Jack Hill – Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told [+Extras] (1964)

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‘Spider Baby’ is a wonderfully inventive and original b-grade movie full of mad fun. Writer/director Jack Hill began as a Roger Corman protege, co-writing ‘The Terror’ and also working on Coppola’s underrated ‘Dementia 13’, before striking out on his own with ‘Spider Baby’, a movie which became embroiled in a legal dispute and took four years to get released. Hill went on to direct Pam Grier movies and the trash classic ‘Switchblade Sisters’ in the Seventies, but it’s arguable whether he ever surpassed this cult favourite. Horror legend Lon Chaney, Jr stars with a very thoughtful performance(!), and ‘Dementia 13’s Mary Mitchel and Karl Schanzer, and ‘The House On Haunted Hill’s Carol Ohmart are among the supporting cast, but the real stars are newcomers Jill Banner as the bewitching Virginia, and the remarkable Sid Haig as the unforgettable Ralph. Banner went on to appear in the dazzling ‘The President’s Analyst’ before her untimely death, while Haig’s ongoing career included several movies with Jack Hill, including blaxsploitation classic ‘Coffy’, and Lucas’ ‘THX 1138’. ‘Spider Baby’ is a brilliant example of what can be achieved on a small budget with some originality and willingness to take risks.

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“The Hatching of Spider Baby” (32 min featurette)

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“Spider Stravinsky: The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein” (11 min featurette)

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“The Merrye House Revisited” (8 min featurette)

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Alternate Opening Title Sequence (“Cannibal Orgy”)

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