If the multitude of 50s and 60s B-movies have taught us anything over the years, it's that exposure to radiation and/or toxic waste makes things either mutate, develop a bizarre array of super powers or grow to terrifyingly huge proportions. In Eight-Legged Freaks it's the latter that occurs when a truck carrying barrels of a dangerous chemical accidentally sheds some of its load into the water supply of the local exotic spider farm (every town should have one of these). Upon expose a variety of different spiders begin to increase in size and unfortunately for the shop owner, appetite. Before long the spiders have escaped their tanks and are on the loose leaving a trail of destruction and webbing in their wake. Meanwhile, on the other side of town Chris McCormack (played by David Artquette) returns to the small rural mining town of "Prosperity" after an absence of some years with plans to relieve the flagging fortunes of his deceased father's mine and find the fabled gold seam contained within. He has also returned for a long-lost love Sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer) but his plans have to be placed on the back-burner as the increasingly predatory spiders begin to advance on the town. Before long the local residents are holed up in the local mall arming themselves with whatever they can lay their hands on (watch out for a Friday 13th Hockey mask & Chainsaw combo) with a veritable army of spiders trying to break in. After being forced to retreat even further, the locals enter the mines and the lair of the Queen...
OK, it's predictable but that's the point Eight-Legged Freaks is a spoof and cheesy homage to every B-movie you ever saw containing elements of a wide number of films, the most recent of which being Gremlins, Starship Troopers, Tremors and of course, Arachnophobia. David Arquette does well as the goofy hero but it's the other minor characters such as the overweight and balding Deputy, the ostrich-farming mayor and the local conspiracy theorist who broadcasts his paranoid rants from his own radio-station and has a particular fear of being 'probed' by aliens that really steal the show. In terms of the spiders there are a wide variety on show. Remember the way the spiders in Arachnophobia could jump? Increase them in size to that of a car and you've got the idea. Trapdoor spiders that dig pits to hide in before leaping out to grab their unsuspecting prey and tarantula type spiders that have grown to the size of a tank making them juggernauts of destruction are also present. It's not exactly the most cerebral of films we're showing this season but that's not the point. It's all about cheesy, campy fun and in this respect the film delivers exactly what it promises. Leave your brain at home and remember, "They're not aliens they're spiders mutated by contaminated waste!"
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