Review – Tarantula (1955)
Tarantula, made in 1955 and directed by Jack Arnold, was possibly, in my humble opinion one of the the finest examples of the “monster created by science gone mad” genre. It tells the story of a scientist, conducting experiments, with a growth serum, way out in the middle of the Arizona desert. Obviously he’s experimenting on various creatures, from rabbits to guinea pigs. His most successful, however, is a huge Tarantula, which the first time we see it, is easily six feet across. This horrendous looking spider escapes, and basically wreaks havoc amongst the locals. It was awarded an “X” certificate in the U.K, so im guessing it must have been quite a terror ride back in 1955. It’s not quite so scary nowadays but its still one hell of a thrill ride.
There were quite a few similar movies around at the time including Them, The Deadly Mantis, and various other giant insect type films. Personally I think Tarantula stands head and shoulders above all of them.
These Jack Arnold films were always something very special. He did several which you could class as sci fi, and each and every one can now be regarded as classics. They include The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came From Outer Space (1953). You could spot an Arnold movie a mile away, Snappy dialogue, great pacing, solid acting and all had a genuinely eerie atmosphere plus amazing special effects, way before CGI had even been heard of. He definitely had a genuine affection for the genre, and it shows. This is absolutely a five star movie for me, and has been a firm favourite of mine since first seeing it when I was a kid.