Five Fast Facts About ARACHNOPHOBIA - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Five Fast Facts About ARACHNOPHOBIA

You don't want to look at this page if you have a fear of spiders. I forget what they call that phobia...

Released on July 18th 1990, directed by Frank Marshall and starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, Arachnophobia centers on a newly discovered Venezuelan spider which is transported to a small American town and subsequently produces a new species of deadly spiders, which begin killing the town's residents one by one. Upon release advertisers were uncertain as to whether they should market the film as a thriller or a comedy. Therefore, television spots promoting the film billed it as a "thrill-omedy".

On it's 30th anniversary, here are five fast facts about the "thrill-omedy" Arachnophobia...

1. Frank Marshall together with his wife, Kathleen Kennedy, had joined Steven Spielberg in Amblin Entertainment at the start of the 1980s. With over 40 producer credits to his name by 1990, Arachnophobia would mark Marshall's directorial debut.

Arachnophobia was also the debut film released by The Walt Disney Studios' Hollywood Pictures label, created so the studio could release more adult-oriented fare.

2. The small spiders used in Arachnophobia were Avondale spiders (Delena Cancerides) from New Zealand. Despite their fierce appearance and large size, this spider is a docile member of the crab-spider family and is, in fact, harmless to humans. Arachnophobia made use of over 300 Avondale spiders, which were guided around the set by the use of heat and cold. Non/Vibrating wires were also used to make the spiders move on cue - the spiders wouldn't cross the wire when vibrating, but the moment the vibration stopped they'd move - and furniture wax was applied to certain surfaces which the spiders refused to walk on.

Because of quarantine rules, the spiders were never allowed to return 'home' to New Zealand.

3. "Big Bob", the giant spider seen in Arachnophobia, was a species of a bird-eating tarantula which can attain a legspan of eight inches or more. These types of tarantula are not easy to handle and can give a nasty bite.

Jeff Daniels claimed that he was fine with small spiders, but stated "anyone in his right mind" would have issues with spiders as huge as Big Bob. However, John Goodman wasn't fazed. "I don't have any problem," he said. "We see each other eye to eye; well, two eyes to their 16, but we get along swell."

4. The animatronic General Spider seen at the film's climax was one of the earliest prop jobs undertaken by Jamie Hyneman, star and co-producer of MythBusters.

5. No spiders were harmed in the making of Arachnophobia.

In the scene where a book falls on a spider and squishes it, a hole cushioned with foam rubber was carved in the book to protect the spider.

Later when McLintock (John Goodman) sprays an arachnid with insecticide then squashes it with his boot, the production went to extreme measures to ensure the spiders safety. First, a dummy spider was sprayed, then Goodman donned special boots with a hollowed out sole so that the spider would just curl up inside and wait for the next take.

To create the sound effects of the spiders being squished or stepped on, Foley artists squashed potato chips and stepped on mustard packs.

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