Kingdom of the Spiders

killer spiders william shatner tarantula web
Super studly swinger WILLIAM SHATNER is a veterinarian assigned to the case of a murdered cow. TIFFANY BOLLING is a woman’s libber and an entomologist who’s pegged a bunch of creepy crawly tarantulas as the culprits behind the heifer’s demise. Even though she has her hands full thwarting Bill’s numerous heavy-handed advances, she easily determines the usual loner spiders have gone berserk and teamed up. These tarantulas are so crazy, they’ve somehow gained the power to produce webs and now live in giant “spider hills,” an idea they obviously stole from ants. This would all be pretty exciting news for scientists everywhere except that the spiders want to eat people and there’s a big town fair approaching that promises to be a smörgåsbord for the furry fellows. Eventually most of our favorite characters that are not dead wind up in a lodge where they have to fend off the hirsute hooligans with fire extinguishers and boiling soup. (About half the spiders are played by real tarantulas and the other half are clearly rubbery stand-ins). I don’t have to tell you about SHATNER’s performance (SHAT-TASTIC!) but who is this TIFFANY BOLLING and why is she so brave when forced to handle spiders at every turn? Seems a year earlier the clever minx played SPIDER LADY on ELECTRO WOMAN AND DYNA GIRL! That spider wrangling gig must have made her a shoe in for the part of the brilliant and brave Diane Ashley! And while we’re at it, who is that familiar moppet playing the SHAT-ATTACK’s niece who he keeps throwing around like a bag of potatoes and whose screams were obviously dubbed in later by an adult? Why it’s little NATASHA RYAN, who the year earlier was busy being psychologically tortured in the SALLY FIELD television TRAUMA-THON SYBIL! Viewers who take this movie even remotely seriously deserve the hell their lives must be. This is trash of the highest order and it’s all big fun right up to its mind bogglingly fake-looking final frame. A late night television mainstay of the late ’70s and early ’80s, KINGDOM is required viewing for arachnophobes and SHAT-APHILES. I for one, learned two important things: #1. Airplanes and spiders not only don’t mix, but result in girly screams from the pilot. #2. If there is a spider crawling on your hand, don’t try to shoot it off with a gun…indelible scenes

  • Numerous spider POV shots abound from the opening attack on a cow (that ends in a freeze frame of it’s startled eye) to the stalking of NATASHA at a picnic
  • The attack at the fair is one of the most hilariously chaotic and jaw-droppingly bizarre things ever filmed. All of the extras deserve kudos for their nutso performances
  • SHATNER must venture into the lodge basement to fix the fuse that the sneaky spiders sabotaged. His dramatic crawl back up the stairs covered with the eight-legged villains is a thing of beauty
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14 years ago

Well, my head is assuredly effed up: I saw THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION in the theater when it came out in 1975 (I was 10) and to this day, until I read this review of KotS, I would’ve sworn to Jeebus Chribest that Bill Shatner was in the movie that I saw. I have no recollection of seeing KotS but I must have because the alternative is too horrible to even contemplate: that Bill Shatner has developed the ability to psychically project his career into other people’s heads and make them believe he starred in movies he had nothing to do with. Bill was in SPARTACUS and IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT? PLEASE SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!

Derek Obrien
13 years ago

I didn’t see the whole film for years, but I remember seeing a clip of the fair attack scene, as a nominee on some televised science fiction awards TV show (I also remember the psychedelic ending to The Manitou and a clip from some movie about dogs going wild somewhere, and people rushing into a store and closing the glass doors on the manic canines just in time; anyone remember what this might have been?)

1 year ago

Kahotep, that would be The Pack (1977) with Joe Don Baker, one of the best Nature Run Amok movies ever!