Harley Jane Kozak
Tangled Web Productions
Buena Vista Pictures
July 18, 1990
Budget - $31 million
Box office - $53.2 million
Arachnophobia is a horror movie directed by Frank Marshall. It was distributed by Disney’s Hollywood Pictures, and Amblin Entertainment. Those are both high quality studios, and that quality is recognizable from the start. The film stars Jeff Daniels, John Goodman and Harley Jane Kozak. It’s a family friendly horror movie that doesn’t need graphic content to push the point across. Instead, it combines suspense and comedy in a perfect way.
Doctor Ross Jennings is new in town. People hate him. They make fun of his accolades and look at him as an outsider. The town comes under fire from a deadly new spider that had hitched a ride in a coffin from Venezuela. This spider sets up a nest in the new Doctor’s wine cellar and infests the town right away. This is a deadly arachnid can paralyze and kill a human being with a single bite. The residents drop off like flies. Doctor Ross hires bug exterminator extraordinaire Delbert McClintock to combat these creepy crawlies, and an epic battle ensues between man and spider.
Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall had worked on The Goonies in 1985. Marshall had been a producer on the picture, and it is rumored that Spielberg had directed a large majority of that film, even though the credits go to Richard Donner. Part of me feels like that’s the case with Arachnophobia, and most other movies that Spielberg touches. It’s well made.
This is a safe movie that can still create a bunch of tension while letting you laugh. The filmmakers had classified the film as a Thrill-omedy. A combination thriller and comedy. The spiders are disgusting and the effects that brought them to life were well done. Mythbusters, Jamie Hyneman was a special effects technician on this movie, and had used several techniques for the spiders including magnets.
This movie is frightening if you hate spiders. I do. I hate spiders man; they are the worst thing ever. Arachnophobia knows what's up. Jeff Daniels and John Goodman are the two biggest names. Both are used properly. Goodman adds a terrific comedic angle to the picture. He was my favorite. Jeff Daniels did amazing too. He was great as the lead and definitely carried the suspense.
Arachnophobia is a fantastic movie that is well directed and written. The acting is good; the writing is great, and the story is entertaining. I recommend this movie as an entry on any Halloween playlist. The spiders just get right under your skin. After watching this movie, the rest of the night I had been keeping my eyes open for bugs. It puts the fear in you if it's not already there.