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Spider Baby
Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told / The Liver Eaters / Attack of the Liver Eaters / Cannibal Orgy, or The Maddest Story Ever Told

USA 1968
produced by
Gil Lasky, Paul Monka for Lasky-Monka
directed by Jack Hill
starring Lon Chaney jr, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner, Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Sid Haig, Mary Mitchel, Karl Schanzer, Mantan Moreland, Carolyn Cooper, Joan Keller
written by Jack Hill, music by Ronald Stein, title song sung by Lon Chaney jr

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The members of the Merrye-family are suffering from that incredibly rare Merrye-syndrome (named after the family because only the Merryes suffer from that syndrome to begin with), which causes their mental faculties to deteriorate with progressing age, in other words they are retreating to an infantile state of mind, but since they have the bodies of adults, this means they are highly dangerous.

So Uncle Ned and Aunt Martha have to be locked away in the cellar for good, Ralph (Sid Haig), the oldest of the siblings, is little more than a drooling and possibly danerous imbecile, Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) is quite simply a psycho in a sheep's skin, while Virginia (Jill Banner) likes nothing better than to play spider with unsuspecting victims (including Mantan Moreland turning in a fun performance as messenger) - which means she lures them into a trap than cuts them up. It is only up to their driver Bruno (Lon Chaney jr), who shows some honest love for the kids, that they don't get copmpletely out of control.

Then though, normalcy enters the bizarre world of the Merryes when their relatives Peter (Quinn K. Redeker) and Emily (Carol Ohmart) and social workers Schlocker (Karl Schanzer) and Anne Morris (Mary Mitchel) pay them a visit and even try to work out details for an adoption - and here's where things get complicated ... and deadly ...


This synopsis does not do justice to Spider Baby, nor, I guess, will any synopsis, because it cannot even begin to give you a feeling how bizarre the film is. To give you a feeling you have to picture two innocent looking girls (Jill Banner, Beverly Washburn) who like to slice up people, love spiders and occasionally eat spiders, Sid Haig as a bald and creepy idiot, and Lon Chaney jr as a caring father figure who reacts to any murder the kids commit with nothing more than a mild scolding. Add to that Karl Schanzer in a completely sleazy and unlikeable role, Mantan Moreland doing his thing that seems to be as fresh as it was back in the 1930's, and spiders, pretty much anywhere, and you get a rough idea about the film. And then there's Jack Hill's direction: Truth to be told, Hill is not the most imaginative of directors, but in this film he shows how he can milk a miniscule budget and make something exciting out of it.

Highest recommendation.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD