Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Spider Baby (1968)

Starring Lon Chaney, Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner
Directed by Jack Hill
(actor & director credits courtesy

A loyal chauffeur has for years looked after the members of the Merrye family, who each suffer a sort of mental regression resulting in vicious behavior, but he may no longer be able to protect them after the arrival of a greedy relative after the family fortune.

Part disturbing horror film, and part wicked black comedy, this effort from writer/director Jack Hill is certainly unique and still shocking today, even though for the most part any gore is kept off screen.  Creepy black and white photography, an effective score by Ronald Stein, and a good performance by Chaney as the chauffeur help propel the film along to its predictably violent conclusion.  There's also some nice casting on display here, with Ohmart from House On Haunted Hill and 1940s comedy star Mantan Moreland as an early victim for the "Spider Baby" of the title.

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