Kiss of the Tarantula (1975)

Also known as Death Kisses and Shudder, this gender and species swapped cover version of Willard is all about Susan Bradley, a little girl who can control spiders, which she does to kill her mother — well, she was gonna kill daddy — before taking out anyone else who displeases her. Susan really loves her spiders — to the point that one scene almost suggests that she loves them biblically. Oh 1975, what a magical time you were to be alive.

The big issue is Walter, Susan’s creepy uncle and a dirty cop. He has evidence that his niece has killed at least two people, but he covers it up and even kills to protect her, all so he can get the chance to aardvark with this little arachnophile. Guess what? She’s not having it. Oh yeah — Walter was also sleeping with her mom and helping her plan to murder his own brother. Whew!

You kind of have to love a movie where a little girl kills an entire VW worth of teenagers at the drive-in. This movie checks almost all the boxes for our site: murderous children and animals gone wild. If only there was an acid sequence, a Satanic ritual and George Eastman dressed as a big hairy tarantula.

Writer and producer Daniel Cady would go on from this to write and produce several adult films, such as Soft PlacesReflections and Tomboy under the name William Dancer. He also produced the regional shocker Dream No Evil.

Director Chris Munger would also direct Black Starlet and The Year of the Communes, a documentary narrated by Rod Steiger.

You can watch the Rifftrax version of this movie on Tubi and Amazon Prime.

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