Making the Grades
It all started with a rabbit. Swerving to avoid hitting the little critter in the middle of the road, a truck carrying barrels of radioactive waste unknowingly drops one of the containers into a slough near Prosperity Arizona. When the local spider collector (whose arachnids are the drawing card for a rundown roadside attraction) begins feeding his creatures crickets from the polluted pond, the creepy-crawlies begin to expand their horizons. Swarming together, their first conquest involves having their captor for lunch.
Young spider-fan Mike (Scott Terra), son of female Sherrif Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), often visited the old spider man, and is the first to suspect the oncoming web of destruction. But no one will believe his far-fetched story until the now-giant eight legged freaks are on the town's outskirts. With guns blazing, the sleepy town's citizens wake up to the reality of the crisis, but by this point the amazingly fast spiders are feasting on innocent bystanders. It's only the Sheriff and Chris McCormack (David Arquette), heir to the now defunct gold mine running under the town, that have any sort of a plan. Gathering everyone they can into Prosperity's near vacant shopping mall, the ragtag group hopes to keep the spiders from eating what's left of their community.
Anyone familiar with 1950's campy sci-fi thrillers will instantly recognize Eight Legged Freaks as an updated addition to the genre - possibly even qualifying as a spoof. The movie's tongue-in-cheek humor and over the top special effects are intended to create laughs and groans as frequently as screams of terror from adults and older teens. However, young children may be less likely to see the nearly continuous battle with the big bugs as comic exaggeration, especially when they are frequently shot with rifles, dragged under vehicles, or ingesting humans, ostriches, and cats.
Also, unlike its cheesy predecessors, Freaks' script includes a few sexual innuendos, frequent mild profanities and terms of deity. Those bugged by this type of content may choose to squash any arguments for viewing this otherwise amusing movie.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Eight Legged Freaks.
99% of the spiders in this movie are computer generated, however they are all based on real spider species. The official site (listed below) has a basic spider dictionary, but some of the scenes from the movie may be disturbing to young readers. You may find more spider info at this page from Washington State University:
http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb1548/eb1548.html And for those jumping spiders, look here: