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Earth vs the Spider              War of the Colossal Beast

Directed by Bert I. Gordon
USA 1958

Samuel Z Arkoff was born in the Midwest to the parents of Russian and Latvian immigrants. Opportunistic dreams of Hollywood mogul-dom had him borrow $3000 and with a partner start the American Releasing Corporation which came to signify itself with an infamous string of pragmatic 50's B-films. Along with producer/director of low-grade sci-fi films and simple rear-projection enlargements special effects man, Bert I. Gordon - what we have in this DVD package are quintessential examples of two of cinema's colossal (yes 'Colossal') low points, but something about them is attractive, simply beyond their imperfections. I admit to having a big soft spot for these low-grade productions which always represented a kind of innocence to me. Perhaps it reminds me of my childhood, watching films like these on Saturday afternoons and reminiscing of my own wide-eyed excitement. I'm only disappointed that the more polished 'The Amazing Colossal Man' is not available yet on DVD.

Gary W. Tooze

  

This is attempting to follow in "Tarantula's" footsteps, which was released with a modicum of success just a few years earlier. It encapsulates all the 'giant-bug' movie principles - we rarely see the offending insect, but we know we must kill it. We meet the two youths who discover the spider and, of course, a skeptical sheriff coupled with a science teacher who can help unravel the mystery behind the offendingly huge arachnoid. It is weak, even by the genre's low standards, but its does have appeal with its one dimensional characters and limited plot points (huh?). Not my favorite 50's sci-fi bungle but it has its moments.

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 1958

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DVD Review: Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:12:33 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• War of the Colossal Beast on the same disc

DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

Michael tells us in email: "You indicate they are both in their original aspect ratio, 1.33:1. All info I have on these films is that EARTH was originally 1.85:1 and that BEAST was 1.66:1. Lionsgate has, in fact, trimmed these to full-frame, which is a shame considering they did nothing else for these either." (thanks Michael!)

Both films are on the same side of a dual-layered DVD without subtitles, audio bumps or extras. For tube viewing the image quality is acceptable but in closer examination it is non-progressive with visible combing in motion sequences. Aside from that I guess we should just be happy it got released as neither film would warrant the production expense of a grand package.

I think Earth vs. the Spider may have a slightly superior contrast level, and may even be moderately sharper. These are still bare bones releases relying upon the opposing film as the purchasable enticement.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Colonel Manning, the amazing 60ft colossal man from the same film, falls into the Colorado River at the end of that film from not-so-friendly military firepower. It seems now though that he survives that only to be swept down river into Mexico where he resides in the mountains and yanks trucks off the road for food. OK, the story in this one in not anything grandiose to be sure, but Bert I. Gordon's follow-up is satisfying to a point. This time around Glenn's sister still believes her brother to be alive and flies down to Mexico - soon to be followed by a military officer who didn't believe her in the first place. Well, Manning is discovered in the mountains, tricked into eating bread loaded with something that knocks him out, and then transported to Los Angeles. From there on we basically get what we got in the first film. There are some differences though. Manning is played this time by the same guy that played the giant with the bad face and eye in Gordon's The Cyclops. He has virtually no dialog. This means that it is a lot more difficult to feel for the character as one might have in the first film. This film does show some attention to the bureaucratic way in which our government works. The acting is competent and Gordon's direction fair. His special effects are again nothing so special. We have the one brief moment of color in the climax. We also get a pretty lengthy flashback taken entirely from the first film. This is a decent sequel but not as "good" as its original source material.

 Excerpt from BaronB's comments on IMdb located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 1958

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:08:21 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Earth vs. the Spider on the same disc
 

DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2006
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

Both films are on the same side of a dual-layered DVD without subtitles, audio bumps or extras. For tube viewing the image quality is acceptable but in closer examination it is non-progressive with visible combing in motion sequences. Aside from that I guess we should just be happy it got released as neither film would warrant the production expense of a grand package.

I think Earth vs. the Spider may have a slightly superior contrast level, and may even be moderately sharper. These are still bare bones releases relying upon the opposing film as the purchasable enticement.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 





 

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