DIRECTOR: Jack Arnold
Jack Arnold strikes again, having moved on from the desert where It Came From Outer Space (1953) and then from the depths of The Black Lagoon (1954), we again find ourselves in the midst of what could have been an intellectual thriller, turned monster movie.
The problem with Arnold’s Sci-Fi monster flicks is that considering their brief running times, most barely make it to 90 minutes, not enough time is spent of the titular creature, often spending way too much time establishing characters, NOT characterisations, but B-movie cyphers.
Each serves a purpose in moving the plot forward but also considering the amount of time given over to the cast, there is little to show for it. And when we get to the Tarantula itself, the effects could have been better, even for the time.
There are many glitches in the superimposed spider photography, but in spite of these sometimes glaring flaws, it is still effective and quite creepy. The notion of a massive spider rampaging through the Californian desert, scaling mountains and dissolving people is inherently scary, but Arnold seems to be able to give us daft characters and lighter tone in which to filter this horror.
Maybe it was terrifying back in 1955, who knows, but now it is tame and laughable but if you take it in the vein in which it was intended back in the day, Tarantula is at the very least, a creepy and enjoyable romp, but best left to fans of classic American Sci-Fi I reckon…
And can I just point out that the pulpy poster bares little resemblance to events portrayed in the film itself. In fact, the poster looks better than the movie we get!