Arachnophobia (1990)


Directed by: Frank Marshall

Written by: Don Jakoby & Wesley Strick

Story by: Don Jakoby & Al Williams


Jeff Daniels .... Dr. Ross Jennings
Harley Jane Kozak .... Molly Jennings
John Goodman .... Delbert McClintock
Julian Sands .... Doctor James Artherton
Stuart Pankin .... Sheriff Lloyd Parsons
Brian McNamara .... Chris Collins
Mark L. Taylor .... Jerry Manley
Henry Jones .... Doctor Sam Metcalf
Peter Jason .... Henry Beechwood

Release Date: Theatrical: July 18, 1990




After exploring some spiders in a tropical country a man named Jerry Manley (Mark L. Taylor) is bitten and killed by a gigantic tarantula but can't find this vicious spider but it stows away to a country land where a new family called the Jennings moves in to a farmland and the father named Dr. Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels) has had a childhood fear of spiders. He has grown up, married with kids but he never overcame that fear.
The spider happens to reside in their barn and mated with a female spider as more killer spiders seemed to have bred and made a huge web in the barn slowly moving into other people's homes and killing them.
Some people end up dying when Ross is around who is a doctor and people accuse him of being a death curse but then he discovers these spiders are doing the nasty deeds and now it is up to him to try and find the nest and destroying all the spiders which is his worst fear of all but tries to get the aid of an exterminator named Delbert McClintock (John Goodman) although he is in a dangerous situation that not even Delbert can help him.


The beginning of the film looks terrific with a camera shot zooming over an ocean as well as some islands too. Things look creepy while there's people in the jungle and they spray a tree with insects falling down as well as someone closely looking at a tarantula thinking it's dead and it springs up which truly makes you jump as if you were that person since the camera shots look perfect closing in on this spider. Plus there's a creepier moment when another one sneaks inside his backpack and later on crawls into his sleeping bag while he is trying to rest which leaves you the chills big time for anymone who is scared of spiders.
There's some uplifting humoress moments like a cat and a dog running out of a door when this critter starts to crawl near them and going outside plus a crow picking it up and then drops dead near a farm area which shows nice timing to the story as to how the terror will unveil to the family that's moving into the new home. Another perfect timing is when a little girl is scared of a spider in their new home and the mother takes the spider out to a barn where that evil tarantula is residing in as well as a shot on the two spiders mating.
Things seem to look quite suspenseful when we spot both the married couple Ross and Molly spotting the barn with big shiny looking spider webs in which leqaves a creepy impression here. Also there's nice close up shots on Ross climbing up a ladder and acting afraid in which you have a sinking feeling that he may fall from this. This scene looked well done.
More humoress moments here when they have an open house party and we spot a plump woman just grabbing at the cookies and putting it on her plate. This was done very slapstick like.
We have terrific creepy shots on new baby spiders crawling out of the barn to raise some terror which truly looked frightening when we spot all of this.
Later on a perfect shocking moment occurs when a resident is about to turn off her lamp and suddenly a spider zooms down from it's web to bite her.
The story starts to be uplifting again when we spot a truck parking and a stocky man named Delbert McClintock who is an exterminator for bugs comes out of the vehicle talking to Molly and inspecting the house. The writing for this looked well done for what was said in the story as fans of comedy flicks will get a kick out of this who are already scared as to what is happening here.
There's also a good funny memorable moment when Delbert spots a spider and this object looks back at him when he tries to spray something at it. It looked like a drawing match here which anyone can get a kick out of showing perfect timing in this scene.
A perfect traditional scene is when the police as well as Ross discovering two of the plump married couple that were at the open house party sitting in their couch dead and then a spider crawls out of the husbands nose. Anytime this was used in a horror flick still does the trick into creeping you out here.
Then we have the traditonal teenage sirl taking a shower in which is a perfect target to be a victim for this but yet we spot a spider trying to crawl down on her as this is pretty spooky to watch without a doubt.
Then the terror happens big time when the family tries to flee their home only to be blocked by spiders crawling from the walls and floor as well as them zooming down on their web. This was a perfect scare indeed for all you spider haters.
Great moments with Jeff doing a showdown trying to snuff out the spiders nest as well as doing battles with the tarantula in which we spot creepy close up shots on the spiders eyes as well as this critter being smart and sneaky. There's even a situation when Jeff is trapped and trying to struggle to get away and this deadly thing is crawling up to him. THis will give you the shakes for sure and one of the best scary scene's in this movie too.
Bottom line is that this is a great story and truly scary for anyone who had a fear of spiders like me as you are guaranteed to be scared wondering if some of these people will survive or not.
Has great effects and real creepy looking spiders to make things even more terrifying too.
The movie was almost a spoof on those old 70's flicks like Kingdom of the Spiders but this one was in much better taste.
If you love both comedy and horror this one is for you!!!!

The acting is terrific. Jeff Daniels (Dr. Ross Jennings) does a suspenseful performance and is believeable as someone with a fear of spiders with his actions. He shows a nice seriousness to his attitude as well as doing a great job panting and breathing whenever he cringes dealing with spiders along with him showing a great vengeful aggression to what he is doing in order to try and snuff them out. He does well with his caring attitude too. He was a ton of energy and a true character actor for this flick without a doubt.
Harley Jane Kozak (Molly Jennings) pulls her part off well too as the sympathetic wife. She really had a nice calmness into her speaking and came across perfectly as a family woman in the film. Also does well speaking peacefully and acting reasonable in certain situations too. She also does well with her anxious behavior whenever the terros start with the spiders.
John Goodman
(Delbert McClintock) has great timing for his comedic role as a heroic exterminator as he brings alot of charm to the story but of course he has had loads of experience in comedy like in the sitcom Roseanne.
He really does well acting witty while insepcting a home which shows off perfectly. Also he shows a good sarcastic behavior while trying to step on a spider as there's perfect charactreristics to this moment as well. He also was perfect when acting shocked after spotting a corpse that fell from the barn. Plus he comes across marvellously wuhile trying to act heroic with his battling against these deadly insects. I found that he was one of the people that stole the film with his performance here.
Julian Sands (Doctor James Artherton) was great with his British accent in which he came across perfectly as a scientist studying these types of species in which he is very strong in his speaking with whatever he does here. He was believeable in every way as well as doing a good job by acting anxious too which shows off some nice energy here too. He basically studied this part inside out and deserves good credit here.
Stuart Pankin
(Sheriff Lloyd Parsons) of course plays the jerkoff in which he normally does in shows since he is so good at it and has that look too to top it off. He was convincing by acting like a typical goofball bullying lawman in the flick with a nice closed minded behavior which shows off very well here. Also he does well by reacting anxiously after eating some cereal from a box and spotting a dead spider in it which came off believeable here. Hats off to this fellow for sure.
Henry Jones (Doctor Sam Metcalf) had the most effective supporting role in the flick in which he does well with his grouchy aggressions and playing a typical old coot in the film too. He shows off a perfect negative type of personality into his whole performance. Also he was great acting in pain after a spider bite as well as suffocating to death which looked very intense and realistic here.

Trevor Jones composed the music for this flick along with tons of other motion pictures to his credit as he has some nice peaceful composing along with suspenseful music too for the real shocking moments. There's also low sounding keyboard playing as this works in well. Plus there's neat comedic saxophone and harmonica music for the scene's with the bug exterminator checking out some of the houses for spiders which adds a nice uplifting moments than just the dark creepiness in the flick. Also alot of terrific powerful trombone and drum playing especially for the final countdown between the character Ross and his battle against the spiders.

There's a nice soundtrack but there's two songs that stick in my mind:
Towards the near ending we have a nice smooth jazz tune of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" by
Tony Bennett when it shows the camera panning across the ocean to some city lights in which this works out beautifully with the nice peaceful vocalising here giving it a nice ending the the terrors that have happened beforehand.
Then there's the closing credits with the song "Don't Bug Me" by Jimmy Buffet in which there's slightly cheesy but interesting vocalising along with nice guitar playing to the song too. Some of it seemed a little tuned out while hearing the singing and music playing for this but not too badly either.

[Flicks ant off of Manley's knee]
Doctor James Atherton: 24 hour ant.
Dick Manley: They bite?
Doctor James Atherton: They kill, Mr. Manley, in sufficient numbers.

Dr. Ross Jennings: Respect is fine, but actually I've always wanted to be feared.

Delbert McClintock: Rock and roll!

Jerry Manley: So how long will it take us to get back to camp?
Doctor James Atherton: What's the matter? You still worried about dinosaurs?

[noticing the dead spider Lloyd took out of the cereal box]
Milt Briggs: What could have killed it?
Dr. Ross Jennings: The shock of seeing Lloyd?

Dr. Ross Jennings: The itsy-bitsy spider crawled up the water spout; down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Molly Jennings: What's wrong?
Dr. Ross Jennings: Metcalf - he's having a seizure.
Molly Jennings: Thank God you didn't examine him this morning.

Delbert McClintock: Would anyone object if I tore this floor out?
Molly Jennings: I would.
Delbert McClintock: False alarm then. Lead on.

Molly Jennings: I'm sure you knew exactly what you were doing when you took Margaret off those pills.
Dr. Ross Jennings: Like I knew what I was doing when I chose this town... with the country doctor from hell!

Dr. Ross Jennings: What do you wanna bet they're gonna go chase fireflies?
Bunny: Wanna blow up a bullfrog?
Shelley: OK.

Delbert McClintock: There ain't no spiders here.
Collins: Look! There's a giant spider web over there in the corner.
Delbert McClintock: Well yes, a spider web would reveal an arachnid presence.

Doctor James Atherton: What's your specialty, Manley?
Jerry Manley: Football.

Dr. Ross Jennings: [after killing a spider] Therapy.

Delbert McClintock: [after stepping on a spider, a dog barks in the background] Yeah, that's right... I'm bad!