"The Giant Spider" by Christopher Page
Originally posted at: http://www.jonja.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=13993
"When radiation left behind by atomic weapons testing creates a gigantic killer mutant arachnid, it's up to a trio of scientists, an Army general, and a newspaper reporter and his fiancée to figure out how to stop the hungry beast from devouring the entire county ..."
I like me a giant monster movie! If you take just about anything and make it REALLY big and let it run rampant; lizards, moths, ants, mantis, and of course, spiders, I'm in!
Christopher R. Mihm's latest installment in his "Mihmiverse" collection of films strikes right to the core of my monster movie love. This movie may be one of the Mihm's most ambitious endeavors, leaving behind the 'man in the suit' monster and instead going for the digital trickery. A feat that serves him well I might add considering that Mihm writes, directs and edits all his films and that includes the post production visual effects. So keeping in mind that he did all of this in about a year.. pretty damn impressive!
"The Giant Spider" reunites many familiar Mihmiverse faces. Shannon McDonough first appeared in the Mihm's film "It Came From Another World!," making this her 5th appearance in the Mihmiverse, and Daniel Sjerven returns for the 4th time! Both have some catching up though as Mike Cook has found his way to 7 of the 8 Mihm films! That is a record that as far as I can tell can only be tied by Christopher R. Mihm himself! Many others step in front of the camera as well that have been long time supporters behind-the-scenes of the films.
On that point, his supporters, I think, are the biggest reason I am such a fan of the Mihm films. I am just so damn impressed at the level these people back Mr. Mihm. The fact that there are people that have seen or heard of what he has done and have sought him out asking to be a part of it is simply fantastic! I've heard Mr. Mihm talk of this and he is well aware that the films would have never existed if not for these friends, family and eager-to-help actors. I may just be envious.
Back to "The Giant Spider." I really enjoyed it! A truly great nod to the giant bug films of the past if there ever was one, but I did have one or two problems with it. The first and third acts are fantastic! Great actors, great spiders and some brilliantly fun moments. It is the second act, unfortunately, that contains some moments that bring the film to a screeching halt faster than a fly smacking into a giant spider's web! With some of the dialog I found myself almost leaning forward in my chair waiting for the next line to be spoken. Not in the "WOW, I can't wait to hear what is next!" way, but in the "For crying out loud, say the line!" sort of way. Many a joke falls flat for me that I think would have worked really well if not for the snail's pace.
Being a fan of both Mihm and giant insect based threats, I didn't mind sitting through it all, but I am not sure the more casual viewer would have my patience. The final act makes it all worth it with its motorcycle driving, death defying reporter vs. giant spider chase scenes and all!
The only other issue I had, and this is one I've had with other Mihm movies, is the post-production ADR. All the dialog is recorded later and synced to the film. I understand why he needs to do this, and while the sync itself is really good, it never sounds quite right, this film especially so. Knowing that this IS meant to be a 1950's homage film, maybe either intentionally or subconsciously, Mihm is giving a nod to films like "The Beast of Yucca Flats" and others that not only used this method but seemed to revel in it.
"The Giant Spider" is a "must watch" for Mihimiverse fans and recommended viewing for any giant creature feature fans!
Check out http://www.sainteuphoria.com for any conventions or theater screenings or just go and buy the DVD! While you're there, pick up some of his other films too! (I really recommend his first film, "The Monster of Phantom Lake!")