Earth vs. the Spider is a 2001 sci-fi horror/action television film directed by Scott Ziehl (Demon Hunter) for producers Stan Winston, Colleen Camp and Lou Arkoff, son Samuel Z. Arkoff. The movie stars Dan Aykroyd, Devon Gummersall, Amelia Heinle, Theresa Russell, Christopher Cousins, Mario Roccuzzo and John Cho.
It is part of a series of films made for cable and satellite TV that paid ‘tribute’ to the films of American International Pictures. The films in this ‘tribute’ series reused the titles of old American International Pictures films, but confusingly – and misleadingly – are not remakes of the earlier films.
The character Quentin Kemmer is named after Ed Kemmer, star of Bert I. Gordon’s original 1950s Earth vs. the Spider.
Quentin (Gummersall), a shy, obsessive ‘Arachnid Avenger’ comic book fan injects himself with a serum from a lab where they are experimenting on spiders. At first, he develops minor abilities such as increased strength, which allows him to fight local criminals and bullies, thus living out his dream of being a superhero, and impressing his attractive next-door neighbour (Heinle).
Things start to get odder when he is able to shoot webs out of his abdomen. Then he loses control over the force with which he applies his increasingly deadly abilities, as well as his judgment to discern between criminals and jokester.
His dream becomes a nightmare when he begins to change, he’s in constant pain, and he develops a nearly insatiable hunger. A detective (Akroyd) with a traumatized alcoholic wife (Russell) begins investigating when bodies covered in cobwebs and spider venom start piling up…
“The picture has a camp, comic book feel and at times it’s difficult to tell whether this is consciously supposed to be an intelligent spoof or if director Scott Ziehl really believes he’s making a serious horror movie. The special effects are better than you’d expect and the acting decent, though you can’t help but feel for Aykroyd, having to turn his hand to such low profile work.” Movie Gazette
“I wanted to like a modern update of the original film. New special effects, more modern plot and even a hint of humor. Instead, they gave us a Fly rip-off called something else. If you like The Fly – either version, really – watch that movie. This is a pale imitation wrapped up in a pale imitation of Spider-Man.” Mondo Bizarro Cinema