Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

kingdom of the spiders poster 1977 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Goofy, fun movie

Jaws rip-off

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Kingdom of the Spiders

Studio:  Dimension Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movies

Release Date(s):  November 23, 1977

MPAA Rating:  PG

kingdom of spiders william shatner tarantulas


A wave of tarantulas searching for food is spreading across the land near the town of Camp Verde, Arizona. With their food supply destroyed by pesticides and farming, the tarantulas are massing and beginning to kill.  The local veterinarian Robert “Rack” Hansen (William Shatner) and a spider researcher Diane Ashley (Tiffany Bowling) are called in by a local farmer (Woody Strode), and it is up to them to warn the people who are in the path of the killers.  The town mayor (Roy Engel) is pushing the annual county fair which the town needs to survive, and the problem might grow with tourists expected in the area. Can the tarantulas be stopped?

kingdom of the spiders woman shoots tarantula off hand altovise davis

What I learned from Kingdom of the Spiders: A gun is not a good spider remover

Directed by John “Bud” Cardos, Kingdom of the Spiders is a horror “animal attacks” B-Movie.   The movie gained a cult following with repeated lake night showings, and William Shatner popularity with the return of Star Trek helping boost the film’s recognition.

Spiders are always a good subject, and animal attack movies are fun.  I can remember this movie being on all the time on the late night channels.  Without cable, you watched whatever horror you could…and a schlocky killer tarantula movies like Kingdom of the Spiders was one of the better B-Movies you could get caught watching…plus, it is primo over-the-top Shatner through the whole movie.

kingdom of the spiders girl tarantulas bed

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said “No more tarantulas jumping on the bed!”

The film is a pretty blatant rip-off of Jaws but also has a lot of Night of the Living Dead in it. Jaws had a town menaced by the shark and a mayor who wanted to keep the beaches open, here you substitute spiders for the shark. The Night of the Living Dead aspect is that the main characters Shatner, Bowling, and other players in the story become trapped in a hotel with the spiders fighting to get in. I was always a bit unnerved by the end of the movie which shows the town covered in cobwebs. I don’t know if that means that the spiders have moved on or they were pretty much screwed…as a kid that unanswered question freaked me out a bit.

The picture was considered a bit controversial because it angered a lot of animal rights problems. The tarantulas used were real (tarantula bites aren’t as harmful as movies would have you believe, but they do cause itching from their course hair). Real tarantulas became a lot of dead tarantulas since the goal of the people were to kill the tarantulas. You can see them getting run over by cars and crushed by people as they run. At $10 apiece the tarantulas were not cheap either, a lot of tarantulas also were killed just by temperature changes during the filming.

kingdom of the spiders killer tarantulas

Tarantulas are cleaning up the streets!

The tarantulas just don’t seem very threatening. If twenty tarantulas are on the ground, it seems like they should just have to step on the twenty tarantulas. Instead, the characters freak out, run, trip, get covered in tarantulas and die. The tarantulas don’t seem to fast or jumpy…just step on them! That is where this movie feels ridiculous…also there can be no tarantulas in an area and then all the sudden there are tarantulas everywhere (how they magically got there is unclear).

Kingdom of the Spiders is a fun, silly movie that is more schlock than anything. It isn’t long and you don’t have to commit much time to it because it is also brainless. If it is on, it can be good for a laugh. For years there has been rumors of a Kingdom of the Spiders II, but as of yet, nothing has surface…which is probably a good thing.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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