Having grown up on Roger Corman’s adaptations of the classic Edgar Allan Poe stories, I was pretty psyched to see his name attached to “Camel Spiders”. Today I sat down to check this flick out with big hopes for some classic B-movie cheese; what I got was bad CGI and heartburn.
This movie begins with a firefight between some American soldiers (led by Brian Krause of “Sleepwalkers” and “Charmed” fame) and some Taliban fighters in the deserts of Afghanistan. All of a sudden, during the middle of an everyday gun-fight, out come the camel spiders to drag away and kill the Taliban soldiers while the Americans try to piece together what went on.
Next, a wounded Captain Sturges (Krause) gets shipped back to Arizona along with the body of a fellow soldier. Little does the Captain know that a few of those nasty bugs have hitched a ride inside of the very corpse that is on its way back to the U.S.A. (Sound familiar “Arachnophobia” fans?); so let the baby spider-making begin.
Since this one is pretty thin on plot, let me sum it all up here: A small town gets infested with tons of deadly camel spiders that jump on peopleâ€™s faces and make big CGI gushes of blood. Oh, and donâ€™t forget to add in the teenagers who just want to party and the hick sheriff played by C.Thomas Howell (Talk about someone who is not aging well â€“ Stay gold, Ponyboy.) In the end, there are big explosions, in the form of a military airstrike, to save the day and those who havenâ€™t been eaten are happy.
The one person whoâ€™s not left happy is the viewer. This movie lacks the fun that I look for in a B-movie. What Iâ€™ve always loved about most of Cormanâ€™s movies is that they donâ€™t seem to take themselves seriously; most are cheesy movies with bad effects, worse acting and questionable plots, but thatâ€™s okay; they’re meant to be that way and thatâ€™s what makes them fun! Unfortunately I get the feeling that â€œCamel Spidersâ€ was meant to be taken seriously and if so, it just doesnâ€™t work.
Entertainment company Shout! Factory is currently releasing a series of DVD’s entitled “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics”. Roger Corman is a veritable God in the industry, having been involved in such classics as “Piranha”, the “Slumber Party Massacre” series and a personal favorite of mine, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”. Mr. Corman has spent the better part of fifty years in a genre that has been near and dear to so many hearts (like mine) and he deserves to have a collection of his greatest films re-released to a new generation. However, I have a gut-feeling that “Camel Spiders” will not be a part of that collection.