We still cannot understand why this 1990 classic from Stephen Spielberg and Frank Marshall is not better known 30 years later. It’s a family-friendly fun and creepy horror film filled with stars. Thanks to Rob for requesting this forgotten gem and giving us a chance to talk about it!

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Arachnophobia (1990)

Episode 278, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, this week, Craig got to choose the movies. This is a film from my childhood that my sisters and I watched quite a bit. We had it on VHS, maybe recorded from the video store, maybe recorded from TV. I’m not sure, uh, but it is 1990’s Arachnophobia, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall and directed by Frank Marshall.

This movie came out in the theaters and at the time I remember it being pretty big deal. It was the first movie to come out under Disney’s Hollywood pictures, production, which is one of the studios that they created so that they could put out more adult oriented movies. Touchstone pictures is another one as a kid.

This, I just remember this movie being such a big deal. We watched it constantly. We all knew it. We all talked about it and it seems like it. And it’s, by the way, there are a ton of stars in it. 

Craig: Oh my God. Everybody in this movie, which by the way, there are like a hundred character and every single one of them, you will recognize it’s it’s 

Todd: nuts.

It’s crazy. And I have great feelings about it. I’ve always had great feelings about it. Yes. Correct me if I’m wrong, it doesn’t seem like anybody talks about this, 

Craig: which I don’t understand it. All right. First of all, I picked this movie because it was a request. It was actually a request from my personal friend, Rob, who is a relatively new fan of the show.

And, uh, he messaged us, uh, on our Facebook page. And this was one of the movies that he thought that we would have fun talking about. And as soon as he mentioned it, I was like, yeah, I can’t believe we haven’t done it yet. I mean, this is you and I, you know, I, it came out in 1996. We were adolescents, you know, early teens or whatever, but just like you, I remember it being big and because there were so many big name people in it.

Um, I think one of the bigger names at the time, I mean, Jeff Daniels is the main character, even though he doesn’t show up until 20 minutes into the movie, but Julian sands is in it. He was fresh off of the warlock franchise and he was popping up everywhere. I think if I remember correctly that the trailers heavily featured John Goodman, who, uh, you know, at the time, I think was probably best known for Roseanne, which was a show that I loved and he was great in it.

And, uh, this whole movie could be considered a horror comedy and it, it is funny, but Goodman’s character. Is specifically comic relief. Um, and he’s just kinda goofy. Like he plays cocky, confident, but it’s hilarious. John Goodman is actually a Harvard trained actor like this man, this man is incredibly talented and has, you know, has proven that he’s, he’s played lots of comedic roles, but he’s played dramatic roles as well.

And he’s just, and he’s great in this movie, but yeah, I feel like it was heavily. Promoted. And so when Robert requested it, um, I was really excited to revisit it. Uh, and I, and I wasn’t disappointed, you know, I forgot really kind of what a big production it was. I forgot that Steven Spielberg was attached to it.

Frank Marshall is a huge producer. He’s produced probably hundreds of movies. He’s only directed a handful, one of his other directorial. I think the only other one that I’ve seen is Congo, which I didn’t remember being a very good movie, but you said it’s Hollywood studios. It’s also an ambulant entertainment production.

And I ambulant did some great movies, especially in the eighties and nineties, like I said, I mean, gosh, just, just about every face you see in this movie, you will recognize. From something else and yeah. And it’s, it shot super well, like just some really interesting camera angles. And, um, of course it’s a spider movie and, uh, they took great care with the spiders.

Uh, and they also like the safety of this spiders, which kind of seems, you know, from my cynical perspective, like their spiders who cares, like when they’re, when they’re done in the scene, stomp them. But no, they went to extreme lengths to ensure the safety of these hundreds of spiders that they use. Just so many fun shots of spiders, creeping.

’cause and, and, you know, I’m sure we’ll talk about this more, but it really works in the creepy way because spiders, especially potentially deadly spiders as these spiders are, they’re kind of an invisible predator. And, you know, we know logically that there are spiders all around us all the time, and they’re just really good at hiding and not drawing attention to themselves.

And this. You know, capitalizes on that so much. And like I said, I was just really happy to revisit it and I was not disappointed. It was, it’s a fun movie. It 

Todd: is a fun movie. What is it that John Goodman’s character in here it’s at some point he rattles off and says, there’s something like what 50,000 spiders in the average backyard or something like that.

Gosh, I don’t know if that’s true. If they are men they’re really good at hiding. Plus a lot of them are really, really tiny. Right. But they’re very important part of our ecosystem, which is why we shouldn’t just crush them indiscriminately, even though if they’re like 50,000 of them in your backyard, you must have crushed a lot of them indiscriminately over your lifetime without even knowing it.


Craig: And I do know that, you know, and it’s talked about in the movie how, you know, they are essential to controlling the insects population and, you know, without them, we would probably be in big trouble. Um, however, If I see one of my wall, I’m going to squash it because they’re creepy. And I don’t like them.

If they want to stay hidden, they are more than welcome, but show your face and you’re done for it. 

Todd: Fair enough. There’s so many of them, it doesn’t matter if a few go missing. Is that what you’re saying? Craig is a friend of the animal world, 

Craig: but you know, spiders, you know, and, and mice, I actually think mice are very, very cute, but if they show their face in my house, Come out and sorry.

And then I feel guilty though. The last time we had a mouse, we set out a trap and, and we got the mouse and, um, this makes me feel really bad. We got the mouse, but it didn’t immediately die. So it was alive in the trap. I mean, it was going to die. It was crushed, but I, I very carefully picked up the trap with the, a live mouse squirming around in it.

While Alan held open a trash bag at night, I dropped the trap with the live mouse into the trash bag. And I said, I’m sorry, Mrs. Frisbee. I hope Timothy gets his medicine.

Todd: Wow. A reference to another movie that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid, I feel like that’s practically a horror movie too. Maybe just for children, get around to it. Maybe during our family-friendly area. Well, this, this, this movie is definitely family friendly. In fact, I think the, that Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg took pains to make sure that this movie, which apparently was originally written as a pretty serious horror movie.

Originally, one of the people involved in the production had said that it was, it was so it was almost like it had been written by a computer. That’s how formulaic it was. They went through some revisions to the script and it particularly drew inspiration from the. And jaws to, to do the tone. Uh, and the key thing is that the main character in the film who ironically his house, you know, gets be sat by spiders at the end has a fear of spiders.

So many people have a fear of spiders. I feel like on that alone, you know, you can base a pretty terrifying horror movie for a lot of people. I don’t myself have a fear of spiders, but I think they’re pretty creepy looking. I generally don’t want them crawling on me, especially the bigger ones. So the film opens up in what I believe.

Is it south America? Venezuela? 

Craig: I don’t remember. I don’t know, like a rain forest or something. Yeah. And beautiful, beautiful sweeping shots of, uh, this rainforest. I mean, it just looks fantastic. I, and I don’t know what the budget was, but I’m sure it was huge. Um, and it looks like it. Clean and beautiful.

And it just seemed like they could do whatever they want. They’ve got these gorgeous aerial shots, um, of, uh, this rainforest or whatever it is. It looks great. 

Todd: This was an era too when we didn’t have CGI. So, I mean, we did, but it was very primitive, uh, very, very basic and expensive. So, you know, nowadays when I watch a movie and I see these lavish locations, 90% of the time, I know they’re green screened in or heavily supplemented with green screen stuff.

And these opening scenes in this rainforest, worst shot in actual rainforest. So it’s just gorgeous to see these places and think my goodness, these places actually exist and you could go there. And so yeah, these sweeping shots are just all the more real, I think, uh, when, when you kind of consider that, and then we have Julian sands.

Who I remember mostly from warlock. Cause that was another movie around this era that my friends and I would watch a lot and were pretty freaked out by. And, uh, he plays, uh, what an entomologist would you say? So I 

Craig: guess that what it’s called the bug guy, Dr. Atherton. Yeah. And 

Todd: he is meeting up with a dude who already has a pretty bad fever.

Uh, who’s going to company him as his photographer, uh, for the session then they’re, they’re tracking him to the rainforest. We don’t really know what they’re doing, actually. That’s, what’s kind of smart about it. Right. Um, finally they end up climbing down nexus, beautiful waterfall in this big valley or basin or whatever.

Craig: And he calls it a sink hole. Yeah. They have to lower their equipment down. They’re able to go down, but they are accompanied by this native guide with the native guide. He won’t go with them. He points them in the right direction. But he says, I’m not going any further. It’s 

Todd: crazy. Yeah, because he knows something.

He won’t tell them, but he knows. 

Craig: Well, I got the impression that maybe eight through 10. Like I, he was specifically looking, I think, for new species. Um, and I can only imagine that he must have known well, because they even say that they make a point when they’re in the helicopter on the way there a little ant crawls over the photographers shorts and, and, um, eight or 10 flicks it off.

And he’s like, um, they bite very chill and Mr. Matt insufficient numbers. So I’ll do some of the frogs don’t talk to any, they make a point of the fact. And of course this is true, you know, that, um, a lot of these animals have defense mechanisms that are potentially dangerous or, or deadly to humans. And so then, you know, when the, when the guide won’t go down into the same hole, we know there could be some nasties down there.

And of course there are, that’s the whole premise of. 

Todd: Yeah, they get down to the bottom and there’s a giant tree and a eighth or 10 sets up a kind of little fogger at the bottom of the tree. And then a whole bunch of just catch basins, I guess, that, that empty out into jars to catch whatever falls from the tree.

So whatever falls from the tree is going to die and he’s going to collect it, it actually seems like he’s more interested in butterflies than anything else. 

Craig: Yeah. Well, when, when things start falling, um, that’s what seems to fall first are these butterflies and they, they drift down like leaves. It’s actually kind of beautiful.

I don’t know. I imagine this with CGI, but it looks good, but then some larger things start plopping down too, and they hear something loud plop into one of those catch basins and it’s a great big. Nasty spider that would scare the shit out of me. Like, just knowing, like, I’m not particularly scared of spiders.

Like I’m not frightened of them. I’m not afraid that they’re going to hurt me. I just find them creepy and gross and I don’t want them around. But, um, yeah, these great big ones and they used different spiders. I think for the big ones, they used a species of bird eating tranches and they’re big. I mean, it’s cute because like these spiders they’re dead or they think they are eight or 10 says, oh yeah.

You know, anything that got hit by that gas is going to be dead. But then one of these big spiders jumps onto the lens of, uh, the photographer’s camera and they’re not dead. So they find another live one as well. Capture it, I think, but there’s also just cute stuff going on. Like you see this giant spider, like watching and you get POV shots, like spider POV shots of it kind of crawling around and watching them and following them.

And eventually it jumps onto their gear and crawls into one of the knapsacks. But like I said, I I’m, I’m not being sarcastic. They really did go to great lengths to ensure the safety of these spiders and something that I read that I had no idea is that the truth of the matter is that spiders have exoskeletons and they can only get so large because if they got any larger, their bodies would not be able they’d collapse under their own weight.

Um, and they said that if the spiders really fell from. The height of this tree, that upon impact they would shatter their exoskeletons, which I didn’t know that at all. I didn’t realize that either later on, they ended up calling it the general and the general spider, but there’s this one giant spider, and they don’t really show it.

You get images of its legs, like creeping around or over something, but you don’t really get full body shots of it, which I think is kind of smart because it implies the size without it looking silly. 

Todd: Like you said, I mean, with these being practical effects that keeps it from looking silly. Because it’s obviously some kind of mechanical legs that are there, you know, somebody moving around, but at the same respect, it is taking a cue from jaws, you know, where you don’t show the, yeah.

You don’t show it too much. Wait, wait. Till the end, when you know, it’s going to be full on, you know, attacking somebody when you see it. But is it earlier on that we do get to see close up of the spiders eyes? Or does that only happen later? Oh 

Craig: no, no, it does. It happens in the jungle. Huh? There’s like 

Todd: a, in your face, like shot close up of the spiders, like four big black eyes and you can see the scene reflected his eyes.

Like he’s looking on at them. It’s it’s also kind of funny though. You know what I mean? It’s not in a goofy way, just in a, in a silly, kind of funny movie 

Craig: way, right? Like Vitor is watching them. It is funny. Um, and, and like I said, like, it seems like the sizes implied, like, I guess. These, you know, there are these Huntsman spiders that can have a leg span of like eight inches.

So we’re talking about like the size of an adult man’s hand and that’s man. I hope I never see 

Todd: one. Well, they, they, um, they go back to their camp. Atherton is examining the S the, the dead specimens that they have. And he makes a point of note of saying that these are odd because they don’t have sex organs, which must mean that much, like that much like ants that are w certain kinds of, you know, ants that kind of arrange themselves in an army and have a hive sort of mentality.

Maybe these are a new species of spider that does that as well. They’re laborers like soldiers, that kind of thing. And then the male is apparently fertile, right? So the nature photographer who still has a fever crawls into his, uh, his bed in the tent and by him, And then of course, it’s just this classic everybody’s nightmare.

Right? You see the it’s so cool. Actually, I love what they do with this movie. It’s so classic. It’s silly, but it’s also kind of, I think if you, especially, if you have a fear of spiders, it’s, it’s pretty spooky where the, the shadow of the spider is like is on the outside of the tent. You know, you see, you 

Craig: see its legs.

Yeah. It’s kind of like, no Saratu yes. I love that. 

Todd: And it creeps in and it gets under his blanket. And then I was also getting shades of like something we could display comes when they’re in the bed and they, you see the, uh, the bed covers move because the spiders under it and he’s trying to sleep and he’s kind of tossing and turning.

He reaches down. And of course the spider just takes a huge bite up. I actually write of the quick of the spider’s fangs going into his hand. And I think there’s even a little bit of blood there just for a flash, but man, it sure seems pretty bad. And then he seizes up instantly, which I think is a thing that can actually happen.

I think there are toxins that are like neuro muscular. You know, these spiders, they work on smaller animals because the animals are smaller. It actually works on them. I think similar spiders, you know, they don’t have enough quantity of this, this nerve agent or whatever in there. To have much of an effect on humans, but I think there are snakes that can have a venom that has a, this sort of effect instantly on a, on a human where as soon as it bites and that venom gets in you, you seize up and you just paralyze.

And then he just keels over dead with little blood trickling out of his mouth. Now the, the funny thing is, is because, you know, he had his fever and all that. They were not, it’s not entirely unusual that he suddenly passed away. They knew he was sick when he came. So they’re not looking for like spider bites or anything like that.

They just package them up in a coffin and they track it across the, the way to a big boat to bring him back. But not before that spider, the all-knowing spider decides to hit Europe. By crawling into a hole in the side of it. And, uh, it, and hitches a ride back to the U S with him. Hence the movie begins to spider gets from the sinkhole in the wilds of the rainforest, into Kanaya California.

Craig: Um, yeah, this small town, um, it looks like a Southern town, but I guess it’s in California, but you know, it’s, it’s convenient for the movie. You know, the spider hitches a ride and it has, uh, an entire food source. And, and when the body, when the body arrives, the coroner who, I didn’t even write down the guy’s name, but again, you would totally recognize him.



Todd: Irv, Kendall. I remember him the most is the guy who owns the one in the original total recall. He’s the guy who like owns the total recall. Oh, yeah. 

Craig: Yeah. I mean, uh, but a character actor, cute guy. And he’s funny in this movie, he’s the coroner and he’s all the time in the Morgan. He’s always like eating around these dead bodies, which if you were a coroner, probably you’d be used to that kind of thing, but it’s a funny sight YAG.

Um, but we see him open the crate that the body’s in, and then he immediately calls somebody is like, um, I know we already agreed on an open casket, but we may need to reconsider. And then they show us the body and it has been completely drained of all blood. Like it just looks shriveled in like a prune and disgusting.

And the, and the big spider I was calling it mama for the whole first part of the movie, because I assumed it was a female, but it’s not, it’s a male, but it crawls out and it’s crawling around. There’s a dog and a cat, both in there, like a pet, like little cute pet dog and cat. And they’re both scared of the spider.

And they both run out of the doggy door and this spider like lumbers out right behind them. It’s cute stuff. It is cute. And then it gets the, the spider gets picked up and carried off by a Raven. And it gets carried. You know, the Raven is flying above this small farm and it, you just hear the Raven squawk and then it just drops out of the sky, like this spider bit at midair and it just drops out 

Todd: like a rock.

It’s hilarious. Yeah. I love that. That was so funny. And, but then it’s really funny. One of the charming things about this movie, too, that the tense things and also kind of goofy things is that they set up all these really near miss moments. You know, where a, person’s almost going to have an encounter with the spider.

They’re almost going to put their hand on it or the spider almost reaches them. And at the last minute, They stand up or something like that. And one of the bits here is that, uh, our protagonist, uh, his name is, uh, Ross Jennings, who is just come into town with his family, a family physician. Who’s moved from a big city and they’ve decided to come here and take over the practice of a doctor who was planning on retiring.

And he is played by, uh, Jeff Daniels and his wife has played by Harley Jane Kozak. Now, what do I know her from? 

Craig: I don’t know. I didn’t recognize her. And I don’t think that I clicked on her 

Todd: profile. Let’s fix that right now because I know I’ve seen her in other stuff. I just can’t remember what oh, she’s in parenthood.

Oh yeah. She was in who inherited, 

Craig: uh, Holly hunter kind of vibe about her 

Todd: dude. I liked her apparently in 2015, she was on, I spit on your grave vengeance. 

Craig: Wow. 

Todd: Don’t hold it against her. Um, I will also say she was in guiding light and Texas the TV series. I’m looking for another soap connection here for you, Santa Barbara.

Isn’t Santa Barbara soap. 

Craig: I think it may have been a nighttime soap. I don’t know. I don’t remember, but she she’s great. She plays, you know, the great mom role. I mean, she just seems very much like a wife and mother and, but she’s also. Self-sufficient, you know, she’s a professional photographer and apparently has had a lot of success, but like you said, she quit her job to move with her husband, to this small town, to escape the city life.

They wanted to get away from all of the fast paced city stuff and kind of, you know, appreciate the slower pace of the small town. And Ross is a wine enthusiast and like, it’s, it’s, it’s cute. It’s one of those things, you know, like they think they’re gonna move from the city and he’s going to have a wine cellar and they’re going to have this slow pace thing.

And, and of course we know that this great big general spider is on their property. They send the kids inside to start unpacking and one of the kids runs out and what’s wrong, the spider. Okay. 

Todd: Okay. All right. Calm down. Just 

Craig: you’re in the country now. Okay, come on. Let’s go find that. Let’s find your mom to take care of that spot.

We’re in the living room. 

Todd: We need you to kill a spider,

Craig: which is adorable. Um, but she comes in and she finds this little house spider and she doesn’t want to kill it. And I know, you know, I admire people who have the patience to capture these spiders and take them out and release them, which is really probably the kind and altruistic thing to do. I just am too impatient.

It’s much quicker to just smash them. But, um, so, so her kids are there and they don’t want her to kill it. And so they take it. To the barn and say, well, it can make its home in the barn, but we see that the big mammoth JAMA spider is there too. And I thought that it was super cute. Uh, it’s nighttime and Jeff Daniels like comes on to his wife and she’s like, oh my God, I’m so tired.

And he’s like, well, it’s bad luck not to make. And the first night in a new house. Um, and there’s, you know, it’s cute and they start kissing or whatever. And so then it’s implied that they are, you know, making love in their new house. And then we see a very romantic, tender moment between the giant spider and the little house spider that they released into the water.

It’s so cute. Like it’s like back lit by the moon and they’re like gingerly, like they’re face-to-face and they’re like gingerly touching one another with their legs. Oh my gosh. I just thought it was. Uh, it’s funny. The movie is not like slapstick laugh out loud, funny, but just cute little clever stuff like that.

And, and also, conversely, it’s not, nightmarishly scary. Correct. But there are those moments, like you mentioned where the spider is approaching somebody’s foot, or I don’t know, you know, the spider is just lingering and of course people are completely unaware that it’s even there and there are so many close encounters that it just, it makes you tense up.

Like it’s, you’re just like, ah, uh, and then sometimes it gets them in. Sometimes it doesn’t, but it does a really good job of building that tension. Um, and kind of keeping you. On the edge of your seat. Um, it just works. It works really well, but like you said, you could watch this and you know, obviously depending on their sensibilities, you could watch this with your kids.

Um, it’s a fun, 

Todd: it’s creepy, you know, it’s creepier more than it’s like, ah, scary, right? Because nobody wants a spider on them, whether you’re deathly afraid of them or not. And so those gear or, or like, you know, to have one in the popcorn bowl and then suddenly you put your hand on it and it might end up in your mouth.

That’s really gross. 

Craig: Right. Well, and it’s, it’s all the things too, that you’re afraid, like there’s a spider in your shoe or there’s a spider in the lampshade. Like these are all things that could end do happen and it just so happens. So, so what happens is, and it happens very quickly. I mean, the reproductive process for these spiders must be amazing.

Poisonous spider mates with this presumably benign spider, but they produce offspring, which they show like the very next day. Um, the wife crawls up into she’s just going around, taking pictures and she crawls up into the barn and there’s an ignored. Spider web and she takes pictures of it and she makes her husband come out to look at it, like kind of as therapy.

And that’s when he tells this story about how he has this memory of like before he was even two years old, he was just in his crib and a diaper. I still feel a feeling of waking up just drowsy, peaceful, secure, and then there, it was probably just a daddy long legs. Yeah. Well, it seemed huge. And it just came relentlessly, just crawling through the bars of the crib.

And then as it touched my bare leg, I know you were just wearing a diaper. My limbs and voluntarily froze just froze. No, probably still have to sleep is off. I was paralyzed, Molly. I still get paralyzed. Okay. Just please try to understand how this makes me feel that she says, well, come look at the web.

Like for therapeutic reasons because, you know, I know you’re scared, but I want you to see it and appreciate the natural beauty of it, because it really is beautiful. And that is true. Like I have a, you know, I live in Midwest in America. I know there are spiders everywhere, but we have, I went out on my back porch one evening and I turned on the light and the light illuminated this enormous spider web that the spider had built.

It had to have been within a measure of hours because I had been out there not too long before. And they are, the nature can do some pretty amazing things and a spider. If I get, if I walk into one, I’m not in my face, I’m not going to take the time to appreciate its beauty. But if you happen, if you happen to see one, you know, undisturbed, it’s.

Todd: Morning, do 

Craig: the gorgeous seriously. Really? 

Todd: It’s pretty amazing. It’s a miracle of nature. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the miracle of nature that this little animal like spins this crap out of its belly and just instinctively knows how to weave this beautiful. Nah, it’s pretty crazy. And they managed to do it.

Uh, if you watch them at work doing it, it’s utterly fascinating. It, you could be lost in YouTube for hours doing it. Yeah. 

Craig: Oh my God. They are, they are lightning fast. It is crazy. But anyway, so, uh, when he crawls up there and sees it, he falls off the ladder because like a rung breaks, but when the rung breaks, it releases part of the web that swings into his face and there’s like a mouse or a rat suspended in the web partially eaten, which would have given me pause, 

Todd: like, wait a 

Craig: second, the hell kind of spiders do we have up here?

Um, but they just kind of laugh it off and go away. But the camera slowly creeps around a beam and we see the egg sack and it’s like pulsating it’s pulsating. And, uh, and it’s already. We already see the little spiders coming out of it. And basically from that point on it’s gradual to be fair. But from that point on those spiders are just everywhere.

They’re they’re everywhere and they 

Todd: could be anything they’re everywhere in the town. There’s not a place there. Isn’t one of these spiders. Well, he has this, this, and I loved this other character to this douchey, Dr. Sam Metcalf, the elderly doctor, who he had made an agreement with to come and take over his practice.

As soon as he gets to town to start to settle in and says, Hey, You know what? I just don’t think I’m going to retire after all that is such a Dick 

Craig: move. I just uprooted my entire family and you’re like, ah, never mind. Like, dude, 

Todd: he doesn’t 

Craig: even care. I know at some point Ross has taught, he has to break the news to his wife.

She’s like, oh my God, what are we going to do? And he’s like, I don’t know, kill him. Yeah. I mean, he’s old, you know, nobody would probably suspect cause it’d be done anyway, but you’re right. You are going to talk about the introduction of miss Hollins, who aside from John Goodman is probably my favorite character in this movie.

She’s so 

Todd: cute. And you know what? This horrible, this is almost. Uh, maybe you just have to live in a place like this to appreciate this kind of stuff. Does indeed happen in the smaller towns of the United States, Midwestern small towns where people are just ultra friendly to each other and she sees what’s going on and she just bumps into him and she’s like, oh, so you’re the new doctor in town, you know, why don’t I be your first patient?

And she’s like, you know, the best thing you could do is you could do exactly what Sam did when he moved into town, throw yourself a big party and invite everybody and get to know them. And if Sam was half as good at being a doctor, as he is at PR, you know, he’d be the best doctor in the world. So anyway, she becomes his first patient.

And one of the first things he does is sees that she’s taking these pills that she doesn’t really need for her heart. Um, cause the kind of heart issue that she has is different from what the, he, she needs those pills for. But otherwise almost to his dismay, she is the healthiest person you could possibly imagine.

It’s what he says. And he tells his wife that, and that’s a joke too. It’s, you know, it’s kind of funny, but she goes home and is reaching over for the light. And again, in one of 

Craig: these at first, she does, she throws him, she throws him the 

Todd: party. 

Craig: Yeah, that’s right. And, and, and this was ultimately, it kind of really doesn’t go anywhere.

But I thought that the scene did a really good job of introducing us to the townspeople. Yes, yes it did. And, and the townspeople are w we don’t really. To spend much time with any of them, but they seem like three dimensional character. Like they all have real personalities and, and real things going on in their lives.

Like one of them is Mrs. Metcalf, who was the mother of the photographer who had died from the spider bite and she’s really struggling with it. And so she’s drinking too much and she’s kind of breaking down and her husband and some of the other people have to kind of, you know, take care of her and calm her down, which was really kind of heartbreaking.

I mean, we only see this woman for like five seconds. My heart went out to her. I felt so bad for her. And, you know, herb, the mortician is there and his wife, I didn’t write down the actress’s name, but I remember her from the drew Carey show. She was Mimi from the drew Carey show. And she always wore the, you know, like crazy blue eyeshadow and she’s a heavier woman.

And she always wore like these huge moon, those, and she was holding Marius. And, uh, she’s cute in this too. She doesn’t play much of a role, but we see that the, the spiders are on the move. And after the party, after everybody has gone home, Mrs. Hollins, um, in her big gorgeous house, um, sits down. And I don’t know if they were doing this intentionally or if it was just inherent.

Style. I don’t know, but like just little things, Mrs. Hollins, who I already really like, she’s older, she’s beautiful. She’s spunky, she’s a widow. She sits down and she glances over at the end table and there’s a picture presumably of her husband and she smiles and she picks it up and she says something like, we all missed you today.

You know, if you had been here, you would have drank too much and you would have been the life of the party. And it’s so sweet. And she put in, she puts down the picture and of course we see the silhouette of the spider in the lampshade, but she reaches up to pull the cord of the lampshade and the spider drops onto her hand and bites her and she screwed.

Yeah, the next morning, the wife is trying to call her to thank her, but, uh, she’s not answering. So she sends Ross over to check on her and Ross of course finds her. And she’s dead. I mean, this is kind of, I mean, obviously one complication was that he was supposed to be the new town doctor and now the old doctor is not retiring, but now he’s only had one patient and she has mysteriously dropped 

Todd: dead.

Yeah. After taking her off her pills, which the other doctor put her on. So then that doctor becomes extra douche-y. 

Craig: And pretty much blames them. 

Todd: Yeah. Blames them and it gets gossipy about it, you know, and doesn’t hesitate to, 

Craig: and won’t allow an autopsy. And again, this is small town BS, you know, like really she was Ross’s patient.

He should be the one to make the call, but the local town doctor says absolutely not. You’re not going to start chopping up my patients. She wouldn’t want that. And the douchey local sheriff is like, well, if it’s good enough for Dr. Metcalf, it’s good enough for me. So they don’t do an autopsy, um, which if they would add.

Could have potentially prevented some of the future things going well, 

Todd: but it’s all kind of BS to really, because then he’s like, and I think I might have, I might see that, you know, you’re sued for malpractice. Well, guess what, if he’s going to be sued for malpractice. I’ll bet. There’s going to have to be an autopsy involved in that, but still anyway, there’s a, you know, there’s a funeral and it’s, you know, that sucks.

But then at the end of the funeral, one of the guys who we had previously seen in the party who’s yeah. Uh, his name is Peter Jason, right? It’s just the actors he’s been in everything like every movie, every movie that needs a drill Sergeant or a big beefy guy. He’s he’s like the parent of a kid on the football team or somethings like, Hey, you know, uh, sorry that that happened, but I’ll give you some business too.

Super nice people. 

Craig: All he does is he does their physicals. He goes to, he goes to the locker room and there’s a funny scene where Jeff Daniels just walks down this line of naked boys. And he like, he stops in front of each one. And of course it’s shot from behind the boys. Shoulders up just on Jeff Daniel’s face.

Like he just has the look on his face. Like, oh my God, this is my life. Like, like just holding. 30 pairs of testicles 

Todd: and turn your head a cough. It’s it’s hilarious. But 

Craig: then I suppose, as long as he’s there, he’s going to go out and just kind of watch the football practice. And one of the boys gets called onto the field and we see a, a spider crawl into his helmet right before he puts it on just as he is catching the ball.

Um, we see a look on his face, um, that obviously he’s been bitten, then he’s tackled. And when all the other guys get up off of him, he doesn’t move. And so everybody’s worried and runs towards him. And Jeff Daniels runs down and he’s dead at this point. Like, again, this is real small town stuff. Jeff Daniels comes home and his kids are sitting on the porch.

His wife may be there too. I don’t remember, but his kids are obviously upset and they say, People in town are calling you doctor death because every time he examined somebody

and, uh, and, and the son says, and they say, you want to chop people up and you know, like that’s such a real, it is, but it’s so real, like, because, and it’s real that, um, Ross explains it in the best kind of way, you know? Yes. You know, you do have to sometimes do this unpleasant thing, but it’s so that we can really find out what happened.

But I like those little real moments, you know, Mrs. Hollis, talking to her husband in the picture, this real moment of a father having to explain some, you know, arguably unpleasant realities of life. Life to his kids. It’s got heart. It’s a good movie. 

Todd: It does. And you know, what’s interesting is that even though these kinds of like awful things are happening, people are dying.

It’s still pretty breezy. You know, nobody shows up at his house with pitch forks. He’s not freaking out. He still kinda knows like, all right, you know, this is a terrible kind of coincidence of what’s going on here, but whatever. And he’s just explaining things to his kids as things are happening, you know, maybe as a snake name, but it doesn’t prevent people from going to visit him, especially.

Right. The next, the next scene is, is at Dr. Beck calf’s place. 

Craig: Dr. Metcalf is on his. Treadmill, um, talking to his wife and kind of trash talking Ross. Um, but then he gets off, we see a spider crawl into his slipper and, um, he puts his slippers on and he gets bit and he immediately starts to have a seizure, but being a doctor, a bad one, but a doctor, nonetheless, he realizes that he’s beginning to have a seizure and his wife who’s adorable.

And you’ve seen in a million things says, what should I do? And he says, call Dr. Jennings. Um, so she does, but by the time Jennings gets there, he’s already dead. But the good thing about this is now Ross is in charge. And so he can call for an autopsy of a Metcalf, which he does. And they find that he is like highly infected with this extreme toxin or something.

Um, and then, you know, The other bodies. Yeah. Against the objections of the dumb sheriff, they assume the other bodies and all of them have spider bites. Um, so they know something’s going on. And so Ross, I guess, prints out like a Google search of spider 

Todd: experts.

Craig: Well, I don’t know. Okay. Fine. I’ll library lists. I don’t know. We’ve got a whole list of like experts and like he scrolls with his finger up from the bottom and was like, oh, let’s just go with the one on the top. Um,

and it happens to be Dr. Abernathy. And so he calls it. And he’s like, I’m pretty sure we’ve got some killer spiders and Abernathy’s like, yeah, probably not. Um, cause you know, black widows can potentially be deadly, but people hardly ever die. And so he sends, he doesn’t go right away. He sends like one of his interns or something.

This kid named Chris played by Brian McNamara, who again, you seen everywhere. And so they start looking around, um, first fighters, the dumb ass sheriff finds a dead one. And there is talk about how, like, usually this time of year, there’s tons of crickets, but there, they haven’t been hearing any lately, so.

Okay. All right. We get it. There’s lots of spiders, the foot, the football coach. And at this point, really the spiders are everywhere. Like any like, uh, w at the football coaches house, the daughter is taking a shower and there’s a spider stalking her. The dad goes to take a dump and there’s this spider crawling in the toilet, just at any, you know, at any moment somebody could get bit.

And the spider actually does jump on the dog. And like kind of crawls its way or slides its way down between her breasts, but she notices it and flicks it off and 

Todd: yeah. You know, I can’t believe we’ve gone this long without talking about John Goodman. 

Craig: Oh yeah, that’s right. Cause he only, he showed up for that one scene.

Um, the ROS found out that all the wooden, his wine cellar was rotten, so he suspected termites. So they called in John Goodman. I don’t even remember what his name 

Todd: was. Delbert McClinton locker. So yeah. 

Craig: It’s 

Todd: and he just comes up and he lumbers that. And in some respects, he’s also playing John Goodman, blue collar kind of guy who just, it seems a little off in space, but definitely knows what he’s talking about and speaks in these matter of fact tones.

And I just loved them to death. Like the minute you see him, he’s just funny. 

Craig: That’s what my husband thought. And he’s an 

Todd: expert in these 

Craig: matters. Well, no, thanks. So glad you called me

no room for amateurs in this game. What is it? 

Todd: It’s hard to say, 

Craig: but anybody objective for a tour that flora, I would false alarm then lead on, I guess. Yes. Steven Spielberg agreed to executive produce this on the contingency. John Goodman was cast in this role. And Frank Marshall had worked with John Goodman too.

And it was like, oh yeah, boy, that’s perfectly fine. Um, and it’s great. Like he does, he, he brings in some not much needed, but much appreciated levity. Like he comes in and it’s just comedy. It’s hilarious. And then he ends up, you know, you said that it, it has a lot of. Um, parallels to jaws, he’s kind of the Quint of this movement.

He’s, he’s the guy that you go to, if you need to kill a shark or in this case, he needed to kill us fighter. And he’s super confident. Like he just thinks he’s like the best exterminator ever. And he’s got all these like non fail, like foolproof chemicals and stuff 

Todd: later on, he brings in his personal supply.

Craig: Yeah. And it’s like acid. 

Todd: That’s just so funny in this movie. And the other thing I like about it though, is that these actually is pretty smart. Like he ends up knowing what he’s talking about because first Chris and Ross, I think go over to the woman’s house to see if they can find the, the first lady who has killed her, her house to see if they can find a spider.

And there’s a whole thing where they end up do they do end up finding us. Oh, in one of the cereal boxes and they capture it. So that kind of confirms their suspicions. And so Atherton ends up coming down. And so you have John Goodmans, you know, very working class character as an exterminator being played against Atherton’s very, almost nose in the air, snobbery, ivory tower type professor character, right.

He’s he doesn’t come across as a jerk. He just is very, uh, you know, has that very educated way of speaking and, and very precise. And they’re all in the car together, I think. And they’re talking about where are they going to find the nest because there’s the spider must have some nest somewhere. And 

Craig: at some point somebody lays out, um, well there’s Ross, Ross puts, yeah.

Ross puts together that this the killer spider must’ve hitchhiked with the body and Abernathy’s like, oh, um, They examine the specimen. They find out that it, you know, is very venomous. It has like three venom SACS, whereas most only have one and it has no sex organs. Um, so they know that it must be that type of spider.

And I think Chris explains that I, I think of it like bees that have a queen, you know, but in this case it’s a male. Um, there’s one male and they say that the male must have made it with a common spider and produced a queen and is now has made it with that queen. And eventually she will create reproductive offspring, but for now, because there’s only the one male and the one female that can reproduce, there’s gotta be like a home base and nest.

And so they’ve got to find it and they’ve got to kill both the male and the female. 

Todd: Yes. That’s when they pull out the map and they’re like, okay, let’s let’s Cordy. Let’s see, where did all these bites, these attacks happen and what’s right at the dead center of it, of. Is Jennings house. So they all hop in the car and they’re heading to Jennings house.

And I think it’s cool. I’m not sure, actually, if it’s, if it’s the professor or his assistant who says, yeah, you know, this, this, this spider’s going to be in this kind of place, it’s going to be dark and 

Craig: whatever and musty. Right. And we already know, we know where it is because we’ve seen the spider crawl into this, the wine.

Todd: Yeah. But Ross is like, it’s been in my garage the whole time. There’s been a huge spider web up there. And at this point, Dilbert, Delbert speaks up, says, ah, I don’t think your average, spider’s going to find that bar. And it’s going to be a little too drafty for them this time of year. It’s probably not going to be there.

And you know, they kind of look over at him like, well, I’m sorry, dude, but it’s, they’re like, you should have seen this web. And you know, you’re an idiot. He turns out to be right. It’s 

Craig: because I don’t know that I would’ve noticed that. But, uh, if I weren’t, you know, paying really close attention for the podcast, but the spider makes its nest in the barn and then we need Mrs.

Hollis. And Mrs. Hollis says, I want to throw you a party, but let’s wait a couple of weeks until it gets a little bit cooler. So that amount of time has passed. So yeah, maybe the, the guy, the exterminator guy is right. The spider moved because the seasons are changing. So it moves to a more temperate place.

It makes sense. 

Todd: So smart script. 

Craig: Yeah, it really is. But I mean, this, you know, leads up to the final confrontation, which is great. You know, Chris and Ross ended up at the house and there, you know, of course they know that there are spiders everywhere, so they’re being very cautious, but the family is inside completely oblivious.

So Ross and Chris come in and just at that moment, I guess the spiders decide to make their move. 

Todd: Suddenly there are spiders everywhere, and they’re coming out from everywhere and they’re on the walls and they’re falling down and they’re, they’re suspended from threads and he’s like, you know, carefully moving around them and they go to the front door, but it’s already covered.

And they’re like, we got to go upstairs. We get outside through the roof or something and they go up and they end up in the bathroom and there’s spiders crawling out of the sink drain in there. I mean, it’s just your nightmare if you hate and they 

Craig: right. And they get the family out. But then when Ross goes to get out, like this whole army of spiders descends on their silk, like it’s just, it’s just really well done.

And I was on the edge of my seat. Like I was like, I had, my skin was crawling. Thinking about it. Um, and you know, it would be it’s nightmarish enough just to be surrounded by that many spiders that’s disgusting, but knowing that a single bite will kill you instantly. There’s, there’s, there’s a lot of threat there and he ends up, I dunno, if he falls over a banister or what, but it’s been established that the wood in the cellar is rotten.

So he crashes right through the floor, into the cellar and he notices that he’s like, wait, there’s a musty smell. And the others that the spiders are not coming down there. And the scientist had said, there will not be any spiders other than the queen in the nest, because spiders are cannibalistic and the queen will be guarding her nest, you know, against all the other spider.

So he knows she must be down there and she is, and she kind of aggressively comes towards him. I don’t, I don’t remember how it all goes down. It it’s fun. And I eventually, he swats at it with like a pipe or a machete or something and he hits it, but then he doesn’t know where it is and it turns out it’s still on whatever he hit it with, but then he throws it and it hits, uh, like the fuse box and it gets fried in the fuse box, but then big daddy appears and he has to battle it too.

And I guess this scene took days and days to shoot. And for most of it. Jeff Daniels was pinned underneath one of the racks of the wine cellar that had that falls on him at some point. And the spider keeps coming towards him and they’re using a live spider, which I love for the most part. Now, again, they were very careful with these spiders, but Jeff.

You know, this wine cellar, he treasures this wine, it’s all very expensive. And he has to throw these wine bottles at the spider. Um, but I guess he had to be really careful to make sure that he didn’t really throw it anywhere near the spider. He had to miss it by three or four feet every time. Um, uh, I don’t even know for D doing that for days.

No, I, I can’t imagine. And, and like, I feel like the house is burning around them. Yeah. Yeah. 

Todd: Something, something happened. I think it was because of the, uh, the electrical short in the wall. Yeah. 

Craig: Well, and then all the alcohol or on 

Todd: the floor, and he’s picking up bottles at one point and throwing them at the spider, he picks up the bottle of the Chateau or whatever that they had.

Like, he’s like, oh, not the Chateau. And he sets it aside and picks up another one because they had made a big deal out of this particular wine being the most expensive that he had had earlier. Oh. 

Craig: And then he chased. Yeah. And then he chases it around. An aerosol can flame thrower, which is a great scene.

And the spider is super crafty. It will scurry out, but then it’ll hide behind something when Daniels is, uh, using the flame thrower. And then as soon as the flame goes off, it’ll scurry again and then hide behind something else. And then it ends up in one of the, you know, Florida ceiling, wine racks, and Ross is just, you know, shooting the flame thrower at random in there.

And you get another one of those shots of close-up shots of the spiders eyes watching, and you see the flames reflected in its eyes. Uh, it just looks great. Eventually he hears it running around in a pipe, like a, a ventilation pipe, I think. And the pipe is open at one end. And so he positions himself there.

And I was like, do just shoot your flame thrower in there. Like, what is wrong with you? Like he’s waiting for it to like show itself, but instead it jumps out on his face and he falls to the ground and there’s like a reenactment of his two year old memory of the spider, you know, just crawling up his body.

Uh, yeah, 

Todd: another couple of great close up shots of the spider’s eyes with the flames flickering in them. These curling towards him and this spider is I think mechanical. And, um, I think it bears mentioning that, uh, Jamie Hyman, who is one of the MythBusters, he did Hollywood special effects for awhile, maybe still does.

And this was one of his very first jobs was the mechanical spiders on this. And he said it was just kind of more or less simple magnets and things that they use to move them around with. So it looks really good though. Does it looks great? Yeah, spiders, spiders themselves. They can’t train them. So they actually had to use all these tricks and things like a vibrating wires that they knew the spires wouldn’t cross, or the little chemicals or something they would spray like down.


Craig: was just lemon pledge. They wouldn’t want any surface that had lemon pledge on it. They wouldn’t walk on, so they could kind of make paths 

Todd: and they’re really sensitive to hot and cold. And so they were using that to kind of draw the spiders to different areas, really interesting stuff. It’s, it’s a really great feat actually putting this movie together with live spiders nowadays, it would all be done in CGI.


Craig: And you would be able to tell as good as it looks, you would be able to tell and knowing that these are real spiders, just, it raises the stakes and it looks great. He ends up launching the big daddy, spider. Like he waits for it to crawl onto a piece of wood that’s laying over his leg. And when it does, he hits the piece of wood and it launches this.

Into the fire, but then, and so he thinks it’s dead, then he’s focused on the egg sack, but then there’s the spider, the flaming spider attacks him and he ends up, he ends up shooting, like it jumps at him and he points the nail gun at it and shoots the nail gun. And the nail goes through the spider and launches the flaming spider into the egg sack.

Now this is, they do this in movies all the time, but it makes me kind of irritated every time. That is not how nail guns work, nail guns do not just shoot like guns. Like you have to push in that part. It won’t fire until that thing on the end is pushed in, but whatever it looks great. So his aim is true.

Right. And, uh, then, you know, I don’t know. Yeah, they talk about how now that the mom and dad are dead, any ones that remain because they have this short life span, they’ll die in a couple of days. They just have to be careful until that or whatever. And then it cuts to a sweeping shot of the San Francisco bay.

And I left my heart in San Francisco is playing and, um, we see that the family has really relocated back to the city, 

Todd: to the city where it’s quieter, 

Craig: uh, where it’s quieter. And they’re like, ah, thank God. We don’t have to worry about any of those horrible elements of nature. And they’re drinking that super expensive bottle of wine that he had the mom and the dad.

And just as they pour and are getting ready to toast, there’s an earthquake. The irony is. Wonderful. So they they’re like, oh, we better go check on the kids. And so they put their glasses of wine down and there’s an aftershock which knocks over their glasses and the bottle of the wine. So they ended up and that’s where it ends.

It’s so, um, it’s, it is funny. It’s a, it’s a really good movie and you’re right. I don’t know why it has fallen out of the conversation of pop culture, uh, because it’s, it’s one of the better movies of the nineties, you know, especially genre movies. Um, it’s good. It’s, it’s really good. And it has wide appeal, wide appeal.

I feel like. Uh, lots of people could watch and enjoy this movie, even non horror fans. If you’re a fan of comedy, I think that you would enjoy this movie. It’s got really, really good familiar actors in it. It’s, well-written, it’s beautifully shot the performances. I can’t imagine them being any better. I just, there’s nothing that to criticize.

It’s got its tense kind of frightening, but not like scare you to death moments, but then it’s also got lots of moments of levity and it’s got humor and, and heart. I mean, it just, it, it just knocks the ball out of the park pretty much. And I don’t get why it’s not more. I don’t know. I don’t know why it doesn’t get the love and attention that I think it deserves 

Todd: re-released later in 1996, you know, we had on VHS and then it must’ve still been in the public consciousness for another six years may came back to the theaters.

That doesn’t happen that often. So it just blows my mind. I don’t, I don’t, I really don’t know why it is neither, but hopefully with our podcast and our millions of listeners out there who hang on every word that we say we will single-handedly um, boost the sales of in streaming of this, of this movie.


Craig: here, we are saying, why aren’t people talking about it? And we’re almost 300 episodes in, and we haven’t talked about, we’ve 

Todd: talked we’ve we thought about it before though. I think we 

Craig: brought up. We have. Yeah, but, uh, thank you, Rob, for, uh, suggesting it because. Frankly, it was about damn time. Like, so thank you for reminding.

Todd: Yes. I completely agree. A light breezy, fun, horror movie that you can watch with your kids and family. That just, just a joy, very clever, uh, from beginning to end and a lot of fun. Thank you for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this, please share with a friend. You can find us online, just search two guys and the chainsaw podcasts.

And if you want to make a request as well, you can find us on our Facebook page, our Twitter page, our YouTube channel, just to leave us a comment on one of those places, let us know what you’d like us to review and we’ll have that until next time. I’m Todd great. With Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

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