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.
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.
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”.
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)