Like several movies in this countdown this was one I thought I had seen, but turns out I hadn't.
I was pretty sure I had seen Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told back in the 1990's when it had a rediscovery partially fueled by Quentin Tarantino's fondness for the movie. I definitely knew the theme song by Lon Chaney Jr., but maybe I was just getting the movie confused in my head with this moment from Father Ted?
(Just kidding. I just wanted an excuse to post that clip.)
But when I started to watch Spider Baby during a recent episode of Creature Features, I didn't recognize anything past the opening credits, and believe me, the movie is definitely memorable. It's like if Freaks and The Old Dark House had a baby...a SPIDER baby.
(By the way, that episode of Creature Features is worth watching for the interview with Beverly Washburn, who plays Elizabeth in Spider Baby, but don't watch the movie via that episode; big chunks of the film are edited out for time.)
Anyway yeah, Spider Baby is the best kind of nuts, with Lon Chaney Jr. giving a truly heartfelt performance, Carol Ohmart inexplicably spending the second half of the movie wandering around in lingerie, and Sid Haig dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy. But the standout is really Quinn Redeker, as the hopelessly optimistic Uncle Peter. (Did you know Redecker eventually went on to win an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for The Deer Hunter? That and other fun facts can be had at the official Spider Baby website.)
Spider Baby is one of those movie that can be streamed in multiple places, most for free, including YouTube (see below). Prints vary in quality, so choose wisely. And if you can, try and find a DVD copy, which includes commentary, and making of shorts.