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End credits include the following information: “The producers wish to thank, USA: Cranes and Dollys by Chapman; Kenworthy Snorkel Camera Systems; Preston Cinema Systems; Manhattan Microwave Communications, N.Y.C.; Mobile Telesystems, Inc.; Comsat Mobile Communications; Carlson Travel Network; payroll services provided by Disc Production Management Group; the people of Cambria, California, and the San Luis Obispo County Film Commission. Venezuela: Ministerio del Ambiente y Los Recursos Naturales Renovables Inparques; C.V.G.-Edelca; Hoturvensa/Avensa; Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperacion; Policia Metropolitana; Ministerio de Transporte y Comunicaciones; Sindicato Profesional de Trabajadores de Radio, Teatro, Cine, TV y Afines--Seccionales del Distrito Federal y Estado Bolivar; Comision Indigenista del Ministerio de Educacion; Gobernacion del Estado Bolivar; Direccion de Cine del Ministerio de Fomento; and The Flying Squirrels.” Also, “This motion picture was created by Tangled Web Productions, Inc. and Amblin Entertainment, Inc.”
       Filming was set to begin 4 Dec 1989, the 7 Nov 1989 HR noted. According to the 8 Dec 1989 HR, Venezuela granted executive producer Steven Spielberg the right to film in the remote, restricted Gran Sabana region, home to plant and animal species found nowhere else. Stipulations included a limited number of crewmen and equipment, no overnight stays, and only aerial shots of some areas.
       The film’s spiders were profiled in the 27 Jul 1990 issue of Entertainment Weekly, as well as in production notes in AMPAS library files. The large “original” spider that began the fictional rampage was “Big Bob,” a Brazilian tarantula given a strap-on abdomen to provide even larger bulk. Most of the “killer” spiders, however, were New Zealand delenas, who, despite their three-inch-wide bodies, were harmless and willing to be handled by the ... More Less

End credits include the following information: “The producers wish to thank, USA: Cranes and Dollys by Chapman; Kenworthy Snorkel Camera Systems; Preston Cinema Systems; Manhattan Microwave Communications, N.Y.C.; Mobile Telesystems, Inc.; Comsat Mobile Communications; Carlson Travel Network; payroll services provided by Disc Production Management Group; the people of Cambria, California, and the San Luis Obispo County Film Commission. Venezuela: Ministerio del Ambiente y Los Recursos Naturales Renovables Inparques; C.V.G.-Edelca; Hoturvensa/Avensa; Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperacion; Policia Metropolitana; Ministerio de Transporte y Comunicaciones; Sindicato Profesional de Trabajadores de Radio, Teatro, Cine, TV y Afines--Seccionales del Distrito Federal y Estado Bolivar; Comision Indigenista del Ministerio de Educacion; Gobernacion del Estado Bolivar; Direccion de Cine del Ministerio de Fomento; and The Flying Squirrels.” Also, “This motion picture was created by Tangled Web Productions, Inc. and Amblin Entertainment, Inc.”
       Filming was set to begin 4 Dec 1989, the 7 Nov 1989 HR noted. According to the 8 Dec 1989 HR, Venezuela granted executive producer Steven Spielberg the right to film in the remote, restricted Gran Sabana region, home to plant and animal species found nowhere else. Stipulations included a limited number of crewmen and equipment, no overnight stays, and only aerial shots of some areas.
       The film’s spiders were profiled in the 27 Jul 1990 issue of Entertainment Weekly, as well as in production notes in AMPAS library files. The large “original” spider that began the fictional rampage was “Big Bob,” a Brazilian tarantula given a strap-on abdomen to provide even larger bulk. Most of the “killer” spiders, however, were New Zealand delenas, who, despite their three-inch-wide bodies, were harmless and willing to be handled by the cast and crew. Director Frank Marshall explained that since spiders cannot be trained, they were coaxed into moving in desired directions, usually with thin, vibrating wires or portable blow dryers, and then filmed over and over. Instead of using only “cutaways,” Marshall designed shots in which actors and spiders occupied the same frame. “Spider wranglers” were each assigned fifteen spiders, because several scenes required up to 200. The filmmakers avoided harming their tiny stars. During the scene in which exterminator “Delbert McClintock” steps on a spider, he wore a boot with a hollow bottom. Mechanical spiders were used for more difficult tasks, such as leaping.
       Many of the Venezuelan jungle scenes were filmed on MGM Studios’ Stage 30, where a rain forest was built. For the four-week shoot in Cambria, CA, the production built the exteriors for the Jennings’ Victorian farmhouse and barn. The local high school football team was used for a scene in which a player was killed by a spider. Interiors for the Jennings house and barn were built at the Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The title was originally Arachniphobia, but underwent a correction to Arachnophobia, the 10 Jan 1990 DV and 14 Jan 1990 Orange County Register announced. An alternate spelling of the word, which means “fear of arachnids, or spiders,” is “arachnephobia,” but “arachniphobia” was a misspelling. A 26 Mar 1990 DV item noted that Hollywood Pictures executives, worried that “arachnophobia” might confuse audiences, decided to change the film’s title to Along Came a Spider, but later reconsidered.
       The filmmakers renamed Cambria “Canaima” to celebrate Canaima National Park in Venezuela, where dramatic aerial scenes were shot, the 18 Jul 1990 Var reported.
       Arachnophobia was the first release by Hollywood Pictures, a division of the Walt Disney Company, and marked Frank Marshall’s directorial debut. The $22 million film pulled in $7 million its first weekend, according to the 23 Jul 1990 HR, and eventually grossed $53.2 million. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1990.
---
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1990.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jun 1990.
---
Entertainment Weekly
27 Jul 1990
p. 37, 40.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Jul 1990
p. 1.
New York Times
18 Jul 1990
p. 11.
Orange County Register
14 Jan 1990
Section L, p. 9.
Variety
6 Dec 1989.
---
Variety
18 Jul 1990
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Hollywood Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present
A Frank Marshall Film
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr, Venezuela unit
Asst dir, Venezuela unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
Co-exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Gyrosphere op
Gyrosphere asst
Gyrosphere asst
Still photog
Video assist op
Elec best boy
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Grip
Grip
Cam asst, Venezuela unit
Cam asst, Venezuela unit
Still photog, Venezuela unit
Key grip, Venezuela unit
Grip best boy, Venezuela unit
Grip, Venezuela unit
Gaffer, Venezuela unit
Elec best boy, Venezuela unit
Elec, Venezuela unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Illustrator
Illustrator
Illustrator
Art dept coord
Art dept prod asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Drapery
Sr set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Propmaker foreman
Greens foreman
Set const, Venezuela unit
Asst prop master, Venezuela unit
Venezuela unit, Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Women's costumer
Men's costumer
Ward supv, Venezuela unit
MUSIC
Mus cond by
Orch
Mus coord
Mus scoring mixer
Synthesizers mixed by
Wind synthesist
Mus contractor
SOUND
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
ADR loop group
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd eff processing
Sd eff processing
Foley by
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff (co-ord)
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Visual eff supv
Visual eff coord
Spider created and designed by, Creature eff
Creature eff supv, Chris Walas, Inc.
Gen mgr, Chris Walas, Inc.
L.A. coord, Chris Walas, Inc.
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Animatronics eng
Titles and opticals
Computer graphics by
Matte painting eff produced by
Dir of matte photog, Matte World
Matte artist supv, Matte World
Exec in charge of prod, Matte World
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Make-up/Hair, Venezuela unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc supv
Scr supv
Cont asst
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Loc mgr (Los Angeles)
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Supv entomologist, Spider unit
Live spider coord, Spider unit
Spider consultant, Spider unit
Spider consultant, Spider unit
Spider spotter, Spider unit
First aid
Craft service
Projectionist
Amblin post prod supv
Amblin prod controller
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod assoc
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Ms. Kennedy
Asst to Mr. Jakoby
Casting asst
Cambria casting
Local extra casting
ADR voice casting
Studio teacher
Helicopter pilot
Prod supv, Venezuela unit
Prod supv, Venezuela unit
Loc mgr, Venezuela unit
Asst prod accountant, Venezuela unit
Prod coord, Venezuela unit
Extras coord, Venezuela unit
Pub relations, Venezuela unit
Logistics support, Venezuela unit
Prod services provided by, Venezuela unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Double
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Summer Wind," written by Henry Mayer, Hans Brudtke and Johnny Mercer, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Blue Eyes Are Sensitive To The Light," written by Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly and Martika, performed by Sara Hickman, courtesy of Hollywood Records, through special arrangement with Elektra Entertainment
"Goin' Ahead," written and performed by Pat Metheny, an ECM production
+
SONGS
"Summer Wind," written by Henry Mayer, Hans Brudtke and Johnny Mercer, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Blue Eyes Are Sensitive To The Light," written by Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly and Martika, performed by Sara Hickman, courtesy of Hollywood Records, through special arrangement with Elektra Entertainment
"Goin' Ahead," written and performed by Pat Metheny, an ECM production
"I Left My Heart In San Francisco," written by George C. Cory and Douglass Cross, performed by Tony Bennett, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
"Don't Bug Me," written by Jimmy Buffett, Michael Utley and Jay Oliver, performed by Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett appears courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Arachniphobia
Along Came a Spider
Release Date:
18 July 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 July 1990
New York opening: week of 18 July 1990
Production Date:
4 December 1989--11 April 1990, in Venezuela, Los Angeles and Cambria, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Amblin Entertainment, Inc., Hollywood Pictures Company
Copyright Date:
19 July 1990
Copyright Number:
PA471706
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Cameras and lenses by Arriflex®
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in feet):
9,847
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30592
SYNOPSIS

Photographer Jerry Manley arrives at the Venezuelan base camp of entomologist Dr. James Atherton. Despite Jerry’s complaint of fever, James whisks him by helicopter to a remote giant sinkhole, where Jerry helps James and his assistants set up cones to catch falling butterflies as James pumps smoke into the trees. Several huge spiders also fall, and James captures two in jars, but a third spider slips into Jerry Manley’s backpack. Back in camp, as James studies the spiders, he notes that, like solider ants, they have no reproductive organs. While Jerry rests in his tent, the third spider crawls from his backpack and delivers a fatal bite to his stomach. Thinking Jerry died of fever, James packs his body into a box to be shipped home, but the spider slips inside. When the body arrives in Canaima, California, mortician Irv Kendall is shocked at its desiccated condition, as if something sucked it dry. The spider sneaks out of the box and escapes through a cat door. A crow swoops down and picks it up, but soon plummets lifelessly into the yard of a house where Dr. Ross Jennings, his wife Molly, and children Tommy and Shelley have just arrived from San Francisco, California. Dr. Jennings has chosen to take over as town physician when Dr. Samuel “Sam” Metcalf retires the following week. Tommy Jennings sees the large spider and reports it to his mother, who finds a smaller, harmless spider instead and releases it in the barn out back. The foreign spider joins the domestic spider, and the two mate. When Dr. Jennings visits Sam to discuss taking over his practice, the old physician has second thoughts about retiring. ... +


Photographer Jerry Manley arrives at the Venezuelan base camp of entomologist Dr. James Atherton. Despite Jerry’s complaint of fever, James whisks him by helicopter to a remote giant sinkhole, where Jerry helps James and his assistants set up cones to catch falling butterflies as James pumps smoke into the trees. Several huge spiders also fall, and James captures two in jars, but a third spider slips into Jerry Manley’s backpack. Back in camp, as James studies the spiders, he notes that, like solider ants, they have no reproductive organs. While Jerry rests in his tent, the third spider crawls from his backpack and delivers a fatal bite to his stomach. Thinking Jerry died of fever, James packs his body into a box to be shipped home, but the spider slips inside. When the body arrives in Canaima, California, mortician Irv Kendall is shocked at its desiccated condition, as if something sucked it dry. The spider sneaks out of the box and escapes through a cat door. A crow swoops down and picks it up, but soon plummets lifelessly into the yard of a house where Dr. Ross Jennings, his wife Molly, and children Tommy and Shelley have just arrived from San Francisco, California. Dr. Jennings has chosen to take over as town physician when Dr. Samuel “Sam” Metcalf retires the following week. Tommy Jennings sees the large spider and reports it to his mother, who finds a smaller, harmless spider instead and releases it in the barn out back. The foreign spider joins the domestic spider, and the two mate. When Dr. Jennings visits Sam to discuss taking over his practice, the old physician has second thoughts about retiring. Jennings panics, because he has bought a house and rented an office in Canaima. Retired schoolteacher Margaret Hollins volunteers to be his first patient, and when he gives her a check-up, he discovers that Sam unnecessarily put Margaret on high blood pressure medication. Meanwhile, Molly, an amateur photographer, takes pictures of a large web in the barn. Hoping to cure her husband of his fear of spiders, she takes him to see it, but Ross is terrified by his earliest childhood memory of a spider crawling on him. Just out of sight in the loft, an egg sac pulsates. Later, Margaret throws a lawn party to introduce Dr. Jennings to the townspeople, and Tommy and Shelley make friends with neighbor Bunny Beechwood, whose father, Henry Beechwood, is the high school coach. Other guests include Jerry Manley’s parents, grieving over their son’s death and angry they could not view his body before burial. That evening, a spider gets into Margaret’s house and fatally bites her hand. The next day, Dr. Jennings attempts to convert his basement into a wine cellar, but the wood is rotten. When he fires a nail gun into the ceiling, the nails shoot through the floor boards above. He goes to Margaret’s to thank her for the party, and sees her body through a window. Sam Metcalf declares she had a heart attack and blames Ross for taking her off blood pressure pills. Recognizing signs of convulsion, Ross suggests an autopsy, but Sam refuses, because locals object to having their bodies desecrated. Margaret is buried without being examined. Meanwhile, Molly Jennings hires local exterminator Delbert McClintock to check the house for termites, but he finds only “bad wood.” Henry Beechwood asks Dr. Jennings to give his football players physical examinations. Later, during practice, a spider crawls into a football helmet. After player Todd Miller puts it on, he is bitten while being tackled and dies. His teammates surround him, take off the helmet, and lay it aside. Nobody sees the spider crawling out, but a player steps on it and kills the arachnid without noticing. Though Todd’s death is blamed on the tackle, some wonder if Dr. Jennings is to blame and call him “Dr. Death.” That night, Dr. Sam Metcalf steps off his treadmill before bed, puts his foot into a slipper, and is bitten. His wife, Evelyn, calls Dr. Jennings, but the old doctor is dead by the time he arrives. When County Medical Examiner Milton “Milt” Briggs arrives, Dr. Jennings tells him that Metcalf’s wife saw a spider, then shows him a bite on the old doctor’s toe. Milt argues, however, that spider bites are rarely fatal. He blames the elderly doctor’s death on overexertion on the treadmill. Dr. Jennings demands an autopsy, and the next day, Briggs telephones to say Dr. Metcalf died from a tiny amount of unknown toxin. Over the objection of Sheriff Lloyd Parsons, Dr. Jennings asks Milt to exhume Todd Miller and Margaret Hollins. Dr. Jennings warns his children to watch out for spiders. While playing with Bunny at the Beechwood house, Shelley Jennings is almost bitten by a spider, but Bunny innocently drops a large book on it. Meanwhile, Ross finds a cricket in the house and realizes he has not heard them lately, even though crickets chirping on quiet evenings was one of Canaima’s selling points. Seeing that Dr. James Atherton, one of America’s foremost entomologists, is studying spiders at a California university, he telephones him. Atherton tells him that people frequently report false outbreaks of spider deaths. However, after he hangs up, Dr. Atherton vaguely recalls the name Canaima. Studying his new species of Venezuelan spiders, he asks his assistant, Chris Collins, to investigate. Chris arrives in Canaima just as Dr. Jennings and Milt find spider bites on the exhumed bodies of Todd Miller and Margaret Hollis. The young assistant telephones Dr. Atherton and asks him to come. The next day, as Dr. Jennings, Milt, Sheriff Parsons, and Chris search Margaret’s property, they find a large web filled with fragments of crickets, along with a dead spider. Chris Collins observes that another spider drained it, because spiders are like vampires. Suddenly, a spider menaces them. Dr. Jennings freezes with fear, but makes enough movement to distract the spider, allowing Chris to drop a glass over it. Nearby, as Bunny’s older sister, Becky Beechwood, takes a shower, a spider drops on her from the shower rod, but the rushing water sends it skittering down into the drain. Henry Beechwood telephones Delbert McClintock, who arrives and finds a spider on the front walk. The exterminator’s insecticide has no effect, however, so he squashes the spider with his boot. When Dr. James Atherton arrives in town, Dr. Jennings claims that he and Irv Kendall have already figured out that a spider escaped from his Venezuelan camp in Jerry Manley’s casket. Studying the captured spider, Atherton notes the huge fangs and the lack of sex organs, which is uncharacteristic of spiders, except for the Venezuelan species. He explains that this type of spider has been trapped for millennia in a deep gorge, but now one of them has mated with a local species, and their offspring will spread out. Though these sexless spiders will soon die, a new queen has probably been born, and her offspring will be unstoppable. Her nest must be destroyed. That night, at Irv Kendall’s house, a spider gets into a bowl of popcorn and kills him and his wife. The next day, when Atherton goes to Dr. Jennings’ office with Sheriff Parsons, he sees Molly’s photographs of the huge barn web and demands to go there. Elsewhere, Chris Collins tells Dr. Jennings the queen will be hiding in a dark, musty place, and no other spiders will be around because the queen protects her babies. Plotting a map of where spiders were seen or people were bitten, Chris draws a circle around the Jennings house. Meanwhile, as Atherton investigates the web in the barn, the original Venezuelan spider fatally bites him. Dr. Jennings arrives to evacuate his family, but they are surrounded by hundreds of spiders and must escape through an upstairs window. However, Jennings again freezes at the top of the stairs and tumbles over the railing. He crashes through the rotted ground floor and lands in the cellar. Seeing no spiders, he knows from what Chris Collins said that this must be where the queen is hiding. When it attacks him, he shovels the spider toward a broken fuse box and electrocutes her. Finding a giant egg sac, he douses it with wine. As the original Venezuelan spider drops down on him, he knocks it away, chases it with flames, and sets part of the basement on fire. He momentarily freezes as the spider crawls up his leg, then knocks it away into the fire. As the flaming creature leaps at him again, Ross fires his nail gun and sends the burning spider into the egg sac, setting it afire. Delbert McClintock pulls him to safety. Later, Dr. Jennings and his wife, having returned to San Francisco, drink wine, happy to be home. After their ordeal, they are only mildly disturbed when an earthquake hits.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.