More than 45,000 species of spiders roam our world, varying in size from the Somoan Moss Spider, 0.11” long, to the South American Goliath Birdeater, a tarantula with a leg span of one foot. The spider’s representation in cinema has evolved over time and ranges in its severity and size. Initially towering over victims on screen in ‘50s sci-fi horror B-movies, it wasn’t until 1990 when realistic practical effects, comedy, and horror were interlaced into the production with Frank Marshall’s Arachnophobia, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary over the weekend.
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In the annals of genre cinema, Arachnophobia is a slightly strange case. The feature directorial debut of Frank Marshall – co-founder of Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy – it arrived in theaters on July 18th, 1990, as the first title released beneath Disney’s Hollywood Pictures banner, which was founded so the studio could unveil more adult-oriented fare. Arachnophobia received solid reviews, was a modest box office hit – placing #3 behind Ghost and Die Harder before raking in $55 million total on a budget of $22 mil – and became a VHS staple for an entire generation of ‘90s kids. Ask most folks in their mid-30s these days, and they can cite whole scenes involving the picture’s practically rendered poisonous arachnids that scared the bejeezus out of them, doing for popcorn bowls what Psycho did for showers.
Still – thanks to format changeovers and market demand – Arachnophobia has also become something of home video relic. There’s an OOP bargain bin Blu-ray you can snag for a few bucks on Amazon, and a decent HD stream available at the same mega retailer. Nevertheless, its omnipresence somehow seemed to skip a generation, remaining in those Gen Xers’ nightmares, while the other scary classics Marshall produced with Spielberg (namely: Poltergeist and Gremlins) endured and solidified themselves in the Millennial pop culture vernacular. Perhaps it was simply due to iconography, as ghostly girls and green demons were burned into memory much easier than simple spiders. Or maybe the title of the film itself became an odd bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, as legions of potential movie-watchers steered clear since spiders creep people out on the regular during their everyday existences.
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Attention, spider-fans: Frank Marshall‘s creepy-crawly horror-comedy Arachnophobia is getting a reboot at Amblin Entertainment, with The Conjuring‘s James Wan producing.
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Disney just announced that 30 of their classic movies, from animation to live action films produced by their subsidiaries, are all coming to Blu-ray by the end of 2012. Among the highlights are Adventures in Babysitting, Pete’s Dragon, Ed Wood, Pocahontas, Arachnophobia, Newsies, The Absent-Minded Professor, High Fidelity, The Aristocats, Dick Tracy, Sister Act, Evita, Father of the Bride, Ransom, The Color of Money and Cocktail.
For a full list check after the jump. Read More »