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Do you hate spiders? Do you REALLY hate spiders? Well, they don't like you, either!
Eight Legged Freaks is a 2002 horror-comedy film directed by Ellory Elkayem, executive produced by Roland Emmerich, and starring David Arquette, Kari Wührer, Scarlett Johansson and Doug E. Doug. The plot concerns a collection of spiders that are exposed to toxic waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions. Yeah. It's a 50s monster movie made with 21st century visual effects, and it's exactly what you're expecting.
It's set in a Nevada nowhere town called "Prosperity" - which just happens to have a mall, just so survivors can battle spiders with improvised weapons. There are mine shafts for that Survival Horror feel. There's even a scene where jumping spiders chase dirt bikers. Get some popcorn and watch spiders gobble bystanders and get squished by the heroes! Narm Charm!
This movie contains examples of
- Affectionate Parody: it's not hard to notice. The spiders panting in exhaustion and squeaking "uh-oh" are pretty telling signs that it doesn't take itself seriously.
- There is also a scene where a spider jumps on a moose's head, mounted on a wall, and takes a bite, only to visibly complain about the taste.
- Just look at that poster and tell me it's not deliberately invoking the golden age of B-movies.
- All Webbed Up: being a movie about giant spiders, obviously this happens there.
- Ambiguously Gay: Floyd and Leroy.
- Anal Probing: There's a bit where Harlan goes on a tirade about aliens and this very subject. "...I mean, what do they expect to find there? It's just wrong!"
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Harlan believes in alien conspiracy theories, but thinks the emergence of giant spiders in the town is nonsense until he actually sees them - then he thinks they are in fact the aliens he was talking about. Lampshaded by Chris.
- Attack Of The Killer five-foot (for starters!) Giant Spiders!
- Auto Erotica: Bret tries to have sex with Ashley in his pickup truck. She refuses.
- Big Bad: The female Orb Weaver.
"You know how women like breakfast in bed."
- Book Ends: Harland's broadcast.
- Boom! Headshot!: Kari Wührer's a damned good shot. Pistol, rifle, shotgun, crossbow; result the same - fountains of spider guts!
- Blind Without'Em: Norman is unable to see without his second pair of glasses.
- Bury Your Gays: Leroy and Floyd are both devoured by the spiders.
- Chainsaw Good: In a mall, Pete manages to lift the garage-door-style mesh that locked one of the stores, since the caretakers apparently neglected to lock it. He logrolls under and slams it down. However, the spiders reach their legs through, yanking him right up against the mesh but unable to bite him. His solution? Grab a nearby chainsaw and slice through all their limbs.
- Chekhov's Gun: Bret's dirtbike.
- And the bottle of perfume.
- The taser gun - twice.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Harlan, who believes the Giant Spiders are the alien invaders he has warned about his whole career.
Harlan: You ain't getting that anal probe near me!
- Conversational Troping: Harlan, being a conspiracy theorist, assumes the spiders are aliens. On the second broadcast of his radio show, he talks about the anal probes. This movie has do to with neither aliens (as far as we know) nor Anal Probing.
- Date Rape Averted: While they are in his truck Bret gets very handsy with Ashley who refuses his advances and then zaps him with a taser that her mother gave to her in case this happened. Unusually, while the movie certainly depicts Bret as wrong and Ashley as right, it portrays his actions as being due to a moment of teenage hormone-driven boneheadedness rather than those of an evil rapist. Bret survives the entire film and he gets back with Ashley.
- Dirty Coward: Leroy abandons two people to the spiders and spends the mall invasion hiding in a closet. When he finally comes out he gets eaten by a spider.
- The Ditz: Norman.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Leon is established as a sort of mentor to Chris, and appears important. He winds up being one of the first victims of the spiders.
- Dying Like Animals: Every character brought by the male spiders to the female as a present and eaten by her.
- Escort Mission: Rescuing characters from a spider's lair deep in some abandoned mines.
- Fan Service: 17-year-old Scarlett Johansson in a bath towel...
- Giant Spider: Does this even need explaining?
- Groin Attack: With a taser.
- Heel Face Turn: Bret starts off as a sex-obsessed Jerkass, but ends up as a respectful young man.
- Perhaps the taser to the balls acted as electroshock therapy.
- You don't have to be arachnophobic to be freaked out by monsters snatching you from beneath.
- Hot Mom: Kari Wührer. Her daughter doesn't fall too far from the tree...
- Idiot Ball: A diner full of customers, watching the spiders outside. When the spiders start jumping at the window, attempting to break through, nobody considers moving in any capacity until the spiders actually manage to do so.
- Karma Houdini: Mayor Wade. After building a useless mall, trying to turn the town into a toxic waste dump, and locking the survivors in the mall when the spiders attack, Chris saves him. At least his stupid mall blows up.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Randy is grabbed by a jumping spider in the middle of mocking Bret.
- The Mall: Built in an attempt to bring money into the town -- or, more specifically, to fill the pockets of the developers. Part of the climax takes place here.
- Mauve Shirt: Most of the named, distinctive townspeople who aren’t main characters are this.
- Mighty Glacier: The tarantula is one of the biggest spiders alive, so of course the mutant tarantula becomes perhaps the biggest spider in the movie, with earth-shaking strength and the ability to knock over trailers with ease.
- Non-Malicious Monster: The spiders aren't evil; they kill for food, for territory (evidenced by a spider dueling Chris and his chair) or to satisfy the female spider as per their mating rituals.
- Oh Crap: Harlan when he looks out his trailer window and sees a massive tarantula.
- Outrun the Fireball: Towards the end of the movie. Chris and Gladys on a dirt bike escape an igniting mine shaft.
- Red Shirt: Bob Weller gets no characterization, and is one of the first casualties when the spiders invade.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The CGI artists had problems with the giant tarantula - scaling it up realistically turned it into an adorable fuzzy thing reminiscent of a high-quality stuffed animal. They had to remove more than half its hairs before the terrifying monster-truck-sized spider was noticeable beneath.
- Recurring Extra: A man dressed up in a hockey mask and armed with a chainsaw is seen many times in the mall. He winds up overwhelmed by spiders.
- Rule of Fun: It doesn't take itself too seriously plot wise.
- Rule of Scary
- Super-Persistent Predator: Despite having a lair full of cocooned meals, the female spider at the end feels the need to chase down Chris and Gladys, who are on a MOTORCYCLE.
- Take That: Roger Ebert's review opened by saying that this film delivered everything that Men In Black II did not.
- Title Drop: "Get back, you EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS!"
- Interestingly, that line didn't start out as a Title Drop; the title of the movie was originally Arach-Attack according to the commentary. Unfortunately, the title has Unfortunate Implications when said out loud (the movie came out not long after the war started), so the title was changed at the last minute to reflect the line--which was, incidentally, ad-libbed on-set by David Arquette.
- It still retained this title (or the alternate spelling Arac Attack) in other countries.
- That Poor Cat: We are treated to a cat getting into a fight with a spider of equal size. Most of it takes place in an air vent where we see the cat slammed against the wall multiple times.
- The World's Expert on Getting Killed: Joshua exaggerates this. Despite owning a spider farm, he winds up the first victim of the film.
- Too Dumb to Live: Norman, particularly when he stumbles into the orb weaver nest and doesn’t notice until he puts on his second pair of glasses, at which point a male orb weaver drags him off into the mines.
- This Loser Is You: David Arquette plays Chris McCormick, a well-meaning, sensitive schmuck just trying to save what's left of his hometown and pour his heart out to his high school crush. Actually a rather respectful application of the trope; he listens carefully to the Child Prodigy, and runs right to him once he gets real evidence. He never fails to fight hard for the town. Result? Karmic Jackpot. The girl, after one too many Cannot Spit It Out moments, exasperatingly admits that yes, she knows he beat up her philandering husband for her, came back to town because he genuinely wants to help, that he loves her, and that she loves him back. And then he finds the Mother Lode and makes the entire town filthy stinking rich!
- The Load: Norman.
- Too Dumb to Live: One character simply sat, watching TV, completely unaware of the thousands of Giant Spiders outside and one IN THE ROOM. He does not live.
- To be fair, that character was deaf and was paying full attention to the TV.
- Another example would be that Blind Without'Em character that kept taking off his glasses. He does not live.
- Ostriches may not be geniuses, but the ones standing around calmly as their fellows are being yanked out of frame by the trapdoor spider seem to have forgotten how to run.
- Trailers Always Spoil: As you'd expect. And the movie's damn fun anyway!
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Harlan thinks the spiders are aliens as opposed to genetic experiments.
- Zerg Rush: The jumping spiders.