Arrow Video is pleased to confirm the UK DVD and Worldwide Blu-ray premiere of Jack Hill’s landmark debut feature film, SPIDER BABY, on Monday June 17th.
Finally available on Blu-ray for the very first time anywhere in the world, this stunning version of “the maddest story ever told” features a beautifully restored high-definition transfer, a process supervised and approved by Jack Hill himself.
Starring cult superstar Sid Haig (House Of 1000 Corpses) alongside Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man, Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein) in one of his last ever on-screen roles, SPIDER BABY tells the unfathomable story of three orphaned siblings who suffer from “Merrye Syndrome” – a condition which causes them to mentally, socially, and physically regress backwards down the evolutionary ladder!
The super-deluxe dual DVD & Blu-ray edition comes LOADED with special features and bonus material, even including Hill’s 30-minute short film “The Host”. Made in 1960 and starring Sid Haig in his first ever leading role, “The Host” sees a fugitive gangster attempt to set-free a group of Spanish settlers who are held under the powers of evil.
Other extras include audio commentary with Jack Hill and Sid Haig, three new featurettes, an alternate opening sequence, extended scenes, original trailer, behind-the-scenes imagery and an in-depth collector’s booklet. A complete list of special features and full details follow the synopsis.
Keeping with what is a now a fan-favoured tradition of Arrow Video restorations, SPIDER BABY will come complete with a reversible sleeve, featuring the original 1968 artwork and a stunning new design by Graham ‘Evil Dead’ Humphries.
The credits dub this “the maddest story ever told”, a promise that’s well on the way to being fulfilled in the opening scene alone, when Virginia traps and kills a hapless deliveryman in her makeshift web. She’s one of three siblings who suffer from a unique genetic disorder that causes them to regress back to childhood, while retaining the physical strength and sexual maturity of adults.
Lon Chaney Jr gave one of his most memorable late performances as Bruno, their guardian and protector, who has managed to cover up their crimes until two distant relatives lay claim to their house. When they insist on moving in, Bruno has to cross his fingers and hope that the ‘children’ behave towards their new guests…
This was the first solo feature by Jack Hill (Coffy, Switchblade Sisters), whom Quentin Tarantino dubbed “the Howard Hawks of exploitation filmmaking”, and it remains one of his wildest and weirdest.
The director-approved special features included on the dual edition release of SPIDER BABY are as follows:
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature, available in the UK for the very first time.
– High Definition transfer of the feature approved by director Jack Hill.
– English SDH subtitles for deaf and hearing impaired.
– Audio commentary featuring Jack Hill and star Sid Haig.
– Panel discussion from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “FILM-TO-FILM” Festival, recorded September 2012, featuring Jack Hill and stars Quinn K. Redeker and Beverly Washburn.
– “The Hatching of Spider Baby” – Interviews with Jack Hill, Sid Haig, star Mary Mitchel, fan Joe Dante and more on the making of the film.
– “Spider Stravinsky: The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein” – The composer of ‘The Terror’ and ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’ among others is remembered by Harlene Stein, Jack Hill, American Cinematheque’s Chris D. and others.
– “The Merrye House Revisited” – Jack Hill revisits the original house that was used as the main location in the film.
– Alternate opening title sequence.
– Extended scene.
– Original Trailer.
– Gallery of behind-the-scenes images.
– The Host (1960) – Jack Hill’s early short film featuring Sid Haig in his first starring role.
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham ‘Evil Dead’ Humpreys.
– Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by artist and writer Stephen R. Bissette, and an extensive article re-printed from FilmFax: The Magazine of Unusual Film and Television featuring interviews with the cast and crew, illustrated with original stills and artwork.