The Coroner's Report - Large

When you hear that a movie called Camel Spiders is coming out, you can’t help but think “Wait that doesn’t already exist?” Camel Spiders, aka wind scorpions, aka solifuges, made the front page of your nightmares during the Iraq war when images of these seemingly gigantic monstrosities were e-mailed around the world.

The arachnids, which are not actually spiders, were rumored to run at speeds surpassing 30 miles per hour, regularly chasing down military Humvees, and said to be capable of leaping great distances, say, from the ground to your face. Their bite was rumored to be fatal and their size seemingly ranged up to two feet.

Much of this is wildly inaccurate and stems from a photograph of two solifuges which were stuck to each other and held in the foreground of the photo, making them appear huge. In actuality, this nightmare fuel only measures six inches for the head and body sections, which is five and a half god damn too many inches. Anyway, Jim Wynorski made a movie about these things, and it’s not good.

Kills

The kill count here was surprisingly high, with at least sixteen dead on-screen and another seven or more implied.

Ills

Basically the camel spiders kill the same way, every time. They jump on someone, then we see a CGI burst of blood, and that’s it. There were a few fun ones, one including a decapitation and another where a guy gets ripped to pieces.

Lust

There is a hot red head, but there is almost zero risk of popping an awkward boner during this one.

Learning

Stupid kids who don’t listen get adults killed.

Review

The best thing about Camel Spiders is that it says “Roger Corman Presents” on the box, so at least he got some money out of this thing. I was hoping for a great, fun, stupid movie and what I got was mostly the latter without much of the former. The second best part is that the guy on the cover kind of looks like horror screen writer Todd Farmer, if he were being killed by camel spiders.

Speaking of the cover, I take issue with the fact that it says “they really get under your skin” as the tagline, considering that they don’t. Only one already dead corpse has a spider get under his skin.

The film starts off in Iraq where soldiers armed with battery powered airsoft guns, some with visible orange paint still on them, face off against insurgents with the same airsoft guns – low budget all the way. It’s almost cute in its simplicity, but not really. We never get an explanation why the camel spiders vary in size from a few inches to several feet, but apparently they do and hitch a ride to America via the dead soldier.

Once stateside, a car accident releases the beasts into the surrounding area and some hell breaks loose. Not quite all of hell, but some.

Despite the film acknowledging several times that the camel spiders aren’t actually spiders, at one point they do spin a web that entangles a pair of people, despite solifugae not being able to do this. In fact, the film quite often has things happen in ways that aren’t real.

For example, when transporting weapons, the military doesn’t ship loaded assault rifles. They would be empty. Here, not only are the rifles loaded, but they’re full of magic bullets in what is easily the most blatant example of “no reloading” that’s ever existed in a movie. There is not a single reloading sequence anywhere in the film. They don’t even have bullets, yet they manage to shoot non-stop for 45 solid minutes.

I’m also pretty sure that camel spiders don’t subscribe to Soldier of Fortune magazine and thus are not capable of “trying some sort of Pincer move.” They’re just running around like bugs, dude. Also, you do not need to “give ‘em some cover” when people are running away from spiders. Covering fire is meant to make your enemy take cover and get out of the way of the bullets. Spiders, or scorpions, do not know what bullets are and do not know to hide behind stuff when you shoot at them.

Several times in the story someone is heard to say “We can’t help him,” which they often remark well ahead of their death and then just watch him get murdered. They easily could have helped, rather than just standing around.

Camel Spiders starts off by following two groups – one, the soldiers and the civilians with them, and two, a group of young couples. I recommend not getting attached to the young couples, seeing as how the film forgets about them and you never find out what happened to the surviving ones.

The flick is directed by Jim Wynorski who has almost as many aliases as he does directing credits. That is generally a bad sign, since you go by an alias when you don’t want people to know you worked on a film. I’m not sure why Wynorski would want to hide his groundbreaking work on Cleavagefield or The Hills Have Thighs, though. It seems Wynorski has spent the last two decades paying the bills by directing soft-core porn, so he’s at least living my dream.

In what is an obvious SyFy style movie, Camel Spiders had a strong premise in a grotesque villain, but virtually all good will is lost. I was actually on board and kind of enjoying the film for about 45 minutes, despite how silly and bad it was. Someone slammed the brakes hard though, as the last 50 minutes ground by slowly, destroying any interest I had in the film. This is one to watch only if you’re in the mood to mock it while drunk and/or tripping balls.


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