"I knew Leo G. Carroll
Was over a barrel
When Tarantula took to the hills ..."
A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in gigantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants.
A severely deformed man stumbles through the Arizona desert, falls and dies. Dr. Matt Hastings, a doctor in a nearby small town is called in by the Sheriff to examine the body at the local mortuary.
Asked to define the cause of death, he finds himself perplexed as the deceased was someone he knew and had just seen recently whose deformity appears to be acromegaly, a distortion which takes years to reach its apparent present state.
Dr. Hastings asks to be allowed to perform an autopsy to clarify the diagnosis but the sheriff refuses, judging an autopsy unnecessary because there is no indication of foul play.
Hastings then approaches Jacobs' colleague, Dr. Gerald Deemer (Carroll), who more bluntly refuses permission, then signs Jacobs' death certificate in lieu of Hastings, with heart disease listed as the cause of death.
Bothered still by the anomaly, and also by Deemer's abruptness, Hastings later drives to Deemer's combined home and research lab in the desert far from town.
Deemer apologizes for his hostility, blaming it on his grief, then insists that Jacobs had developed acromegaly incredibly rapidly, over just four days. He cannot offer an explanation but attempts to convince Hastings this was only an anomaly, not a result of anything sinister. Hastings appears to accept this apology.
After Hasting leaves, Deemer goes to his closed lab, where huge cages contain white rabbits and mice, some of enormous size. Deemer examines each of the oversized specimens, noting when each last received an "injection", and how many each has had altogether.
Then he turns to observe a glass-fronted inset in the back wall, as a different sort of specimen slides into view inside - a tarantula bodily the size of a large dog, plus legs.
As Deemer finishes his observations of this creature, a second deformed man appears, attacks Deemer and begins destroying the lab.
During this rampage the lab catches fire and the glass covering the tarantula's cage is shattered. The man grabs a hypodermic that Deemer was preparing, knocks him out and injects him with the contents.
As flames and electrical sparking rage over the lab, the arachnid escapes outdoors ...
Interestingly, Prof Deemer predicts that by the year 2000 the human population will be 3.6 billion. In fact it was almost double that at that time.
Clint Eastwood appears as the (uncredited) leader of the jet squadron that attacks the tarantula in the film's climax.
The starring spider also 'acted' in a previous film featured here on The Folly Bird: The Incredible Shrinking Man.
Did I enjoy this?
I did actually, animals in laboratories aside, obviously.
It even made me jump in one place which I have never done before when watching one of these b-movies.