Tarantula (1955) John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Clint Eastwood Movie Review

Tarantula (1955)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Agar and Mara Corday in Tarantula (1955)

Agar Loving Mega-Spider

Having just arrived at his office Dr. Matt Hastings (John Agar) is called upon by the Sheriff (Nestor Paiva) to examine a body which is horribly disfigured. The body belongs to a colleague of Professor Gerald Deemer (Leo G. Carroll) who Matt had seen just a couple of days earlier but who appears to have died from a condition which takes years to develop. With the aid of pretty Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton (Mara Corday) Matt sets about trying to solve what could have caused the rapid progression of the illness unaware that Professor Deemer has been working on a growth hormone to solve the World's food shortage. And when cattle show up dead everything points to a giant tarantula on the loose.

For the most "Tarantula" is another one of those 1950s sci-fi/ creature feature movies involving science creating a mutant beast and a good guy and a gal sidekick trying to save the population from this mutated monster. Times haven't changed much considering there are still creature features being made now although modern creature features tend to be silly rather than entertaining. But as such you could tick the boxes when it comes to the various elements in "Tarantula", we have the discovery of a disfigured dead body, the secretive scientist who is trying to hide what he has done, the good guy in Dr. Hastings and of course a pretty woman in Stephanie for him to team up with.

Leo G. Carroll in Tarantula (1955)

I could go on because "Tarantula" doesn't stray far from the path which other mutant monster/ creature features had trodden prior to this. But for me what makes "Tarantula" entertaining is the clever use of miniatures and super imposed images. The first time you see the Professor standing in front of a cage with a giant guinea pig inside it impresses even now and likewise when we first see the giant tarantula in its glass chamber, the image is nice manipulated to be convincing. It is this which for me makes "Tarantula" entertaining although for some it will be seeing Clint Eastwood in an uncredited role as a Jet pilot which might make them smile.

What this all boils down to is that "Tarantula" is some typical 1950s creature feature entertainment with a lot of routine elements to the story. But whilst some might enjoy it having watched it back as a child and others because it features an appearance from Clint Eastwood before he was famous, for me it is the effects, especially those of super sized animals and insects, which impress me.