In a movie, when somebody begins a sentence with what the
? and does not finish it, its a pretty good sign that weird things are happening. If this all takes place in desert country, you can almost bet on it. In Eight Legged Freaks a character says it just before the unsuspecting birds in his ostrich farm suddenly start being yanked through the ground. Enough said.
The movie takes us back to the 50s sci-fi flicks when mutant creatures - usually oversized insects - terrorised B-grade actors in movies that may not have been as sophisticated in the special effects department as they are today, but were still a lot of fun. Eight Legged Freaks is a distant cousin of one of the best of these -the 1955 Tarantula! But the beasties in this movie are multiplied by about two hundred and have apparently been fed speed pills and jumping beans.
The monster spiders that invade the town of Prosperity, Arizona, start out on a diet of pets, move up to teenage bike riders and then add the rest of the town to their menu. Not that it really matters to the scheme of things, but a swerving truck that spills a load of toxic chemicals into the river is what sets off all of this mayhem. The crickets from the river become fodder for a spooky guys spiders and they start to grow - big time. When one of them puts the bite on him, he falls and smashes all their glass containers and they run out into the world as fast as their eight furry little legs can carry them.
Arriving in town just before these web weavers try to take it over is Chris McCormack (David Arquette) who left 10 years before because he was in love with Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), a married woman who also happens to be the town sheriff. It didnt help that he also punched out her husband. Chris calls in on his chain-smoking aunt, Gladys (Eileen Ryan) who owns a little dog. Bad sign. Eight Legged Freaks has it in for most of the animals that appear including the aforementioned ostriches that belong to the towns scheming Mayor Wade (Leon Rippy).
The only person who knows anything about spider habits is the sheriffs young son, Mike (Scott Terra), who was a friend of the spooky guy and who has guessed what has happened. But even he is not much help when the monsters attack en masse, spin half the population into cocoons and begin an assault on the shopping mall into which the rest of the townspeople have locked themselves. The spider effects are terrific, but if you dont even like itsy-bitsy ones, take someone to cling to. Miss Muffet wont be the only one running for cover when these babies come visiting.