Friday, October 12, 2012


TARANTULA is one of my favorite 1950s giant-monster-on-the-loose science fiction films. Directed by the legendary sf auteur Jack Arnold and produced by Universal (my favorite studio), this low-budget film stars genre icon John Agar, the lovely Mara Corday and Leo G. Carroll as the doomed scientist who inadvertently creates the giant monster. Clint Eastwood appears as a jet fighter pilot in the films' climax.
I first saw TARANTULA on the late night "Project Terror" broadcast that was on Channel 12 out of San Antonio on Friday nights beginning at 10:30 p.m. Back in the 1960s, if you had "cable" television in Austin, it meant that you could get the San Antonio channels in addition to the Austin television stations. I didn't have cable but my buddy Blake Brown did. I used to spend the night at his house on Fridays just to be able to watch "Project Terror". His mom would fix us two huge mixing bowls of dip, one of queso, one of guacamole along with a giant bag of Fritos. We'd scarf this down while watching the first feature on PT. Then, during commercials before the second feature started at midnight, we'd dash to his kitchen and make giant peanut-butter and strawberry preserves sandwiches along with tall glasses of ice cold milk.
Watching late night horror movies at Blake's house is one of my favorite boyhood memories. I've got TARANTULA on DVD and I've watched it once or twice in the last few years. I still enjoy it but I'd give anything to be able to see it again the way I first saw it.

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