Monday, August 22, 2011

Horrors Of Spider Island (1960)

As far as we know, it's an island, and there certainly is a spider. But horrors? Not really.

The movie begins with a series of dance auditions, but the folks holding the auditions aren't really asking the women to dance. In fact, the first woman that they do ask to dance is a ballet dancer. She tells them right up front that ballet is her area of expertise, so they ask her to dance. And she's good. But when she's finished they tell her they're not looking for ballet dancers. Odd that she's the one they wanted to see dance.

Well, several women are chosen, but their plane crashes into the ocean before they reach their destination. Apparently they all survive, though the stock footage of the plane going down makes it look like everyone was doomed. Anyway, it's been four days, and they're on a raft, hoping a boat will pass by. But guess what, they see land. So they manage to get ashore, but don't bother securing the raft. I guess they figure they'd rather die than get back in that thing and try their luck at sea.

Later they begin to scout the area. The one man in the group - Gary - finds a hammer. That proves the island is inhabitable, he deduces. Then he says, "A hammer with a long handle. It must be for the purpose of excavating some sort of metal, most probably uranium." This is the guy who hires trashy dancers. This is after several days with no food or shelter. And that's what he says. He doesn't seem all that excited about the prospect of civilization. Instead, he shows off his odd knowledge of hammers. But guess what? The island's inhabitant - the professor (where's Mary Ann?) - was finding uranium deposits. But he's dead now. They find him attached to a giant spider web. Uh-oh.

Gary soon gets bitten by the spider. Moments later he is beginning to turn into a spider himself. His transformation, however, only extends to his face and his hands. He runs off into the jungle to get accustomed to his new identity on his own. He does show up again, though, to kill Linda for some reason.

When the others find Linda's body, we get this amazing dialogue:

STUPID GIRL #1: "She's been strangled."
STUPID GIRL #2: "The spider."

Anyway, after one girl is dead and Gary is missing, two guys who work with the professor show up, and the remaining girls decide to play dress-up. Gladys says, "The boys will be surprised when they see how we dressed ourselves up in our island costumes." Indeed. And I was surprised that the girls weren't more interested in getting off the island. They're more interested in fighting over one of the men. One of the girls even professes to be in love with him. Wow, that's fast.

It's interesting too because they establish early on that the food they find in the professor's cabin will last a month. And then later one of the girls says that it's been twenty-eight days. You'd think they'd be concerned with the lack of food and the prospect of dying and all. Oh, also early on there is a scene where the girls fight over the clothes they find in the professor's cabin. Of course none of them ever wear these clothes.

Anyway, the movie ends with Gary running into quicksand. Lame. And the girls get on a boat and sail away. But they probably never got to their dancing gig. And perhaps the boat sank and they had to spend another four days on a life raft, and then starting eating each other. That's how I imagine it, anyway.

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