Have you ever wondered what Captain Kirk would be like if he was a cowboy veterinarian in Arizona, battling a invasion of tarantulas? Well somebody did, as evidenced by the laughably bad 1977 hit KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS.
In just the first thing that challenges suspension of belief, William Shatner is a horny small town animal doc, riding horses like the wind and lassoing more than his share of spider trouble when hundreds of thousands of tarantulas invade Camp Verde, Arizona.
Luckily, Ashley, a beautiful blonde ASU professor with a penchant for driving gloves arrives just in time to help him battle the arachnids. Tiffany Bolling was cast as the Sun Devil professor when she was the only auditioning actress that had no problem working with spiders. I had suspected that acting was not the top criteria.
The laughs are frequent and rarely intended.
The story manages to reference "Jaws" with a Mayor that wants all this spider business hushed up because the Camp Verde Fair is coming!!
This is the kind of camp, b-movie where you know exactly what's going to happen well in advance of when it does.
These might also be the dumbest spider fighters in history. After trapping themselves into a resort surrounded by these horrifying 5" creatures, they cant figure out why the A/C isn't working. So they climb up on a ladder and start playing with opening a ceiling air duct while slack jawed dummies stand right underneath it, staring up.
Good golly, what a shock when a ten gallon hat worth of critters tumbles out and done hits 'em right in the face.
The film's biggest problem is that normal size tarantulas just aren't scary. Filmmakers in the 50's knew that ya had to blast those suckers with some radiation and make 'em elephant size to get yer blood goin'.
Alas, these country bumpkins only have the tiny version. Shatner has talked many times about the fun he had making this low budget film. It allowed him to show his passion for horses and riding, while occasionally busting into full "Kahhhnnnnnn!"-style overacting and thrashing about with hands held up frozen in a t-rex style position.
To top off the film, there are several country songs, including an end title song that is so laughably bad that Tamara and I just both bust out laughing, with her adding a "oh come on this is just terrible. It's not even trying!"
That heinous song plays over one of the worst matte paintings ever lingered on in a feature film. Like the rest of the movie, it's SOOO bad that it borders on hilarious.
All web and no bite, KINGDOM gets a D, avoiding an F for giving me plenty of late Saturday night laughs.