upon a time in a
faraway place called Wisconsin, evidently a land of
alcoholic scrub farmers and prideless prostitutes, there was
a low-budget filmmaker named Bill Rebane. He gathered a few
of his sub-literate neighbors and made this movie. In it,
between drinking and whoring and failing at various
endeavors, these good people find themselves invaded via
meteor by one or more large spiders who eat them. (I
wouldn't eat one of these people, myself, but then I'm
neither a giant spider nor Ed Gein.) A couple of
unconvincing NASA scientists, one played by Barbara Hale of
tattered Perry Mason fame, come to the rescue. They paste
together some kind of explanation, and if I can recall (we
wrote this way last week) blow the spiders up. Barbara Hale
repeatedly deploys a harshly nasal scream toward the end,
something like a cougar in heat. You ever hear a cougar in
Prologue: Servo is a cheerleader, and a pert one at that, demanding that Mike and Crow give him an S, an A, etc. They refuse, but consent to give him an M, an R, an X, and an L. Servo makes do. "We got the mrxl and you got none, uh huh uh huh!"
Segment One: Mrs. Pearl Forrester, yes that Pearl Forrester, regales the SOL with tales of camping on their new planet home; Observer had "harvested wild mushrooms with his mind, we sat by a crystal blue stream having mind-fried rainbow trout. Aw, it was heaven." She mocks the SOL's inability to camp, but Servo responds by portaging a canoe and knocking Mike and Crow over several times. Back on the planet, Pearl and Observer are strangely flat and lifeless, and offer the SOL some "zucchini-throw pillows." Mike's nervous; Servo says "they're perfectly normal overgrown pod-like vegetation, you nervous Nellie you!"
Segment Two: Upon leaving the theater, Mike and the 'Bots are net by Gypsy, now also strangely lifeless. She attempts quite strongly to convince them all to sleep, and sings a lullaby: "Let an evil super consciousness.....swallow you whole...." It's rather disconcerting.
Segment Three: The crew realizes that if they fall asleep, the evil pods will take them over, so they're trying to stay awake. Servo keeps nodding off; Crow is wired on "French Roast, V-V-Vivarin, diet pills, M-M-Mountain Dew, Jolt, Water Joe, S-S-Surge..." On the planet, Pearl and Observer relentlessly load pods into the van: evidently they want to take over the galaxy! They screech at Bobo when he tries to interfere.
Segment Four: A pod Servo shows up, along with the real Servo; Mike asks questions to determine which is the real one. It's a pretty tight contest until Mike asks the contents of Servo's underpants collection: "342 pairs of cotton boxers in various fabric designs, no duplicates; 78 pairs of silk boxers; 702 pairs of high cut brief; 55 pair of the low cut brief; 7 banana warmers; one pair of the "Home of the Whopper" briefs" etc. Pod Servo runs screeching.
Segment Five: Mike realizes he's the only normal one left on the SOL; he appeals to Bobo on the planet to find the mother pod and kill it. Bobo is resentful that he alone on the planet is not a pod: "Wanna know why? Cuz the monkey's not good enough -- again!" He doubts his ability to save the galaxy ("I do have a red butt, Mike, I might as well face facts!") but Mike appeals to his great lineage, and Bobo wrestles the pod to death as Pearl and Bobo screech. Pearl, having missed the movie, sends it again.
Reflections: I've recently come to a sad realization: I must surrender one of my fondest dreams, that of living in a small town or rural community in northern Wisconsin or Minnesota. You know why, right? Guess who else lives in these places: small-town white people, that's who. Granted, the drunkards and louts who streak across the screen (sometimes all too Seventies-style) in Giant Spider Invasion are not entirely fair representations. They're exaggerated by as much as fifteen percent. It's sad but true. As capitalism has decayed (I don't need to tell you about that, I trust) the bitterness in the hinterlands has increased a hundred-fold, so that long-haired guys in boots, a group I used to trust instinctively as being either fans or members of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, have evolved in a deadly manner. They don't like people who aren't like them. And they live in northern Wisconsin. -- Paul Chaplin