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Directed by Jack Arnold
USA 1955

 

This 50's sci-fi staple has all the expected clichés... from the small isolated town (Desert Rock in rural Arizona) to the skeptical Sheriff (Nestor Paiva) - from the suspicious young doctor (John Agar) linked to the ultra feminine heroine (Mara Corday). Plus where would we be without the loner experimenting professor (Leo G. Carroll) whose scientific, but well meaning, intrusion in nature's scheme produces the titled monster. The effects are better than average as the Tarantula was an actual spider manipulated on miniature sets with air jets. This is hokey of course, but it is still fabulous stuff - director Arnold, who brought us The Incredible Shrinking Man among many others, really had these B-movies nailed. The script is competent and the acting believable enough. Ohh... and yes that Jet Squadron Leader is a young Clint Eastwood. How could we not recommend this to fill space on my DVD shelves with such classics as 'This Island Earth' (where Arnold did much of the re-shooting) and 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' (1954)?

Gary Tooze

 

 Posters

Theatrical Release: December 14th, 1955

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Comparison:

Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - LEFT

2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Koch Media

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:16:54 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:20:13.517
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.91 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,915,171,415 bytes

Feature (both 1.33 + 1.78): 21,156,489,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: German (Dolby Digital 2.0) DTS-HD Master Audio German 1587 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1587 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1571 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1571 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, None English, German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Pictures Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: February 6th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 / 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,915,171,415 bytes

Feature (both 1.33 + 1.78)::

21,156,489,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Interview with Jack Arnold (26:10 in 576i)

• Super 8 version (8:14 in 1080i)

• Normal 8 version (2:16)

• German Opening (2:24)

• German Trailer (1:51)

• English Trailer (1:53)

• Gallery

Blu-ray Release Date: June 12th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Keep Case (not 'red' as in picture) inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 18

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - June 2014: This was also part of the Classic Sci-fi Ultimate Collections - both the initial and the larger ,second, one. We've added a couple of captures from it below. We, mostly, used the PAL version reviewed HERE. Like some of the UK Hammer Blu-rays (ex. The Curse of Frankenstein and 1959's The Mummy) and the German Blu-ray of Cobra Woman, Koch's 1080P of Tarantula offers two different aspect ratios. The mid to late 50's represented an ambiguous time for aspect ratios as it was usually dependant on whether the theater was equipped for the new widescreen format (see a more complete description in our This Island Earth review). So, some may have seen Tarantula theatrically in widescreen - others in the 'Academy ratio' of 1.33:1.

This, region 'B'-locked Blu-ray immediately gives the menu choice of 1.33 or 1.78:1. We have added samples below. They are of a duplicate technical transfer size (21 Gig each) and bitrate (30 Mbps). This is housed on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate for the features. They also look about the same but I tend to see more, very light, damage and marks on the widescreen for some reason. They both looks quite impressive, a bit of edge-enhancement, barely noticeable, but black levels can be quite rich and there is a tightness to the visuals - not present on SD. The information missing on the widescreen is at the top and bottom of the frame - I don't see any added to the sides. Grain textures are supported.

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1571 kbps in both original English or a German DUB. It sounds authentic with the less-effectual effects exploding with bass but the score by Herman Stein (The Incredible Shining Man - also with a big spider!, The Monolith Monsters) seems the biggest beneficiary of the lossless transfer. There are both optional English and German subtitles. The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

Koch add some extras - a 26-minute interview with Jack Arnold talking about the film, an HD-transferred Super 8 version of Tranatula for 8-minutes and a Normal 8 version for 2 1/4 minutes. We also get the 'German Opening' of Tarantula and trailers in German and English as well as an image gallery with posters, lobby cards and behind the scenes stills.

We love these 50's sci-fi and/or creature-feature Blu-rays and hope for more! This is certainly recommended to fans of the genre. We've had The Monolith Monsters and The Mole People, how about The Incredible Shining Man next?

***

 

ON THE DVD: Another above average transfer from Universal Europe. Single layered but with region-coding to flog in Europe, Middle East, Russia and Australia. The image is acceptably sharp, progressive, good contrast and there is some grain and dirt showing through. I enjoy this no-nonsense approach to DVD with a total lack of digital manipulation. No extras at all - consistent with many of the new crop of Universal PAL DVDs.

As far as the film goes - I can't extol it much more - one of my favorite of the 'B' sci-fi's. It is such a pleasure to have this in such a relatively pristine digital form - ready for a spin when the mood strikes (and it strikes at least once a year!).  

Gary W. Tooze

 





Menus

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - LEFT

2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT


 
 

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Universal (Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection) - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Universal (Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection) - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More 1.33:1 Blu-ray captures

More 1.78:1 Blu-ray captures

Box Covers

   

Distribution Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Koch Media

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 





 

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