Spider Baby

Spider BabySpider Baby (aka, Cannibal Orgy, 1968) is one of those cult horror movies that nearly defies description. And yet, here I go, describing my brains out like I know what I’m doing…

Lon Chaney, Jr. plays Bruno, a kind but alcoholic-puffy chauffeur/caretaker for an unusual family of young sister cannibals and their freaky brother who can only communicate by grunting, appears to be mentally-handicapped, and should probably be under the care and guidance of, say, a traveling circus. I say unusual because it’s just not right for these girls to not be in school and to run around barefoot all the time. There’s dog doo on the ground, people.

Spider BabyThe Merrye Family, living in a mansion that looks like it was decorated by a vampire and is barely standing, are known for in-breeding and their culinary tastes. One probably relates to the other.

One of the sisters is obsessed with spiders and fancies herself one, “stinging” people with butcher knives. The other kisses the corpse of her dead father good night before bed time. (He “sleeps” in a closet.) I need to say it: ick.

Spider BabyImagine the fun when relatives show up with a lawyer to ransack what’s left of the family fortune. The best scene comes when they all sit down to a homemade dinner, consisting of dead cat, weeds, and flavorful bugs. Not like they had any way of knowing, but several aunts and uncles, in advance stages of the “Merrye Syndrome,” live in the basement and are fed whatever the girls catch/hack/sting for dinner.

But things are getting out of control, what with Ralph, the “humanity challenged” brother (the iconic Sid Haig), gettin’ all hot and bothered by his sexy pin-up aunt. (Note: It was a tactical error for her to go running away from him at night outside wearing a see-through nightie and high heels.)

Spider BabyBruno, only seeing one way to stop the madness, resorts to weapons of mass destruction (dynamite or something that rhymes with it). Seems a little extreme, but then again, I’m not the one with the regressive Merrye Syndrome. I do get itchy elbow every now and then, though. Hey – it bugs me.

As black horror cannibal comedies go, Spider Baby is weirdly tasty.

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