farmer named Joshua Taft (Tom Noonan) feeds his collection of spiders, which include jumping spiders, tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, male orb-weaver spiders, and a female orb-weaver named Consuela, with crickets caught from the reservoir. As a result, they grow to enormous size, with an ever-increasing appetite. They start terrorizing the town, attacking, killing, abducting and devouring people. So begins the battle between the giant spiders and the people of Prosperity.
- David Arquette as Chris McCormick
- Kari Wuhrer as Sheriff Samantha Parker
- Scott Terra as Mike Parker
- Scarlett Johansson as Ashley Parker
- Doug E. Doug as Harlan Griffith
- Rick Overton as Deputy Pete Willis
- Leon Rippy as Wade
- Matt Czuchry as Bret
- Jay Arlen Jones as Leon
- Eileen Ryan as Gladys
- Riley Smith as Randy
- Matt Holwick as Larry
- Jane Edith Wilson as Emma Willis
- Jack Moore as Amos
- Roy Gaintner as Floyd
- Don Champlin as Leroy
- John Christopher Storey as Mark
- David Earl Waterman as Norman
- Tom Noonan as Joshua Taft
- Frank Welker as Consuela, Tank and other spider vocal effects
Director Ellory Elkayem got the idea from his 1997 short film, Larger Than Life, which also handled a spider-fighting storyline.
The film was originally titled Arac Attack (under which it was released in some parts of Europe and other countries around the world) but its similarity to "Iraq Attack" made the title seem inappropriate near the start of the Iraq War.
The title Eight Legged Freaks is a line that Arquette ad-libbed in the movie: "Get back, you eight-legged freaks!"
- Filming locations
- The town of Prosperity does not exist in Arizona. The scenes inside Prosperity Mall were actually shot in an abandoned mall in Glendale, Arizona. The location was formerly Valley West Mall and also known as Manistee town center. This movie would be the last operation that took place in the mall, as it was demolished soon after shooting was completed. The Mall land was redeveloped into a retail strip afterwards.
- The scenes in Aunt Gladys's house in the kitchen and in Gladys' basement were filmed at the Manistee Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, directly adjacent to the Mall itself.
- Some of the town scenes were shot in the old copper mining town of Superior, Arizona.
- Spiders used in the film
- Orb-weaver spider
- Jumping spider
- Tarantula (several species are featured, including the Mexican redknee tarantula, the Pink Foot Goliath, and the Goliath birdeater)
- Trapdoor spider
- Australian funnel-web spider
- Spitting spider
- Alternate credits
- The alternate beginning is an extended version in which Harlan does a broadcast promoting the mall, after which a worker at the mall sees Wade having the toxic waste put in the basement.
- In the alternate ending, after the mines are blown up, the townsfolk walk down a road to get help. They meet up with Pete and Harlan who were walking through the desert, Pete trying to convince Harlan the spiders were not aliens. Afterward, Sam and Chris kiss as the scene ends.
A video game adaptation titled Eight Legged Freaks: Let the Squashing Begin was also released in 2002 for PC and Mac and could be downloaded from the official website, which is currently inactive.
On January 5, 2003, the news-website Moviehole reported that Eight Legged Freaks 2 was in development, but no additional information has come forth since then.
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Eight Legged Freaks was met with mixed reviews. It currently holds an approval rating of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes stating: "This homage to the B-movies of the '50s has a promising first half, but runs out of ideas in the second".