Last night, I watched yet another “original” movie on the SyFy network. This one was called Arachnoquake.
Why Was I Watching It?
First off, how do you not watch something called Arachnoquake? The title itself is just pure genius in that it not only tells you that the film is about spiders and earthquakes but it also lets you know ahead of time that this is a movie to have fun with.
Also, I was watching because I still have good memories of watching Jersey Shore Shark Attack earlier this month.
What’s It About?
So basically, there’s an earthquake in New Orleans and a bunch of gigantic, extremely venomous albino spiders are released out into the city and the bayou. However, these aren’t just your typical giant albino spiders. No, these are giant albino spiders that can breathe fire and walk on water. It’s kinda like Treme, just with more spiders and less Steve Zahn.
In fact, there’s no Steve Zahn in this film at all! However, there is Edward Furlong, playing a greasy-haired guy who is stuck driving a school bus with a bunch of female softball players on it. Meanwhile, Furlong’s asthmatic wife (Tracey Gold) is stuck on a trolley that’s being driven by a guy played by Bug Hall. And, best of all, there’s also a really badly tempered old guy named Gramps on the trolley as well. Gramps, sad to say, doesn’t stick around for too long but for the first 30 minutes of the film, he was all that we could talk about on twitter…
Listen, if you’re going to bitch and whine about narrative logic, cheap special effects, and silly dialogue while watching a movie like Arachnoquake, you’re kinda missing the whole point of the film. This is a movie that was made to inspire people to talk back to the TV. Arachnoquake doesn’t take itself all that seriously and neither should you. I mean, yes, the spiders looked faintly ludicrous when they showed up in the bayou, chasing after a motorboat. But I suspect that was kind of the point.
Arachnoquake is a film that was made to be viewed as part of a communal experience. I understand that they actually had viewing parties down in New Orleans and I would have loved to have been at one of them! (And I think I could have gotten all sorts of beads tossed at me as well…) However, I settled for live tweeting the film on twitter and that was so much fun! I got to talk to other people who were watching and enjoying the film and even better, the film’s director and some of the performers (especially Megan Adelle) joined in on the live tweet and actually responded to those of us who were talking about their film. Not all of the comments were positive (at one point, director Griff Furst responded to one online critic with, “Blow me.”) but it was still a lot of fun and, if anything, it showed that the filmmakers knew and appreciated their audience. Both the film and the whole communal viewing experience were a lot of fun!
Finally, I think just about everyone on twitter agreed that the highlight of the film was the character of Gramps (played by Grant James). SyFy films are full of cantankerous old men but few are quite as cantankerous as Gramps. We were all a little bit sad to see Gramps die about 30 minutes into the film. Personally, I’m hoping that he returns in a sequel and gets to utter the line, “When you get to Hell, tell ‘em Gramps sent you…”
I also hope that the sequel is set during Mardi Gras.
What Did Not Work?
(Spoiler Alert. Seriously, no joke — massive spoiler ahead)
The character played by Tracy Gold spend almost the entire film having an asthma attack and, finally, during the final 15 minutes of the film, she dies as a result. I have to admit that bothered me a lot, both because I actually have asthma but also, and more importantly, because it just felt jarringly out-of-place in what had been, up to that point, a really fun B-movie.
Don’t get me wrong — it wouldn’t have bothered me if Gold had been killed as the result of being wrapped up in a spider web or something. That would have worked well with the tone of the rest of the film. But having her die as a result of not having her inhaler — it just hit too close to home for me and it was just so different in tone from the rest of the film that it briefly made it difficult for me to get back into the right B-movie mindset that’s necessary to truly enjoy a film like Arachnoquake.
“OH MY GOD! Just like me!” Moments
Well, obviously, I related to poor Tracey Gold and her asthma attack. But, beyond that, I could also relate to all the characters in the film because I hate the thought of being in an earthquake and I don’t care much for spider. Especially gigantic albino ones that breathe fire…
I will always double-check to make sure I have my inhaler before I leave the house. Also, if I ever find myself stranded in the country with a gigantic albino spider coming towards me, I hope some greasy-haired guy is there to beat it to death with a softball bat while screaming, “Now that’s how you make jambalaya!”