Plot: What’s it about?
Quentin Kemmer (Devon Gummersall) loves to read comic books, but his life is nothing like that of a superhero, to be sure. He is shunned by most of his peers, left to read his comics and daydream, though he can only do that at night. As the daytime hours are spent working as a guard at a biotech research center, though little ever happens. But he is given a chance to show some real life heroics when a band of criminals invade the compound, armed and prepared to whatever it takes to get what they’re after. As expected, Quentin is unable to prove himself as a hero and his partner is killed in the assault, leaving him an emotional mess. In a moment of weakness, he decides to inject a special serum into himself, one he knows has been the focus of much research at the center. The serum is supposed to give humans certain traits of a spider, but Quentin knows the research is incomplete, though he goes ahead with his plan, nonetheless. At first, he experiences some positive changes in himself, enhanced speed, agility, and random other attributes, but soon enough, the bad begins to creep in as well…
This is another film created under the Creature Features label, which all feature special effects work from Stan Winston Studios and were first presented on Showtime. The series turned out to be a mixed assortment, as a couple of the pictures were fun & worthwhile, but others weren’t as well made, as was the case with Earth vs. The Spider. I’ll grant the film some credits, it has great visual effects and some solid moments, but the writing seems recycled, as some sort of hybrid of The Fly and a Spiderman comic book. I suppose it is supposed to have a Saturday matinee, comic book kind of texture however, so I can’t be overly harsh in that respect. It does have some bad traits however, with a poorly chosen cast and some of the writing is not up to snuff, but even so, Earth vs. The Spider manages to be worth a look. I think fans of older sci/fi and B movies will be most interested, as that seems to be the path the film has taken, whether on purpose or not. So if those kind of films grab your attention, then give Earth vs. The Spider a look, but as I mentioned above, don’t expect a monster movie masterpiece here.
Video: How does it look?
Earth vs. The Spider is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. This is an excellent overall treatment, with no real flaws to report and if you’ve only viewed this film on cable television, then you’re in for a real treat. The print is very clean, which means no defects to hinder the presentation and of course, that means a sharp, impressive visual effort. The colors are rich and bold, flesh tones come off as natural, and black levels look stark and well defined. Not much else we could want here, another superb transfer from Columbia on this one.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is good, but don’t expect a reference level experience here. The music sounds clean and makes good use of the speakers, while the sound effects also have good presence. The first hour of the movie has a lot of subtle, eerie surround use, while the final half hour has more power, which makes for a good balance of audio presence. I have no flaws to report with the dialogue either, as vocals come across in crisp and clear form throughout. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, a selection of still photos & sketches, and a brief behind the scenes featurette.