Cult Classics: Earth Vs. The Spider / War of the Colossal Beast (DVD)

Earth Vs. The Spider: Starring Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Eugene Persson, and Gene Roth

War of the Colossal Beast: Starring Sally Fraser, Roger Pace, Duncan ‘Dean’ Parkin, Russ Bender, and Rico Alaniz

Both films directed by Bert I. Gordon

Released by Lionsgate

GIANT MONSTERS! ARGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! You have just got to love radiation. And why not?! Man has been polluting this planet since we started building fires as cave dwellers. We like messing with stuff! As the human race prospered, we graduated from fire to atomic and nuclear materials. Now the real fun begins! With every cause there is an effect. In the Fifties that effect usually resulted in behemoths that wreck our cities and tear down everything we’ve built. These giant monster movies always end up being as much of a blast as the explosions that cause the beasties to rear their collective heads. Lionsgate Home Entertainment has seen fit to deliver to fans two of the best of that era from the vault of Samuel Z. Arkoff.

First up is 1958’s long-legged creature classic Earth Vs. The Spider.

The plot for this film is nothing short of genius! Get this: A loving father doesn’t come home one evening so his teen daughter and her boyfriend go out searching for him. After a bit they run across his empty wrecked car outside of a cave. What would you do? Call the police? You square! They do what any red-blooded teen in the Fifties would do — explore the cave! Before you know it, they’re face to fang with a huge, and I mean HUGE, spider. Barely escaping with their lives, they run to the authorities and our giant friend is brought down with copious amounts of DDT. The fun don’t stop there though as the spider’s carcass is then transported to the high school gym(!). Of course teens will be teens, and what did teens do back then? They listened to rock music and danced. Quicker than you can say “You’re jivin’ me, man” the spider’s senses start tingling due to a healthy dosage of the music and it’s up running and wrecking the town! DAMN THAT ROCK MUSIC! DAMN IT STRAIGHT TO HELL!

There is never a wrong time to watch this film. It’s one of those things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Giant bug movies have always made my skin crawl as I have an irrational fear of insects, and Earth Vs. The Spider is one of the best!

Next up are the continuing adventures of diaper king Colonel Glenn Manning in 1958’s War of the Colossal Beast.

Picking up shortly after the events of the first film in this series, The Amazing Colossal Man, we find that the giant sized Colonel survived his epic fall off of Boulder Dam and now has brain damage damage due in part to massive head trauma. So what do you do if you’re sixty feet tall and have a nasty concussion? You head to Mexico! *throws down hat and begins dancing around* Of course the United States military cannot leave well enough alone, and they set out to drug Glenn and bring him back just in time so he can escape and wreck an American city! Couldn’t we just leave him out there? Who was he pissing off? The burros?

War of the Colossal Beast is a classic in every sense of the word. The make-up created for Manning is still to this day marveled over and imitated (most recently in Dave Parker’s The Dead Hate the Living). Just about every film back then had a gimmick, and the one in this movie was that you get to see the finale in blood-curdling color! Wow! Hey, that was HUGE back then!

Once again, no special features have been included in this package. Only one thing stands as a bit curious to me, and that is why Colossal Beast wasn’t paired with Colossal Man. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Spider, but that decision just seems weird.

This double-feature package from Lionsgate is super-sized fun and a must have for every collector. If you’re a youngster that has never seen these films or a horror vet looking to relive some past glories, you cannot do better than these two!

4 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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