This week:
Eight Legged Freaks

Filthy says:
"It's pretty good, but giant spiders deserve better."

At the center of Eight Legged Freaks is an enormous female spider named Consuela. The male spiders try to win her heart by giving her still-living people bound in their sticky webbing. Consuela likes to drink them dry while they're still fresh and tender. It reminds me of a girl I once knew, Melissa. She also liked to suck the life right out of you, then toss you on the scrap heap. She was so beautiful, so self-confident, and so bounteous of boobs, that no man could resist trying to please her with expensive dinners, jewelry and even vacations in hopes of breaking her spirit the way an Indian would break a horse's; by riding her bareback for hour after hour after hour. Every man who could, dated her, even though it meant getting kicked in the head and wishing he were dead afterward. She was the greatest ballbuster who ever lived.

Or so I was told. Personally, I wouldn't know because little Miss Hot Shit wouldn't give me the time of day. She wouldn't even deign to give old Dirtyballs a chance to be kicked in the noggin. Apparently there were too many better looking, richer and less violent fellows whose nuts she could pop like water balloons. Fuck, I would have been so good at having my heart broken. Her devastating me would have been so satisfying to her because I'd sink into the depths of suicidal despair for weeks or months. I would have left hundreds of sappy messages on her answering machine, and written her 2000-line e-mails that rhymed "love" and " heaven above". I would have gotten so drunk that I couldn't find my mouth, and then have a friend drive me over to her house where I could piss around the perimeter to mark my territory. I would have badmouthed her worse than any other guy ever had, thereby increasing her legend.

It's better to be heartbroken than to have a heart not worth breaking. All I wanted was for a beautiful girl to care enough about me to ruin my life. But this review isn't about that. It would be petty and pointless of me to waste your time complaining about something that happened long ago.

I'd rather tell you how messed up and miserable Melissa is today. What a great story, the way she devolved from sought-after man-eater to Hot-Pockets-eating single-and-looking with an expired real estate license, Hyundai Excel, six cats, an arm withered by frostbite, gout and subscriptions to four soap opera magazines. She lives in dirty little Gallup, New Mexico in a one-bedroom apartment. It's even greater that this is the news she chose to share in her Yahoo! Profile because it makes you wonder what she didn't say. Man, it makes me so fucking happy to see her miserable. I mean, really, that's the kind of shit that makes you want to get up in the morning; discovering how unhappy your enemies are.

Eight Legged Freaks Consuela isn't an enemy. She doesn't have enough personality to be. Nobody does in this movie. To her credit, though, if it weren't for the hundreds of male spiders trying to please her, the movie would be a total drag.

In dusty, dying Prosperity, Arizona, radioactive waste has been dumped into a pond adjacent to an exotic spider farm. As we all know from watching old movies, this leads to giant, mutated spiders on a rampage. Radioactive waste never makes animals nicer or smaller. Pretty quickly, hundreds of males attack the town, trying to bring back its residents as meals for Consuela. David Arquette is town sheriff Kari Wuhrer's love interest, returning after ten years to find a rumored motherlode of gold in his father's mines under the town, and save it from a new-agey land developer. Of course, all this subplot is about as extraneous as Candy Bottoms's journey to find the Golden Dildo in the The Pornyssey. You paid to see the action, not the acting. To its credit, Eight Legged Freaks understands that, and it gets down to business pretty quick and pretty relentlessly.

I don't know whether Eight Legged Freaks is an homage to old movies like Them and Tarantula, or whether those con artists in Hollywood just used the word "homage" because it sounds better than "rip-off." The only big difference is that this movie is occasionally funny and you'd be fucking nuts to root for the people over the spiders. Hell, they may not speak, but they've got more personality and they're a buttload more fun to watch. In the old movies, you were supposed to be terrified, but here, the movie is most entertaining when the spiders are going nutso. Scenes like the one where a band of jumping spiders attack snotty teen dirt-bikers are much funnier than scary. And when spiders attack a tanker truck, it's what the movies were made to do.

Director and writer Ellory Elkayam recognizes that the plot is just a syringe for injecting us with the spider-attack heroin that we crave. He treats it and the characters as completely disposable, and kills off hundreds. And he gets credit for making amovie where botht he spiders and people are really stupid. I guess, what else can you do when David Arquette is the biggest star? You sure as hell don't want to give him much more to do than scream from radio towers "You eight legged freaks!" while firing a shotgun. Still, the story drags whenever we're subjected to the whiz-bang boy scientist or the tedious Arquette-Wuhrer love pairing. Sure the movie has to have a plot, but why is it just as fucking lame as the ones from the 50s? Homage? More like lazy-ass writers. And by the end, we've had about 20 minutes too much spider attack. We're just sticking around to see the end because we paid full price, not because we care about the people. Why the hell can't the spiders win?

Arquette and Wuhrer are movie actors the way the people in Wal-Mart circulars are models. They're just the least expensive warm bodies willing to wear the polyester outfits. Neither really needs to act, and so they do just fine. Scarlett Johannsson doesn't exactly add class to the movie as Wuhrer's teen daughter, but we know she can at least act. And I know many perverts who want to jump her underage bones. Unfortunately, just like everyone but the spiders, she doesn't have anything to do but be boring until she's attacked. Good for her, though, for slumming it.

Ultimately, Consuela dies, and it's sad. No more giant spiders, no more insane rampaging, just a lot of boring people in the middle of the desert, waiting to die. Just like Melissa. Oh, man, that'll be a great day. Three Fingers for Eight Legged Freaks.

Want to tell Filthy Something?

Filthy's Reading
Robert Louis Stevenson- Treasure Island

Listening to
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion


Mike Sargent, heir apparent to Paul Wunder's job at WBAI

Reign of Fire is "The most entertaining movie of the summer!"

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