Who isn’t creeped out by spiders? The fact that they have eight legs is bad enough. Then there’s all those eyes and bristles and pokey things. They’re unnatural! So we’ll excuse mild-mannered doctor Jeff Daniels for his fear of arachnids. While this 1990 Spielbergian horror-comedy serves as a satire of small-town social mores, there’s something even more frightening than Daniels’ nosy new neighbors: an infestation of fatally poisonous Venezuelan spiders. Though the movie takes pains to point out that not all spiders are poisonous death machines (some, it explains, are quite helpful), it’s clear there’s only one thing Daniels needs to do — man up and kill them all. When he takes a nail gun and an improvised homemade flamethrower to the spider nest, the point is made: a domesticated yuppie can be as tough as any John Wayne.
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