Halloween: Film – Spider Baby
Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told – aka The Liver Eaters, Attack of the Liver Eaters, Cannibal Orgy -1964, Directed by Jack Hill. Spider Baby was shot between August and September 1964. However, due to original producer’s bankruptcy, the film was not released until January 18, 1968. Spider Baby suffered from poor marketing as well as a series of title changes that had nothing to do with the film.
Here’s the plot according to the good folks at Wikipedia:
Three children of the Merrye family live in a decaying rural mansion with their guardian Bruno (Lon Chaney, Jr.). The children suffer from “Merrye Syndrome”, a genetic affliction unique to members of their family, which causes them to mentally, socially, and physically regress into childhood. Two distant relatives arrive with their lawyer and his secretary in order to examine and claim the property as rightful heirs. Bruno’s shaky control over the children deteriorates; murder, chaos, and insanity ensue.
The siblings, Ralph (Sid Haig), Virginia (Jill Banner), and Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), are inbred, demented and dangerous. The ‘overgrown children’ exhibit playful innocence mixed with brutality and feral madness. Virginia is known as “Spider Baby” because of her obsession with spiders. She stalks and eats bugs, moving with a strange and spider-like grace. She also enjoys trapping unsuspecting victims in her rope “web,” “stinging” them to death using two butcher knives. After murdering an innocent delivery man (Mantan Moreland), Virginia cuts off one of his ears, which she keeps in a box.
Spider Baby’s brother, Ralph, is a sexually advanced but mentally deficient simpleton who moves through the house via a dumb waiter. Unable to speak, Ralph communicates with only grunts and leers. He becomes sexually aroused with the arrival of the two visiting women.
I won’t give away the rest of the story, you’ll have to watch it for yourself. It’s silly, creepy, not really scary but pretty great. It’s good to see the fabulous Sid Haig (House of a 1000 corpses, Devil’s Rejects, etc.) in an early role. It is kind of tough though seeing Lon Chaney Jr. in one of his final roles, drunk and bloated, (but he does sing the ridiculous title song pretty well). It was scheduled for a remake in 2008 but funding fell through – as you might expect.