One in a five-film series of reimaginings of cult "creature features," produced for cable and masterminded by special effects artist Stan Winston and Lou Arkoff, the son of exploitation pioneer Samuel Z. Arkoff. Where the original EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958) pitted high school kids against a giant arachnid, Scott Ziehl's retro-look picture tells the sad tale of a comic book-besotted security guard who discovers that acquiring super spider powers doesn't make you Spider-Man. Quentin Kemmer (Devon Gummersall) lives in a crummy building, gets bullied by the thugs on the street corner, has an unrequited crush on pretty neighbor Stephanie (Amelia Heinle) and doesn't much like his job as an unarmed security guard at the Bio Chemco lab. The bright spot in his gray life is The Arachnid Avenger, an eight-limbed superhero whose comic book exploits he follows religiously. Maybe that's why he has a sneaking affection for the spiders Bio Chemco's science geeks are studying... or maybe it's just that Quentin's a soft-hearted guy. But everything changes the day thieves break into the lab and kill several researchers, Quentin's pal Nick (Mario Rocuzzo) and a cop whose volatile partner, Officer Williams (Christopher Cousins) decides it's all Quentin's fault. Quentin impulsively shoots himself full of experimental spider serum, and soon finds himself strong, able to exude spider-silk cables from his chest and prey to a powerful hunger. Quentin uses his new powers to rescue Stephanie from the nortorious Midtown Murderer (Randall Huber) who's been terrorizing the city, but his other attempts to be a hero don't work out so well, and he's horrified to find himself mutating into something ugly and viciously unpredictable. Meanwhile, veteran detective Jack Grillo (Dan Aykroyd) has a hunch that there's something strange going on, and starts investigating everyone who had anything to do with the Bio Chemco break-in. With its self-consciously set-bound look and its stylized lighting, this anti-Spider-Man tale's camp appeal greatly exceeds its scare quotient. Gummersall is an appealing lead, but the man-bug effects are a little too goofy for their own good.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: One in a five-film series of reimaginings of cult "creature features," produced for cable and masterminded by special effects artist Stan Winston and Lou Arkoff, the son of exploitation pioneer Samuel Z. Arkoff. Where the original EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (195… (more)