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543 Ratings

Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told

Directed by Jack Hill
United States, 1967
Comedy, Drama, Horror


In a dilapidated rural mansion, the last generation of the degenerate, inbred Merrye family lives with the inherited curse of a disease that causes them to mentally regress from the age of 10 or so on as they physically develop.

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Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told Directed by Jack Hill
It may play as surface level creepy and kooky on first viewing, but keep looking and keep thinking about it. Be sure not to miss the baby doll crucified to a spider web hanging on the wall in the film’s most classically exploitative sequence. In the Merrye House, the cobwebs and stuffed owls and all the other trappings of cheap B-horror are just that, smoke and mirrors that hide the film’s real terror — the vengeful specters of teen angst come to life, every suburban parents worst nightmare.
December 21, 2017
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It is when these visitors decide to spend the night that Spider Baby takes its superficial shape as a foreboding night of terror—this looks to be, for all intents and purposes, a “scary movie.” But this is also when Hill moves the film along some unanticipated turns, making it the truly exceptional work that it is.
January 24, 2017
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Director Hill brings a wide-eyed excitement to the film, luxuriating in every moment of pollution, every opportunity for vileness of behavior or of character and leads his actors, especially a young Sid Haig as a mute priapic, to performances of disarming naturalism, disconcertingly in contrast to the fantastic elements of plot and details of imagery that threaten to drown out any sense from the film.
October 23, 2015
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