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The Best Line He Ever Tossed Off

July 15, 2002|Times staff writers

In Warner Bros.' campy horror thriller "Eight Legged Freaks," opening Friday, a chemical spill causes hundreds of little spiders to mutate to the size of SUVs and wreak havoc on residents of a rural mining town.

New Zealand-born director Ellory Elkayem said the film was inspired by the classic giant-insect features of the 1950s like "Tarantula" and "Earth vs. the Spider."

"I think we all sort of realized that if you are going to bring back this genre, it's not going to work if we try and play it too straight," Elkayem said. "You see old movies like 'Tarantula' and see a giant spider walking down a freeway and you can't help but chuckle to yourself. I think we take it a little further and say, 'Let's have a whole lot of species of spider, not just one. Do a 'Jurassic Park' of spiders."

The arachnid film stars David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Doug E. Doug and Scarlett Johansson, but the real stars are the computer-generated spiders that include orb weavers who wrap their prey in cocoons, jumping spiders that can leap 50 times their body length and trap-door spiders that come up out of the ground and snatch their prey.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 16, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 81 words Type of Material: Correction
"Eight Legged Freaks"--An In the Know item in Monday's Calendar gave the wrong release date for "Eight Legged Freaks." The film will open Wednesday.

How "Eight Legged Freaks" got its title is a story in itself.

The film was initially going to be called "Arach Attack," Elkayem said, "but the studio wasn't really comfortable with 'Arach Attack' because it sounded a little like 'Iraq Attack,' so we had to change it."

Then, someone recalled a scene where Arquette, holding a shotgun in one hand and a cell phone in the other, is scrambling up a radio tower as the spiders are climbing after him. He looks down and yells, "Get back you eight-legged freaks!"

The line was ad-libbed by Arquette, the director said. A line that wasn't in the script ended up as the title of the movie.

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