"The Giant Spider" is Running Rampant!
By Darrell Moen, Minneapolis Movies Examiner
The giant bug 'creature features' that terrorized movie-going patrons in the 1950s and 1960s were a favorite of many film fans. "Tarantula," "The Deadly Mantis," "Them" and many many others all shared several commonalities beyond the giant bug. There were scientists who knew everything except how to kill the bug. There were military types whose answer to every problem was to blast everything and run like frightened children when that didn't work. There were everyday people, some likable, some not so likable, some of whom became victims. There were children who always seemed to be involved at the least opportune times. There were real-life situations that were altered or interrupted by the problem at hand.
"The Giant Spider," local filmmaker Christopher R. Mihm's eighth film, has all of these elements along with his usual cross-referencing past films and trademark "Star Wars" references. It's all strung together in a short and sweet homage to those giant bug films. It's all intended to be good cheesy fun except for one flaw. Intentional or not, this effort is dangerously close to being a lot less than cheesy.
The plot centers around a spider, grown abnormally large by the effects of radiation, which emerges from some caves and begins killing people. It's up to a trio of scientists (Mike Cook, Billie Jo Konze, James Norgard), an Army general (Mark Haider), a newspaper reporter (Daniel Sjerven) and his fiancée (Shannon McDonough) to come up with a plan to stop this annoying behavior.
Each of these actors are very talented, in Mihm's films as well as other projects, and their abundance of talent shows through in this filmperhaps too much so. McDonough, in particular, gives her best work yet, adapting a Polish accent which never waivers, and shines as the newly-engaged sweetheart of Sjervan's character. There's no way to hide true talent and McDonough is too good to hide.
Equally solid and enjoyable are the talents of Tarantulos Mihm, the star of the show and, of course, Mihm's work at blending him into the sets and the action. Mr. Ray Harryhausen himself would be thrilled at this effort as it parallels much of what he did in his career. This is a work of art that is the perfect homage to those films of yesteryear. Cheesy or not, this is a must have item for collectors.