Usually I scoff at personal prologues to stuff like this - nobody cares if you love a movie because your dad showed it to you when you were seven. But in the case of Kingdom of the Spiders the film is so inextricably linked with a real world event that I can never watch the movie totally clean.
I first saw Kingdom of the Spiders, wherein William Shatner battles an army of hyper-deadly tarantulas, the night John Lennon was shot. I watched it on TV, enraptured by Captain Kirk - my personal hero - against spiders - my personal nightmare. I fell asleep in front of the TV, and was awoken by the sounds of my dad crying, having just learned that Lennon had been killed by Mark David Chapman.
Aside from that traumatic personal thing, the movie's okay! Watching now I'm sort of skeeved out by the fact that they killed so many tarantulas to make the film. I'm also less impressed by William Shatner's acting than I was as a seven year old. At the time I believed that Shatner was the greatest actor of all time, and I was a devout Star Trek fan. Some things never change. In terms of animal horror movies starring Trek alums, I may have to come down on the side of Night of the Lepus, which features DeForrest Kelley battling giant rabbits. I swear to god. To be fair, Kelley's character doesn't have a name like Shatner's - Rack Hansen.
There are some other actorly highlights in this - Tiffany Bolling, Playboy playmate and one of the kidnappers from Candy Snatchers, is in it. And Woody Strode, one of Hollywood's pioneering black actors, continues his 70s descent into character roles in the film.
If you happen to live in Austin you can actually see Kingdom of the Spiders on the big screen at this week's Terror Tuesday! Click here for more info.