“My strongest memory as a child was that my friends and I would watch these creature features and we would mock them and make fun of them, but then that night none of us could sleep because we were scared. That was always the brilliance of them, on one hand it’s silly and fun, but on another level it actually does frighten you. So when we sat down to reinvent the genre, we said, ‘How do we make it viable today?’ And the trick was walking that line between the comedy and the scares.”
“I didn’t have any scenes with the real spiders, but I’ve held them a couple of times. They were on the set once. I didn’t think I was really afraid of spiders until I had this big tarantula climbing up my arm and it went [hisses], threw up its legs, and I was like, ‘Take it off me. Take it off me!’ So at that point my calm exterior crumbled.”
“I have a normal, healthy, primal human fear of spiders. No phobia or anything. Definitely if I ran into a tarantula in the wild, I’m going to run the other way, but in a controlled environment with a wrangler, it’s a piece of cake. But I had to learn what all the spiders do. There’s the trap door spider that pops up from the ground and snatches his prey. There’s the orb weaver, who shoots and spins webs and there’s the jumping spider, which I think is the coolest of all. You’ve got a little tiny spider and he can jump 25 feet away. So imagine that really strong creature the size of an Astro Minivan. That’s kind of scary and freaky.”
“Our director, Ellory, was really strict on wanting all the spiders to actually come from Nature and to look and behave as they do in Nature. So the way that they attack and their body structures are absolutely one hundred percent accurate. The next stage was adding character to them, and that’s when we went from the real to the unreal, where suddenly we had to make them either dizzy, or drunk, or angry or pissed off. That’s when the animators took everything that they had learned and threw it out of the window, because we didn’t want to get humor out of cheesy effects, we wanted the effects to look as good as anything we’d seen before, but let the humor come out of the behavior of those well made effects.
“I think the most important thing is that the audience really care for these characters, and they feel the suspense of their lives in jeopardy, and then they can have fun with the humor aspect.”
“I love the movie Them. I remember seeing it as a kid and it was really scary. But now, as an adult, you can see the campy quality to it and the cheesy special effects. What even scared me more as a kid was psychological Horror films like Dress to Kill with Michael Caine. I remember seeing that as a kid, and when he’s got the wig on and the smeared makeup and he turns around and says, ‘I’m Jennifer,’ it freaked me out and I couldn’t sleep for a week. I said, ‘I’m sticking with giant moths!’”