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film reel image

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Lavalantula 2015 * * * Stars


2015's Lavalantula says it all in its title even though it's like a tongue twister. There's giant-arse tarantulas, mini eruptions, and well, piping lava. In fact, the giant Arachnids come out of the hot molten and um, really snap to it like sloshed cheetahs. Obviously this thing caught a whiff and piggybacked on the whole Sharknado concept (look for the brief Ian Ziering cameo).

Anyway you can always tell when a film is making fun of itself. You can also tell when a film doesn't take itself too seriously and knows it's cheesier than fried Wisconsin curds. Lavalantula is guilty on both counts, a sort of movie-within-a-movie, horror inkling that thumbs its nose at Hollywood (or um, Hollyweird cause that town deserves a beatdown LOL). I mean the lead is actually a fading action star who takes on the tarantulas in what feels like art imitating life. Heck, the producers knew what they were doing when they dug up the bodies of one Steve Guttenberg and wifey Nia Peeples. Genius.

Co-starring some of Guttenberg's Police Academy buds (Michael Winslow, Marion Ramsey, Leslie Easterbrook), Lavalantula sans build-up or any elaborate backstory via its characters. It is what it is because the special effects thankfully ain't no slouch. Within the 7-minute mark, the lit chaos spills onto the screen (and I'm talking literally). I mean what counts here I guess is the disaster factor, a kind of ham it up version of '97's Volcano on steroids. 

There are one-liners and overacting and quips and spiders breathing fire like husky dragons. One minute you're nervously laughing at the absurdity of it all. The next minute you're cringing at how violent the proceedings are and panting like the arachnophobe you might be. Bottom line: Lavalantula is just gooey, gory fun in a vodka-and-pizza slice sort of way. "Web proxy". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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