Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

PG | 94 mins | Horror | 12 August 1977

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HISTORY

       A 31 Jan 1977 HR article reported that Jim Mitchum was cast in a starring role, but he does not appear in the film or in onscreen credits.
       Although an 18 Mar 1977 DV story stated the film would begin principal photography 21 Mar 1977 in Sedona AZ, both the 23 Mar 1977 DV and 24 Mar 1977 HR reported that principal photography would begin 4 Apr 1977. Location work was completed in mid-April 1977, according to the 20 Apr 1977 HR .
       A 23 May 1977 People article stated that producer Igo Kantor paid spider wrangler Jim Brockett $10 per spider to transport tarantulas to the film’s Campe Verde, AZ, location.
       A 27 Apr 1977 Var news item related that Dimension Pictures planned a 12 Aug 1977 national release. A 29 Jun 1977 Var brief announced a 150-theater opening for the film that week in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, area; however, a 17 Aug 1977 Var box office report noted the film played a nine-theater “showcase” in KY.
       The 16 Nov 1977 HR praised the film for “an intelligent script, fine acting, and outstanding special effects.”
      The following statement appears in end credits: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Vogue Coach Corporation, Ottie Alburn Sales, Inc., Avis Rent-a-Car, Travco Corporation, Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz of North America, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Miller Brewing Co., and the State of ... More Less

       A 31 Jan 1977 HR article reported that Jim Mitchum was cast in a starring role, but he does not appear in the film or in onscreen credits.
       Although an 18 Mar 1977 DV story stated the film would begin principal photography 21 Mar 1977 in Sedona AZ, both the 23 Mar 1977 DV and 24 Mar 1977 HR reported that principal photography would begin 4 Apr 1977. Location work was completed in mid-April 1977, according to the 20 Apr 1977 HR .
       A 23 May 1977 People article stated that producer Igo Kantor paid spider wrangler Jim Brockett $10 per spider to transport tarantulas to the film’s Campe Verde, AZ, location.
       A 27 Apr 1977 Var news item related that Dimension Pictures planned a 12 Aug 1977 national release. A 29 Jun 1977 Var brief announced a 150-theater opening for the film that week in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, area; however, a 17 Aug 1977 Var box office report noted the film played a nine-theater “showcase” in KY.
       The 16 Nov 1977 HR praised the film for “an intelligent script, fine acting, and outstanding special effects.”
      The following statement appears in end credits: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Vogue Coach Corporation, Ottie Alburn Sales, Inc., Avis Rent-a-Car, Travco Corporation, Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz of North America, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Miller Brewing Co., and the State of Arizona.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Sep 1977.
---
Cinefantastique
Fall 1977.
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1976
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1977
p. 28.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1977
p. 6.
Films and Filming
Aug 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1977
p. 2, 8.
People
23 May 1977
p. 55.
Tuscon Citizen
30 Apr 1977
p. 2.
Variety
27 Apr 1977
p. 34.
Variety
29 Jun 1977.
p. 29.
Variety
17 Aug 1977
p. 10.
Variety
16 Nov 1977
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Dimension Pictures presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
From an original story by
From an original story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
2d grip
Asst cam
Asst cam
2d unit photog
Still man
Laboratory
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const foreman
MUSIC
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom man
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Matte artist
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Make-up
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec for Dimension Pictures, Inc.
Prod supv
Post prod supv
Prod coord
Loc coord
Creative consultant
Scr supv
Spiders supplied by
Spider wrangler
Asst [spider wrangler]
Tech consultant
Unit pub
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt gaffer
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stunt flyer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Peaceful Verde Valley," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
"Things I Treasure," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
"Green Side Of The Mountain," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
+
SONGS
"Peaceful Verde Valley," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
"Things I Treasure," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
"Green Side Of The Mountain," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette
"XKE," written and sung by Dorsey Burnette.
+
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 August 1977
Premiere Information:
Louisville, KY opening: 12 August 1977
Los Angeles opening: 27 July 1978
Production Date:
4 April--mid April 1977 in Sedona and Camp Verde, AZ
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the Camp Verde, Arizona, ranch of Walter Colby, a prize calf comes down with a mysterious illness. Veterinarian Dr. Robert “Rack” Hansen is summoned, but cannot save the animal. Rack delivers blood samples to a lab in Flagstaff, Arizona. Back in town, at a gasoline station, Rack tinkers with his truck. Diane Ashley, driving a Mercedes-Benz, mistakes Rack for an employee and asks where she can find a hotel. Rack does not correct her and suggests the Washburn Lodge, where she rents a cabin from owner Emma Washburn. Diane asks where she can find Dr. Robert Hansen and Emma informs her that the doctor goes by the nickname, “Rack.” Emma introduces Diane to the only other guests, a couple from Colorado, Vern and Betty Johnson. At Rack’s home, the doctor has a beer with Sheriff Gene Smith. They are joined by Mayor Connors, who is worried that Rack is going to quarantine the Colby ranch, just weeks before the county fair. Diane arrives and is surprised that Rack was the man she met at the gasoline station. She tells him she is an entomologist from Arizona State University and has lab results from the Colby calf. Rack is dubious when she says the calf was killed by spider venom. Rack tells Diane he will take her to the Colby place in the morning and asks her to dinner, but she declines and returns to her cabin. The next day, at the ranch, Colby’s wife, Birch, finds their dog dead. Diane draws blood from the animal and deduces the dog died in the same manner as the calf. Rack is still not persuaded that a spider could kill a ... +


On the Camp Verde, Arizona, ranch of Walter Colby, a prize calf comes down with a mysterious illness. Veterinarian Dr. Robert “Rack” Hansen is summoned, but cannot save the animal. Rack delivers blood samples to a lab in Flagstaff, Arizona. Back in town, at a gasoline station, Rack tinkers with his truck. Diane Ashley, driving a Mercedes-Benz, mistakes Rack for an employee and asks where she can find a hotel. Rack does not correct her and suggests the Washburn Lodge, where she rents a cabin from owner Emma Washburn. Diane asks where she can find Dr. Robert Hansen and Emma informs her that the doctor goes by the nickname, “Rack.” Emma introduces Diane to the only other guests, a couple from Colorado, Vern and Betty Johnson. At Rack’s home, the doctor has a beer with Sheriff Gene Smith. They are joined by Mayor Connors, who is worried that Rack is going to quarantine the Colby ranch, just weeks before the county fair. Diane arrives and is surprised that Rack was the man she met at the gasoline station. She tells him she is an entomologist from Arizona State University and has lab results from the Colby calf. Rack is dubious when she says the calf was killed by spider venom. Rack tells Diane he will take her to the Colby place in the morning and asks her to dinner, but she declines and returns to her cabin. The next day, at the ranch, Colby’s wife, Birch, finds their dog dead. Diane draws blood from the animal and deduces the dog died in the same manner as the calf. Rack is still not persuaded that a spider could kill a much larger animal and Diane suggests there could have been hundreds of spiders. Colby informs them of the spider hill he discovered that morning. The hill contains hundreds or, possibly, thousands of tarantulas and Diane takes photographs. She is amazed that the normally cannibalistic arachnids are colonizing and cooperating. Later, Rack looks in on his brother John’s widow, Terry, and her daughter, Linda. Rack and Terry banter, but he sidesteps her insinuations of romance. Driving home, Rack sees Diane in her car, cuts her off, and coerces her into having dinner with him. As they discuss the case, Diane realizes that DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and other insecticides are diminishing the spiders’ natural food supply, forcing them to be more aggressive. Back at her cabin, she examines the film roll, while Rack turns amorous. As they begin to kiss, they both realize that they need to burn the spider hill immediately. When Rack and Diane arrive at the ranch, Colby’s bull bursts out of the barn covered in spiders and gores Colby. The animal dies and Rack and an angry Colby pour gasoline over the spider hill and set it on fire. The next day, Rack takes Diane to Terry’s place and asks if Terry minds. She tells him it is fine, but in private, she cries. Rack, Diane, and Linda go for a horseback ride and a picnic. Meanwhile, as Colby drives to the next town, a spider falls from his truck’s visor onto his face and the truck crashes. Later, on the way back to town, Rack comes across Colby’s wrecked truck. Rack and Sheriff Smith climb down to the wreck and discover Colby’s face encased in a web. Back at Rack’s office, Diane gets a call from the lab and learns the tarantula venom is five times stronger than normal. Sheriff Smith informs Birch Colby about the death of her husband and discovers twenty to thirty more spider hills near the one they burned. Mayor Connors, Rack and Diane arrive to survey the scene and the mayor orders a strong pesticide sprayed over the area without getting approval from the state. He asks Sheriff Smith to evacuate everyone from the nearby areas into town. A pilot, flying a crop dusting plane, begins spraying the fields, but soon realizes his cockpit is full of spiders. He loses control of the plane and begins flying erratically over the town before crashing into the gasoline station. Sheriff Smith asks his deputy to call Birch Colby, but there is no answer as she fends off hundreds of tarantulas inside her house with a pistol. Meanwhile, Rack decides he needs to get Terry and Linda to safety, but by the time he and Diane reach them, Terry is dead; they rescue Linda and take her to the Washburn Lodge. At the lodge, Emma’s phone goes dead and the couple from Colorado discovers that spiders surround the building. Emma finds Fred, the handyman, dead and wrapped in spider webs. Sheriff Smith arrives and reports that he found Birch in a similar cocoon. Diane explains that that is how tarantulas store their food. The sheriff heads back to town as Emma prepares a meal. When spiders begin dropping into the kitchen through a vent, Rack and Vern use chemical fire extinguishers to ward them off, and light a fire in the fireplace to keep the tarantulas from entering through the chimney. When Sheriff Smith reaches town, an angry mob prevents him from getting out of his patrol car. Another car crashes into a large water tower that falls and crushes the sheriff. Back at the lodge, it is eleven P.M. and the windows begin to crack from the pressure of the tarantulas, so Rack and Vern Johnson begin boarding up the windows. The power goes out and Rack goes to the basement, teeming with tarantulas, to check the circuit breakers. The spiders attack and he returns upstairs covered in bites. Diane neutralizes the venom and nurses Rack through the night. At daybreak, all is quiet and Emma makes coffee. Rack wants to check outside, but Emma suggests he remove some boards from one of the windows since they did not hear any breakage in the night. Rack is stunned to see a thick cocoon covering the lodge. Outside, the entire town is completely still and covered in webs. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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