Spider Baby was writer and director Jack Hill’s first film. He managed to pluck Lon Chaney out of alcoholic exile long enough to be his leading man. Chaney even sings over the opening credits.
The opening credits set you up to think the film is going to be a goofy comedy, a bad, goofy comedy akin to the Munsters, but the first scene disabuses you of that assumption right away. Its a bait and switch where a comedy song with silly cartoons becomes a young woman stabbing a man repeatedly in the face.
Basically we have a secluded and severely inbred family that is going to be run out of the family mansion by Mr. Schlocker a cigar smoking capitalist sporting a badly glued on Hitler mustache. Mr. Schlocker and his shapely assistant Carol stay the night, affording us a gander at Carol’s slinky lingerie as she dances in her bedroom mirror.
Then the movie sort of slides into innocuous and boring dialogue and just as you are about to nod off the pitchfork comes out! This is a nasty little film that keeps lulling you into thinking its a 60s drive in thriller without any teeth and then something insane and terrifying jumps out at you,
Rob Zombie definitely saw this before making House of 1000 corpses, and I’m thinking Richard O’Brien saw it too before writing Rocky Horror, Oh and Wes definitely saw it before he made People Under The Stairs. It has lots of Norman Bates’ taxidermied birds of prey, and a hunk of Browning’s Freaks. Its like a jigsaw puzzle piece linking past and future horror.