Giant Spider Graveyard

Amazing revelation! The skeletal remains of not one but two giant spiders that rampaged through Lincoln County, Wisconsin, in the US in 1975 have been discovered by arachnid wrangler Bill Rebane. Rebane was responsible for recording the twin mega-spiders’ murderous assault on Gleason and the city of Merrill in The Giant Spider Invasion, one of last century’s many celluloid arachnophobic attacks. The 10-metre spiders were said to harken from another dimension, entering our reality through a black hole and some rather dodgy special effects.

One of the spider skeletons — in reality metal framework that had been built around a VW Beetle by a welder named Carl Pfantz in order to create an ambulatory life-size giant spider — was located in a junkyard in Gleason. Rebane apparently plans to excavate the carcasse and sell it on eBay.

Spider graveyard

Rebane had the critter made when the film’s distributor insisted that his film include creature SFX to rival the shark in Jaws, which was then in production. Commented Rebane: “We had a VW sitting at the studio and a friend of mine said ‘Can we make a spider out of that?’ Carl Pfantz figured it out.”

“Pfantz’s steel framework was covered with black Fun Fur to make the spiders both hairy and scary. The mechanical nature of the beast required seven people to be stuffed within the cramped confines of the VW floorpan – a driver and six children to work the spider’s legs.

“It was about 100 degrees under there,” Rebane said.

Giant Spider Invasion

The second, non-animated spider is being refurbished as a roadside  tourist attraction in Gleason.

The Giant Spider Invasion, filmed on a $300,000 budget, grossed $22 million according to Rebane, placing it among the top 50 grossing films of 1975, “when creature features ruled the drive-ins”.

Giant Spider Invasion poster

Inspired by all this arachno-activity, Rebane is now planning a sequel film, though whether it happens or not is dependent on funding. He wants this film, should it eventuate, to feature CGI spiders rather than mechanical ones.

“We don’t ever want to recreate the VW Beetle,” Rebane said.

Read more about the earlier film and Rebane’s current plans on his website.

  • Source: via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery

Addendum: The Trailer (Thanks, Avery)

This entry was posted in Film, Giant Monsters, It's True! Really!, News. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Giant Spider Graveyard

  1. Terry Frost says:

    I remember seeing Giant Spider Invasion in a fleapit down near Sydney’s Chinatown, on Pitt Street, might have been the Mandarin Cinema. They had a guy in a spider suit crawl out from behind the curtains beside the screen and a freaked out patron tried to beat the shit out of him before the other ushers came up and pulled the guy off him.

    They don’t make ’em like that any more.

  2. Backbrain says:

    Great story, Terry. That would have been a fantastic experience. And you’re right — they don’t make ’em like that any more. That sort of showmanship associated with film releases sort of went out with … oh, William Castle, I guess…. though I recall first seeing “The Exorcist” in a theatre in George Street where they pumped cold air up from under the seats whenever Pazuzu started to manifest his chilly presence.

  3. Avery says:

    Hilarious story Terry!! LOL!! It reminds me of when me and a friend went to see “Halloween: Resurrection” in the theater and a guy dressed as ‘Michael Myers’ came in and sat down beside us……we didn’t even notice him for at least a good 10 minutes until he started breathing heavy!!!! Well, needless to say, thank God it wasn’t the real thing or we wouldn’t still be around to talk about it. LOL!!

  4. Tone says:

    Hey Terry — It wasn’t at the Mandarin in Sydney; that was a retro house back then called Dave’s Encore. The Mando (r.i.p) was on Elizabeth Street between Liverpool and Goulburn, quite a distance from Chinatown. I can’t remember exactly what theater it played, but I remember walking past it and it had that awesome poster and signs that mentioned something about guys in spider suits. I thought it played on George Street, but you could be right about Pitt… I wish there was a bloody archive with photos of all our wonderful old cinemas. I’ve only ever managed to find a couple of pictures online. Bummer.
    Oh, yes, the film DID finally play the Mandolin (as the Mando later became known), back in the late 80s as part of a cult movie line-up.

    Thanks for sharing your story; it was very funny.

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  6. thedeafpeas says:

    This cracks me up…I grew up in Gleason…bahaha… that’s gotta be the biggest thing that ever happened there.


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  9. Pingback: THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION – A Retrospective | We Are Movie Geeks

  10. Rodrigo says:

    Good afternoon:

    Great site!
    I found it after seeing a poster about the film in Japanese version…
    There is a video in YOUTUBE in that language.
    This production was in some TV channels in my country (Brazil)_I confess I WAS ADDICTED TO THIS FILM… And wanted to produce a similar too (lol!).
    Some years ago, I changed an email to the director (BILL REBANE). He seemed to be nice/thoughtful. He told me that the only artist he had contact (who was in the film) was the actor ROBERT EASTON (he passed away last year).
    And watching the film comparing to nowadays_we can see different things (clothes/techonology); I think if another version was made – recent effects could be seen. What is good in THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION is the cast.

    Thank you,
    Rodrigo Rosa

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