Saturday, October 9, 2010


Friday October 15th 8pm

(USA 1964)
Ralph, completely bald at 17 is an intellectual infant. Virginia, his sister, thinks she's a spider and catches the odd postman in a home made web. Remaining sister Elizabeth seems perfectly normal. I said "seems"... Meet the Merryes the last remnants of an old landowning family with their own aristocratic curse, a neurological condition that inflicts a galloping dementia on its sufferers from the age of 10.  Keeping the three children from the dangers of the world and the world from the dangers of the children is butler Bruno (Lon Wolfman Chaney jr. in his last significant film role), long suffering but compassionate and crushed by the knowledge that this equilibrium is about to tumble out of all stability.  A pair of greedy cousins appear to lay their claim on the family estate and they won't be turned away by a few minor grotesqueries.

Spider Baby sits somewhere in a multiple crash of Venn diagrams. Is it horror, black comedy, satire, exploitation, what? All and none. The budgetary limitations and shortfalls in the director's expertise provide a lot of creaking but there is a lot in this strange exercise to compel.  There is a real sense of creepy menace in the performances by the kids (particularly Jill Banner, pictured, 17 during production) and it extends beyond the Addams Family kookiness to suggest something disturbing about the world beyond the walls of the mansion as much as anything within them.


Yes, Milos needs his space.  he needs to host a few parties there as well as spend more time with family and host a rare exhibition of his own work. So this Friday's screening o' Spider Baby is the year's final. He suggested I might resume screenings in January so all is not lost. Watch this Space.  Instead of a Twilight Zone I'll just be running the movie and the year's season trailers so you can relive what you saw and seethe at what you missed.  So it's equally film night and party. Come one come all!

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