Misnomers aren’t uncommon when it comes to click-bait. I’ve fallen victim more than a few times. But such misdirection is probably as old as humanity, and is perhaps part of consciousness itself. (Some birds are known to practice deception, as are some other primates.) Earth Vs. the Spider is drive-in-bait as a title. In the 1958 horror-sci fi movie (also titled The Spider), the danger isn’t really to the earth but to one small town. There is, however, a giant spider and somehow it’s not as scary as the real thing can be, writ small. Occasionally, such as when a spider comes out into the open in the house, I ponder why this is such a deep-seated human fear. I know spiders are beneficial to the ecosystem and that they pose very little danger, at least in places where I’ve lived. So why are they so scary?
Scientists, including those of the mind, have proposed looking to our primate cousins for an answer. They too are afraid of spiders, and it’s posited that since primates climb trees to escape danger and that spiders also climb, the phobia is hardwired. For me it’s only certain body-plans that are scary. I don’t mind the cute little jumping spiders that get in around the windows. They don’t seem out to hurt anybody. It’s the kind with long, grasping legs that bother me. As a child I used to try to identify spiders with a picture book identification guide, but soon the guide started to scare me and I had to put it down. I wasn’t cut out to be an arachnidologist, I guess. The movie could’ve used one, however. They kept calling the spider an insect.
The unblinking advocacy of DDT was the scariest part of the film. Got a problem? Spray chemicals all over it! It gives me the same fear as when I see all those pallets of RoundUp every time I go to Lowes. That stuff is deadly to the environment, and I’m kind of attached to the environment. Spring arrived around here late this year, but it was spider season by the time I watched Earth Vs. the Spider as part of my minor quest to see the “so bad they’re good” movies. They’re also part of the history of horror. Apart from Psycho in 1960, horror was kind of on vacation for the fifties and into the late sixties. Of course, movies kept being made. It’s just that they couldn’t be taken seriously. And even though drive-ins seem to be extinct, I still fall for drive-in bait from time to time. Even when watching alone.