Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Tarantulas:The Deadly Cargo"(1977)d/Stuart Hagmann

...except that's a wolf spider,jackasses.
Oh 1977,how I dearly miss you,baby.I only wish I was older during you.As an eight year old,I missed out on Eraserhead and Suspiria in the theaters,though I was already checking out R rated movies with the old man.The skull-chick brushing her hair in the television commercial musta scared the Nutella off his Italian toast or something.All I know is I'm thankful nobody cracked their assbone on the perpetual pile of Micronauts scattered recklessly across the living room floor back then,and that I'm still not sure where Andrew Gold was headed with "Lonely Boy"(number fifty in the top one hundred songs way back then).Let me get this straight,pal.The kid was jealous of his baby sister when he was two years old?And subsequently moved out at age eighteen to find love,still emotionally scarred from the snubbing he took as a toddler?Only,his sister gets knocked up with a baby boy instead,and the cycle continues?You made more fuckin' sense when you wrote "Thank You For Being a Friend",which ended up as the theme song for tv's The Golden Girls,which also has me wondering...are they the "Golden" Girls because of their ages,or because they were part of your stable of geryatric bitches?Fill me in,brother.
1977 was also choice because they still shit out "movie of the week" horror tele-films like this,with absolutely no fucking basis in reality,not one A list star on the cast list(unless you count Claude "I'm always either a trucker,sheriff,or a fireman" Akins,and really,who'd do that.),and a nondescript script with more gaping holes than R. Bud Dwyer's forehead(granted,he only had one in his,but it was a fucking doozy)and chock full o'hokey false movie science that pays off with one of the most head-scratchinest endings you might ever see.Also,you may remember Matthew "Little House on the Prairie" Laborteaux/Labytoreaux/Labyorteaux/Laborteauk,as "Additional Voice" in Disney's Mulan and more recently,as "Additional Voice" in Bride Wars(2009).Yeah,you MIGHT.Seriously,this fucking kid was everywhere back then,you couldn't pull out a huge television power knob without seeing this pouty little prick's grillpiece squeezing every second out of his fifteen minutes.If I end up giving this review one wop afterall,it's gonna be because this annoying fuck gets bitten by spiders,and nobody bothers to save him.Nothing personal,Matthew,if you happen to be reading this between "Additional Voice" gigs.It is what it is.
Dan Challis and Johnny Fever wanna smuggle Ecuadorian coffee together,but they end up with a plane full o' quesa puro instead.
On a renegade smuggling mission direct from Mrs. Folger herself,Howard Hessman and Tom Atkins have recruited tres Ecuadorian peons to shovel pounds and pounds of coffee into burlap sacks,which they plan to turn into profitous folding money back in the States.Only problem is,the Ecuadorians kinda miss the alarming number of hairy mygalamorphs going into the bags with each shovelful.In return for their trabajando mucho,the daring duo opts to let the gents kip amongst the coffee beans during the flight to the northern region of the continent.Some of the spiders escape their burlap prisons and begin to bite the spaniards in the back of the plane.Cue hokey movie science lesson #1:Though,to any arachnophile worth his weight in chelicerae,the featured spiders are both Brachypelma and Aphonopelma species,which are terrestrial and usually extremely mild-tempered with non-toxic venom,the film's director would like you to believe these little darlins are "Ecuadorian banana spiders",capable of causing death in minutes.That's a pretty big fucking stretch,Armstrong,but we'll proceed.Adding insult to injury,one of the plane's engines shits out,forcing the would-be coffee moguls to crash in a field somewhere in an orange-producing burg in California.Literally seconds after the plane goes down,the crash scene is descended upon by all the main characters.Fireman Burt(Akins),Doc Hodgins(Pat Hingle),Mayor Douglas,the police chief,and even Joe and Cindy,a young couple.While trying to pry the plane's door open,they notice a steadily leaking flow of gasoline coming from the wreckage,so they naturally dig a trench around the site to divert the path of the petrol.That'd have been an ace idea if a random jackass on a motorcycle didn't speed out of control directly towards the wreck,crashing his bike,and effectively catching the fuel on fire and blowing up the plane.
Matthew(Matt Laborteaux)may be effin' with oranges here,but it'd be nothing but lemons for him later on.
Hokey movie science lesson #2:Ecuadorian banana spiders are made of a flame proof material,evidently,as the army of arachnids emerges from the explosion totally unscathed and begin biting the good townsfolk immediately,forcing Hodgins to set up a makeshift triage,where Joe's friend,who just happens to be a world-renowned arachnophile,deducts that the responsible culprits must be Ecuadorian banana spiders that stowed away in the coffee beans by the fucking hundreds,which by hokey movie mathematics,means that the some of the burlap sacks must've had more spiders than coffee in them...and still didn't get noticed.Peculiar that.And if that sounds a little funny to you,just wait til you wrap your collective minds around the town's methodology of ridding themselves of the menacing mygalamorphs.Oh yeah,Matthew(Laborteaux) is among the first to notice the spiders,pokes around at one with a stick,just like an annoying little fuck who's begging to get poisoned would do.Only,unlike the usual movie of the week fare of the day,where the snot nose would get a good scare and learn a valuable lesson from it all,this brat gets bitten,suffers,and dies.How fucking hot is that?Meanwhile,the mayor is prepping his oranges for the marketplace,ignoring the warnings of just about everyone in the movie to shut down his processing plant,which,by the way,has become infested with thousands of spiders who are attracted to the bugs that in turn,are attracted to the fruit.Just when all hope seems lost for Amity beac...uhh,the town of Finleyville,Joe researches the hairy antagonists further,coming up with Hokey movie science lesson #3:The Ecuadorian banana spider's biggest natural enemy is a type of wasp,and just the sound of its beating wings will paralyze the spider with fear for several minutes.Joe then surmizes that rounding up some bumblebees and recording the buzz,and amplifying it through a sound system in the plant,will buy them the time that they need to shovel and tong up all the paralyzed spiders and drop them into containers of alcohol.After throwing some fruit on the plant floor to draw the bugs which draws the spiders,they play the recording of the bees(bumblebees,specific South American wasps,what's the difference at this point,really)which freezes the tarantulas,allowing Fireman Bert,Joe,Cindy and the doctor to round the eight-legged varmints up and save the day,despite a momentary power shortage scare they manage to overcome.The shortage of good writing they never do.
What did I fuckin' tell ya?
Cargo proved to be Hagmann's last directorial credit(oh,sweet justice!),Claude Akins kept busy on the small screen up until his death in 1994,with Pat Hingle doing much the same until his death in 2006.Tom Atkins,of course,is very genre busy to this very day,much to the delight of horror nuts everywhere.Hessman was last seen on the genre map in Rob Zombie's H2,which I've yet to suffer through.Thank the gods for small favours.Tonight's entry is light on scares,heavy on polyester wear,and moderately full of unintentional laughs.It crawls upon the rating scale,feebly mustering a mere one wop.
Go ahead,Ida,a buck is a buck.Get eatin'!

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