#47. The Giant Spider Invasion

47. The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) - Season 8, episode 810

"I can't believe I let you roll on me!"

Plot:  Meteors crash into rural Wisconsin, and unleash a swarm of giant spiders.
Famous for:  Lots and lots and LOTS of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packers jokes.

My favorite riff:  This movie features one of the all-time greatest MST3k riffs. The star of this film is... let's just say... a rather greasy, unappealing, large, sweaty man. And there's a scene towards the beginning of the movie where he walks into a room, and he turns on a light switch. And there he is, fully revealed, in all his greasy, sweaty, back-brace-and-underwear-wearing glory. And in a moment of absolute perfect comic timing, Mike and the Bots all simultaneously go "EWWWWWWWWW!"

"No, don't turn on the light!"


Then Crow delivers the kicker with this horrific line:

"Ewww, he's lactating."

Comments:  The Giant Spider Invasion is a terrible regional horror movie from the mid 70s. It was made in Wisconsin, by a bunch of local Wisconsinites who were trying to kickstart their local film industry, and like most terrible regional horror movies, it had a budget of about a hundred dollars, and everything looks dirt cheap. But you know what? As bad as this movie is, it also has this strange sort of charm to it. And it looks like the people who were making it were having a blast. It's also still apparently a fairly beloved movie around the area. It's now fifty years after the making of the movie, and I've heard that people from Wisconsin STILL fondly talk about the VW Beetle that was disassembled and turned into a giant spider. Apparently everyone who grew up in the area seems to remember that.

I mean seriously, look at all the locals below, and tell me they weren't having the time of their lives.

Woo hoo! We've got a VW Spider! Go Packers!

The Giant Spider Invasion isn't a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a lot of fun. And you have to love all the redneck and Packers riffs that are thrown in throughout the episode. Because this is, of course, where I have to point out that Mike and the creators of MST3k all grew up in Minnesota. And if you know anything about Minnesota, it's that they have always had a natural sports rivalry with Wisconsin. So if you put two and two together... you can probably figure out... that the writers were having a BLAST making fun of their least favorite neighbor.

No offense to Wisconsin if you're from there. But the Minnesota comedy writers were probably salivating over the idea that somebody was actually PAYING them. To make fun of WISCONSIN. For TWO HOURS. And that's why this episode feels especially fun.

This is one of those episodes where the riffing always feels like it's personal.

Other personal favorite things about this episode:  Okay, now this one is great. Not only did the producers somehow talk Alan Hale (The Skipper from Gilligan's Island) into starring in their low budget regional horror movie, they actually introduced his character by having him turn to the camera and call someone "Little buddy." And THAT'S how you do it if you want to win over your audience. You steer right into that Gilligan's Island callback.

"Well hi, little buddy!"

Also, as my wife likes to point out, "Man, Alan Hale was a terrible phone actor."

Oh yeah, and there's no way to talk about The Giant Spider Invasion without mentioning the scene where the two lead actors fall down a hill, and the male lead literally rolls over and on top of the female lead. And then it becomes the best running joke in the movie when Mike at the Bots keep calling back to it. "Hey you bastard, you rolled on me!"

"And there goes the last shred of dignity, folks!"

Trivia:  The Giant Spider Invasion is one of the best known movies that MST3k has ever riffed. Despite its low budget and its clunkiness, it actually received a pretty decent theatrical run at the time. And you'll never believe this, but it was actually one of the fifty top-grossing films of 1975. It is also listed under "The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made" in the book The Official Razzie Movie Guide.  

Oh, and here's some more interesting trivia. Up until November of 2010, the frame from the VW/giant spider was prominently displayed in Gleason, Wisconsin, right next to the post office. And then at some point after that, it was stolen. Nobody seems to know where it is anymore. It has disappeared from the Earth like the mysterious D.B. Cooper.

By the way, if you ever DO find the frame from the VW spider, please contact the state of Wisconsin. God bless. And go Packers.

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