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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 810- The Giant Spider Invasion

Movie: (1975) A meteor crashes in Wisconsin, laden with the eggs of otherworldly spiders. Incompetent local officials try to respond.

First shown: 5/31/97
Opening: Tom shows spirit, but Mike and Crow only offer MRxL
Intro: The campers recall their trip, Tom portages and Pearl shares some pod-like “zucchini”
Host segment 1: Pod-Gypsy suggests sleep, but Mike is suspicious
Host segment 2: Mike and the bots try to stay awake, while Bobo is skeptical
Host segment 3: Pod-Servo seems convincing, until asked about his “collection”
End: Bobo saves the day, but Pearl declares movie sign … again!
Stinger: Pthpthpthp!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (315 votes, average: 4.74 out of 5)

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• At last. With this episode you can sense that the channel begins to trust BBI more, and the result is a memorable gem. We get the first color movie of the Sci-Fi Channel era, and what a movie! A real departure from the sameness of the film choices up to this point. The segments playfully take on another classic sci-fi trope and the riffing is top-of-the-line. All-in-all a landmark, breakthrough episode.
• Get Paul’s rather dyspeptic take here, which includes some mild satirical slander to which director Bill Rebane himself, in humorless email to us, took personal offense, causing us to add a disclaimer on that page.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 10
• Callback: “Down and down…” (The Mole People), “Somebody tampered in God’s domain,” (Bride of the Monster), “Did you beef?” (I Was a Teenage Werewolf).
• During the intro, Tom gets even for getting clobbered during the very similar “board routine” in episode 614- San Francisco International.
• Of course, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers'” (and other pod-based horror movies) have their turn at being parodied.
• Bill Williams, who played bar owner Dutch, and Barbara Hale, who played scientist Jenny Langer, were real-life husband and wife, and their son is William Katt, best remembered for his starring role in TV’s “The Greatest American Hero.”
• Daleism: As the we see the dying girl’s hand: “He thought I was Dale!”
• When amped-up Crow is in the theater, a heart beating sound effect continues for several minutes.
• The giant spider sat on a Volkswagen chassis; a driver and another eight men were inside to control each leg. That must have been fun.
• Those who’d never seen “MST3K: The Movie” were probably baffled by the host segment reference to Tom Servo’s underwear collection.
• Of course, the cry “PACKERS!!!!” became an immediate catchphrase.
In fact in February of 2011, on the night the Packers DID, in fact, win the Super Bowl, I was retweeted hundreds of times after I tweeted this Youtube video.
• In 2013, what was left of the giant spider, a rusting metal frame, was stolen from a field in Merrill.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer-Director Bill Rebane also did “Monster A Go-Go.” Assistant director/unit manager Barbara Rebane did the costumes for “Monster A Go-Go.” In front of the camera, Steve Brodie was also in “Wild World of Batwoman.” Alan Hale Jr. was also in “The Crawling Hand” and “Angels Revenge.” Robert Easton (who also got a screenwriter credit for this movie) did the voices in the British 1965 TV series “Stingray,” episodes of which were included in the the TV-movie that was featured in episode K01-INVADERS FROM THE DEEP. He was also in “The Touch Of Satan.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim is listed as producer for the last time in the series. Kevin is director. He is also associate producer for the last time. Interns Tamara Melloy and Randy Smith begin a four-episode stint.
• Fave riff: “I hate it when a movie kills off a beloved character … this is great, though!” Honorable mention: “His Hagar slacks have a waistband with repressed memories.” “Admit it! You felt something when I rolled on you!”
• Oh, and remember: honor the umlaut!

181 Replies to “Episode guide: 810- The Giant Spider Invasion”

  1. Tim S. Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    One of the all-time greats. This one has it all.

       3 likes

  2. HeyCabot!
    Ignored
    says:

    What a loathsome movie. Funny riffing, but the movie brings it down. Drab color, unappealing characters (toss-up between the daughter-spanking farmer or the oily sleazeball jeweler), and the cutaways to the preacher angrily proselytizing made me feel uncomfortable. I believe it was Servo who said, “this movie hates us.” I have to admit though, Sampo’s quotation above from when the oily jeweler gets killed is pretty great: “I hate it when a movie kills off a beloved character … this is great, though!”

       4 likes

  3. Mr. Krasker: Crossbow Murder Solver
    Ignored
    says:

    Thundarr is out on DVD, you just have to order it from Warner’s DVD on demand website.

    I still lament the passing of Surge and the totally underrated Pepsi Blue.

    Speaking (typing) about the movie: alot of people here really hate the characters of Hobgoblins, but I say this movie has the worst bunch of lonesome, distgusting, horrid characters in the whole of MST3K canon. I only pray, since this movie probabily was broadcast over the air at-least once, that any aliens that have bore witness to this abombanation are not a quick to judge lot. What I’m trying to say, if I’m saying anything at all: PACKKKKKKKEEEEEERRRRRRSSSSSS!

       0 likes

  4. F Burroughs
    Ignored
    says:

    Tonight, on a very special “Walton’s,” Mary Ellen runs around in her underwear.

    And, like Steve Vi(l) , whenever I visit Indiana/Illinois I alternate:”a giant spider invasion of savings at Menards!” … “Gettest thou a cemetery of savings at Menards!”

    Fave riff, as Kester tosses a random branch to cover up his shallow grave: “well, happy Arbor Day.”

    I’e seen this one so many times I can’t tell if it’s a good or middlin’ episode. But I have seen several other Bill Rebane movies from the same era, and they also are full of loathsome characters, few redeeming elements, and a horrible depiction and disposing of women. Spider at least has some lame attempts at comedy and the feel of a ‘family and friends’ production. Steve Brodie stars, and I guess the reporter actor is his son? there are many Brodies in the credits is all I know.

    ps – During the credits, Crow sings ‘Brodie just closes his eyes again…” So, is he doing a parody of “Dreamweaver” by Gary Wright? The music bed sounds much the same.

       4 likes

  5. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    Some variation of “Yer hittin’ the BOOOZE!! has become a stock response of mine to any news item involving someone who was arrested or got into trouble while inebriated.

       5 likes

  6. Depressing Aunt
    Ignored
    says:

    I for one am impressed to learn, thanks to IMDB, that Robert Easton, as a dialect teacher, “coached actor Forest Whitaker to an Oscar and Golden Globe with his Ugandan dialect as Idi Amin in ‘The Last King of Scotland.'” (I just copied down what it said cuz I’m not really great with cut ‘n’ paste ‘n’ stuff.)

    I wanna hear Forest Whitaker say “Yer hittin’ the booze again!” with that Ugandan accent.

       11 likes

  7. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    Holy Crap! I looked up Mr. Easton’s IMDB page and he’s involved in almost everything. Including Johnny Got His Gun for crying out loud. I just can’t picture the “Hittin’ the Booze” guy being in a movie with the kind of gravity, dignity, and seriousness as Johnny Got His Gun. It is indeed, “befuddlin’ my dumb cracker mind.”

       3 likes

  8. JohnnyRyde
    Ignored
    says:

    I still love this one. I don’t have much to add to what I wrote in 2009. I’m still tickled about how connected all the characters are. There’s as much inbreeding in front of the camera as there is behind it (“the Rebane to Brody ratio…”).

    Oh, and in the almost 4 years since I posted the above, I still haven’t managed to make it past ten minutes of the un-MST3k version.

       0 likes

  9. goalieboy82
    Ignored
    says:

    Robert Easton was also the Klingon Judge in Star Trek VI. i watch the film sometme ago and during the trial, when he started to talk to Colonel Work, “Colonel Worf,…” i said “Yer hittin’ the booze again!”

       2 likes

  10. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    Having one of those parties or get togethers where you watch a movie and eat food inspired by the movie could get ugly here. Resulting in consuming gummy spiders, chocolate ice cream, and vodka until everybody throws up. Though that does sound like a valid culinary interpretation of the film.

       4 likes

  11. bartcow
    Ignored
    says:

    FWIW, the hyperlink in the review doesn’t link to Paul’s take, but is a duplicate of the References (Annotated MST) link.

    Anyway.

    I seldom watch the episodes in order (even when they were broadcast, if I missed one, they were never rerun in order, so…), but I am now, right along with our weekly roundup, just to see. And I have to say, all those B&W hypnotism movies right in a row really do start to wear you down. Taken individually, they’re among my favorites, but yes, I can see how a giant bug movie in color would be a very welcome sight indeed.

       1 likes

  12. Sampo
    Ignored
    says:

    bartcow:
    FWIW, the hyperlink in the review doesn’t link to Paul’s take, but is a duplicate of the References (Annotated MST) link.

    Fixed.

       3 likes

  13. thequietman
    Ignored
    says:

    Dedicated to the memory of ‘Crazy Legs’ Elroy Hirsch.

    I’ve been watching the episodes in order along with the episode guide, so I finally have a bit of feeling for how this must have felt to see on its original airing. The previous eps were all enjoyable in one way or the other, but this one is truly the first home-run of the Sci-Fi era. The movie segments have me laughing almost continuously, and the host segments are brilliant too. For instance, watch Pearl when she confirms that those ARE evil pods and she and Brain Guy ARE planning to take over the universe. It’s hard to describe, but she turns her body first and her head second. It’s a neat, otherwordly touch.

    Besides being so much fun, the episode has given me several riffs that I love to apply elsewhere, such as “It’s film extra-noir!” and “Huh, music budget ran out”. When I began living in the Upper Midwest I saw my first real Menard’s and couldn’t drive past without thinking of this episode. Although, in four and a half years I never did go to a Taco John’s until something blew over.

    Fave riffs
    Preacher: “The joy yore feeling now is just the beginning!”
    Servo: Better be!

    Ev: The only time I know you’re still alive is when you flush the toilet!
    Servo: Yeah, like they have a toilet!

    It’s the new, 1971, CAR!

    (People on swinging chairs)
    Hopefully we’ll build up enough speed to launch ourselves into Minnesota and start a real life!

       3 likes

  14. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    Yawn. Wake me up for next week’s, will ya?

       1 likes

  15. EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Ryde:
    For some reason, the interrelationship between the different characters cracks me up.The Hittin’ The Booze lady is calling Dutch for booze early in the movie.Dutch’s waitress is the part-time hooker for the Viking guy.The Viking tries to unload his tainted beef to Dutch.

    It was a very delicate ecosystem that the spiders invaded and ultimately, sadly, had to destroy.

       4 likes

  16. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Drama:
    Yawn. Wake me up for next week’s, will ya?

    What, “Parts: the Clonus Horror”? Yep, that’s worth getting up for and getting a hot cup of coffee.

    (Although I don’t think we have QUITE as many “Why did a bunch of angry paranoid MST3K fans have to pick on a good big-budget Hollywood director like Michael Bay?” complaints as we did back earlier in the 00’s when the thread started, to throw said hot cup of coffee upon.)

    thequietman:
    (People on swinging chairs)
    Hopefully we’ll build up enough speed to launch ourselves into Minnesota and start a real life!

    Yeah, sort of like the “Abraxas” Rifftrax, if this movie had come from any other state, it might not get quite the riffing attention it had.
    That’s the problem with M&tB not always feeling the need to let us, the audience in on their jokes.

       0 likes

  17. EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ:
    That’s the problem with M&tB not always feeling the need to let us, the audience in on their jokes.

    The right people will get it. You ain’t right.

       19 likes

  18. Gizsonic Screwdriver
    Ignored
    says:

    FOOOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, wishful thinking.

       1 likes

  19. Lisa H.
    Ignored
    says:

    Sorry,Gizsonic, I wasn’t ready for some football yet. Could you try again?

       5 likes

  20. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    EricJ: The right people will get it. You ain’t right.

    Oh, I GET jokes about Garson Keillor, Prince, Jesse Ventura or deranged Packer cults of Wisconsin Cheeseheads (Dad used to live in Wisconsin, and warned me when I would visit)…
    Whether I, as a resident of one of the other 48 states, CARE about them with the personally invested passion of M&tB, is another issue.

       0 likes

  21. docskippy
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: Yeah, sort of like the “Abraxas” Rifftrax, if this movie had come from any other state, it might not get quite the riffing attention it had.

    Wait, are you implying “Abraxas” is Minnesotan due to the presence of Ventura? Cuz Abraxas is a Canadian movie.

       3 likes

  22. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    docskippy: Wait, are you implying “Abraxas” is Minnesotan due to the presence of Ventura? Cuz Abraxas is a Canadian movie.

    (Listen to MK&B’s RT riffing, and you will UNDERSTAND. It’s not like they picked that one for any other reason.)

       0 likes

  23. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: …Wisconsin, …I, as a resident of one of the other 48 states, …

       1 likes

  24. DarkGrandmaofDeath
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s been intriguing to reread the older comments on this episode. I’m impressed by all the informative posts about Leslie Parrish and Robert Easton, and opinions about Bill Rebane and the wonderful Barbara Hale. But above all I appreciated the thoughtful, thought-provoking ideas and posts from The Bolem and a few others – good stuff!

    And I would totally listen to Snowdog’s Zucchini Throwpillow band.

    As to TGSI, it holds up well. I still love seeing Barbara Hale as a pants-suited scientist, even if she does have to roll down a hill with Bill Rebane. I have grown to have even greater appreciation for the scene toward the end with the deputy getting sorta eaten, and dropped, and sorta picked up again; it’s so much like the victims in Creeping Terror who had to climb into the monster’s maw that there’s a nostalgic feel to it.

       3 likes

  25. Gizsonic Screwdriver
    Ignored
    says:

    Lisa H.:
    Sorry,Gizsonic, I wasn’t ready for some football yet. Could you try again?

    …Ahem….FOOOTBALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

       1 likes

  26. Justin Corwin
    Ignored
    says:

    I know a few folks that bailed on the show during the mike era and I kind of see why…. The endless black and white scifi movies in season 8 would have crushed my spirit a bit too. This episode marks the beginning of the true scifi era for me… What I love about the scifi era is the steady stream of newer films. It is what initially pulled me into the show. This is a perfect episode. Everything works and I love the host segments… Particularly the suuuurrge crow and the opening gag about zucchini throw pillows.. The movie is a perfect mess with some really zingers at the expense of country town folks.. Rednecks might be the last group of folks its ok to make fun of but damn if it’s not absolutely hilarious in this episode.

    Best line: I wish the south would rise again and conquer the north.

    Top 10 episode.

       1 likes

  27. DarkGrandmaofDeath
    Ignored
    says:

    Bill Rebane wasn’t in TGSI. He definitely couldn’t have rolled down the hill with Barbara Hale.

    Steve Brodie appeared in three episodes of Perry Mason. He didn’t roll down the hill with Barbara Hale in any of them. But he definitely did just that in TGSI.

    Just wanted to clarify my previous comment as to who was rolling where, and when.

       1 likes

  28. Mr. Krasker
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m just glad Joel never made jokes about Minnesota, Wisconsin, or the upper midwest that people from other parts of the US might not understand or care about. That’s what makes him so superior, I guess?

       2 likes

  29. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    “With this episode you can sense that the channel begins to trust BBI more…”
    With the forced story line, it feels to me the trust didn’t start until Season 9 with Castle Forrester, but by then it seemed less trust than not caring. I think this was just next on the limited list of Sci-Fi Channel approved movies, merely a coincidence that it’s not black and white.

       1 likes

  30. Brad Filippone
    Ignored
    says:

    This is the second time Alan Hale had to face a giant spider. On “Gilligan’s Island” a pigeon managed to defeat it!

       0 likes

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