Tarantula is a 1955 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold, and starring Leo G. Carroll, John Agar, and Mara Corday. Among other things, the film is notable for the appearance of a 25-year-old Clint Eastwood in an uncredited role as a jet pilot at the end of the film.
The plot concerns a biological researcher, Professor Gerald Deemer, who is trying to prevent the food shortages which will result from the world’s expanding population. With the help of atomic science, he invents a special nutrient on which animals can live exclusively, but which causes them to grow to many times their normal size. In his laboratory, he houses several oversized rodents and, inexplicably, a Mexican red rumped tarantula.
When his researchers try the nutrient, they develop runaway acromegaly. One of them is driven mad, half destroys the lab (freeing the animals), and attacks Deemer, injecting him with the solution. The tarantula is one of the creatures freed. As a result, Deemer gradually becomes more and more deformed while the now-gigantic tarantula ravages the countryside. A sympathetic doctor, Matt Hastings, and Deemer’s female assistant, Stephanie Clayton, investigate the mystery of the clean-picked animal bones and eight-foot pools of arachnid venom, which the spider leaves behind: it also wrecks the Deemer lab. The spider is eventually destroyed, after several failed attempts, by a napalm attack launched from a jet fighter squadron.
The film’s poster, featuring a spider with two eyes instead of the normal eight, and carrying a woman in its fangs, does not represent any actual scene in the film.
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