Sting – The best spiders on the big screen

From terrifying tarantulas to cunning webslingers, spiders have a long and fascinating history in cinema. This month see’s the release of STING, a new creature feature about a girl who befriends a rapidly-growing alien spider with a taste for humans. To prepare for it’s release we crawl down memory lane & weave a web of some of the most famous spiders of the silver screen.

1.Buddy’s Big Hunt
Despite being nearly a century old, this isn’t the first time spiders appeared in film. That honour likely goes to 1900 short documentary ‘Spiders In A Web’. This 1935 black-and-white cartoon classic features an insatiable bug-catcher called Buddy & gives spiders the Looney Tunes effect. The film hold’s additional significance because it introduces us to the infamous ACME Corporation that became a Looney Tunes staple for decades.

2. Tarantula (1955)
From the 40s to the 60s, Hollywood had a big love affair with creature features. Perhaps the most infamous of them all was ‘Tarantula’. It features a spider growing to over 100 feet tall, so big it would make Godzilla look like a pet shop lizard.

3. Arachnophobia
THIS was the movie that terrified a certain generation of movie lovers, causing teenagers of the 90’s to sleep with a can of bug spray by their bedside. It’s mix of horror and comedy had audiences laughing & squirming in equal measure . Jeff Daniels and John Goodman headline an impressive cast of characters who find their sleepy American town suddenly under attack by a particularly vicious, very venomous group of Venezuelan spiders.

4. Starship Troopers
Not technically spiders as we know them, but if 100-foot mutant spiders are allowed on this list, then the alien Arachnids from this 1997 cult classic from the director of ‘Robocop’ should be allowed too! They’re out to erase mankind (or are they just protecting their home world from our invasion??).

5. Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
The producers behind ‘Independence Day’ turned their attention to a smaller scale disaster in this comedic take on the camp 1950s monster movies. Fresh off the success of ‘Scream’ and its sequels, David Arquette cemented his status as a Scream King, and he’s joined by an early-in-her-career Scarlett Johansson in this wild ride where creepy crawlies go colossal, and a small town gets tangled in a web of giant spider mayhem.

6. Harry Potter & The Lord of the Rings
We’re doubling on these hugely popular fantasies because, well, the parallels were just too strong to not make the obvious comparison. In the first ‘Harry Potter’ sequel, Harry and Ron head into the Forbidden Forest and come face to… eh… face(?) with Aragog, a giant spider who wastes no time in sending his impressive brood to hunt them down. Meanwhile, in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, that tricksy little Gollum leads Frodo and Samwise into the web-filled cave of Shelob, hoping the giant spider will kill them both, allowing Gollum to retrieve his precious one ring. In both cases, the sudden arrival of a big smart spider sent the fear rates through the roof for the collective audiences.

7. Charlotte’s Web
In an attempt at some kind of balance, and to prove that this article wasn’t funded by some kind of anti-spider group, we give you 2006 movie ‘Charlotte’s Web’. Based on the beloved 1952 children’s book of the same name, it tells the story of a young pig, and the spider on his farm who makes it her goal to save the little piggy from the slaughterhouse. And who do you get to voice a spider when you want the audience to trust them completely? Yes, you get Julia Roberts.

8. Kong – Skull Island
The very successful Monsterverse is most famous its giant lizards and giant apes but in the 2017 Kong movie it was the Mother Longlegs that stood out. It’s giant legs resembling bamboo stalks, allow them to blend seamlessly with the surrounding forest, meaning there’s nowhere to hide!

STING is at Irish cinemas from May 31st

Words: Rory Cashin