Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Edgewood Studios is a little movie studio outside of Vermont, thus outside the whole Hollywood thing, that makes little low budget movies of extremely questionable quality. They seem like nice enough folks though. Their current claim to fame is they are producers of Anna Nicole Smith’s last film ‘Illegal Aliens’, which I happen to own but haven’t watched and probably never will since I ‘lent’ that movie to a friend. I think we all know that lending anything to anybody is pretty much the same as giving it away. I want my ‘Rick James Greatest Hits’ CD back Mark! It’s only been fourteen years! Should’ve been able to make a decent copy by now. Anyways, after watching the instant classic ‘Ice Queen’ a couple of weeks ago, today we are going to investigate one of Edgewood’s earlier works in the giant spider flick ‘Arachnia’. Though Arachnia isn’t without its charms… then again maybe it is without its charms… it’s not nearly the festival of joyful comedy that ‘Ice Queen’ turned out to be.

We first meet our crew of victims in what has to be smallest airplane ever as it actually looks like these five people have been stuffed in the backseat of ’77 Chevy Vega where these individuals are on their way to some archeological dig in Arizona. We have Professor Mugford (David Bunce) who is a sniveling asshole and as such I’m thinking he will get it last and get it worse. We also have Mugford’s male graduate assistant Deke (Dan Merriman) who’s a sniveling coward and such going get it bad too I’m betting. For absolutely no real world reason we have two stupid bimbos on the flight in Trina (Bevin McGraw) and Kelly (Alexxus Young – love the double x’s). We also have our heroine girl in this film in Hostile Sista graduate assistant Chandra Weaver (Irene Jospeh) and the hero boy and pilot of the flying Vega in Sean Pachowski (Rob Monkiewicz). Damn if a meteorite doesn’t fall out of sky and force the Vega to crash land, which happens often I’m pretty sure, and now our heroes are in the middle of nowhere to fend for themselves.

Fortunately they find an empty house that has some running water and damn if Kelly doesn’t suddenly feel like she needs a bath. So Kelly, who signed the nudity waver, gets all naked and lathered up by Trina, who obviously didn’t sign the nudity waiver, who keeps her clothes on, including her overcoat but does take the time soap Kelly up. Anyway seems the meteorite opened a hole in the ground which released a whole bunch carnivorous spiders from the deep earth, leaving me curious what those damn things ate before the meteor cracked the ground open, and now our college students are in some trouble. The crazy old dude (James Aspden) tried to warn them but did they listen? Nope, and now it’s on as the spiders are ready to take over the world, at least until the Air Force gets there.

What can we say about ‘Arachnia’? It is poorly acted, poorly staged, poorly executed and poorly shot. Director Brett Piper goes back in time to the days of ‘Tarantula’ and ‘Them’ to bring us big bugs that use stop motion to get around, and though it was a bit odd to see, it was preferable over lousy CGI. I probably would have liked good CGI over this, but bad stop motion beats bad CGI any day of the week. About the Air Force though. How did the Air Force show up on the scene? Chandra had to convince her father, an Air Force Colonel to come with reinforcements as the whole ‘Giant Spider’ thing wouldn’t be believed so she pretended like the lecherous professor was raping her. Not that a concerned dad shouldn’t get on the next flight out to save his little girl, but mobilizing F-15’s, Black Hawks, Tanks and a couple thousand troops might be a little over kill, and not to mention the attention it would get from those excessive military spending watchdogs.

The thing is ‘Arachnia’ was meant to be completely tongue in cheek and for that you can’t really be too hard on it, but since it was meant to be tongue in cheek and if you take it for what it’s meant to be, it still falls considerably short of the mark. Unlike ‘Ice Queen’ which I believe took itself seriously and as a result was the funniest movie of the year, ‘Arachnia’ was actually trying to be funny and for the most part wasn’t. And though Irene Joseph is a lovely woman, she was so much bigger than everybody else on the set that she was oppressive. Statuesque would best describe the woman as she completely over shadowed our poor little hero boy, even chastising him close to tears at one particular time. That ain’t cool. To keep everything balanced they should have cast someone who is larger and stronger looking than our large Amazonian female who would have given the illusion that he could tame her were it necessary, yet also possess brutal handsomeness and swashbuckling smoothitude. Oddly enough myself comes to mind. Too bad I don’t act.

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