The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

Too much rich food is bad for the diet. Too much speed is bad for the mind. Too many modern, high-fructose, Hollywood movies are bad for the movie reviewer. They encourage him to think, to wonder, just what the hell am I doing this for? That line of thought rolls right down a slippery slope, and we all know what else rolls downhill beside it.

So every once in awhile it’s good to reach back–way back for me; within living memory for most of you who walked the earth in 1975, that year of Jaws and Gerry Ford. The year director Bill Rebane (the man who brought you Monster A Go-Go) scrimped, slaved, and eventually made The Giant Spider Invasion…for $250,000. {More}

The Shadow (1994)

Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen.There are currents in the past, deep eddies in the sediment of time. They erode channels through their courses and join together to form deeper cuts, which in turn formed the modern world and all that drowns us within it. This is true for the modern concept of the superhero as much as anything else. Examining the headwaters of this genre requires us to go back “to the thrilling days of yesteryear,” as the Lone Ranger’s radio program used to say. And there are few yesteryear’s as thrilling as The Shadow‘s

We in the modern world owe the Shadow’s creators more than almost any other pre-modern superhero scribes (with the possible exception of Johnston McCulley, creator of the masked man known as Zorro). The Shadow and his contemporaries, the “masked adventures” and “mystery men” of inter-war adventure literature, afford us a remarkable opportunity to study a genre in its infancy, its key components only half-formed. In particular, the Shadow offers a peek into the roll popular demand and sheer, blind chance played in creation. Because, if not for the craziest of chances, the Shadow (as we know him) wouldn’t exist at all. {More}