PLOT-A brainy college girl attains super powers (and an enhanced libido) after being bitten by a genetically altered spider.
VIOLENCE-Comical ass-whooping, and a gross squashed spider.
SEX/NUDITY-The requisite softcore you'd expect from a Seduction Cinema release, only more "tasteful" (and somewhat toned down) compared to what was shown in their past "erotic parodies". Both hetero and lesbo love scenes are shown.
WHY I WATCHED IT-I've been a fan of Seduction Cinema's films for almost 5 years now, and the trailer for this one really intrigued me. I'll see any movie that Darian Caine has a role in, as she is without a doubt one of my favorite indie actors. And with a script written by Tery West and John Fedele, I don't see how you could go wrong. They are 2 of the funniest comedy writers around.
THE DOPE-In the hands of another director, SPIDERBABE may well have been as good a spoof as PLAYMATE OF THE APES or LORD OF THE G STRINGS. However, Johnny Crash took a classic, hilarious Seduction Cinema script and dropped the ball by making a serious, slick production that looks great but feels awkward and conflicted. A major reason their "erotic parodies" worked so well in the past was because of the way the material was presented. Crash's SPIDERBABE would be awesome if it wasn't a comedy at all, but rather a straight-forward superhero movie. I was particularly bothered by the boring, one-dimensional role given to Darian Caine. You wouldn't put Jim Carrey in a comedy and tell him to sit there and be normal. Caine is one of the most gifted physical comedy actors indie film has to offer, and was practically invisible here.
The acting, effects, music, and technical aspects are all superb and high quality...probably the nicest a SC film has ever looked. Misty Mundae is perfect as the hero, but it's Julian Wells who steals the show in a dual performance that mirrors Willem Dafoe's in the Sam Raimi version of SPIDERMAN. She brings the energy, the gusto, and the humor that is crucial to b-movie acting. She's been awesome in everything I've seen her in so far.
The script for SPIDERBABE is right on the money, filled with the kind of jokes you'd expect from West and Fedele. However, Crash's presentation just doesn't work together with this style of comedy, and things seem very uneven as a result. I would have preferred a keyed-up, goofier, sillier production like SC classics of the past (such as GLADIATOR EROTICUS and EROTIC WITCH) to what I got with SPIDERBABE. There is talent running all through this thing, it just didn't meld together right. If Seduction Cinema is looking to move away from comedy and into Cinemax territory, then they are on the right track. However, if they are looking to please longtime fans, I would suggest they let Johnny Crash go make the serious fare and bring folks like West, Fedele, and John Bacchus back to do erotic spoofs the way they should be done.
MEMORABLE SCENES-Michael R. Thomas once again gets the biggest laugh from me. Playing the scientist who made the super spider, he exclaims, "MOTHER FUCKER!" when he realizes the radioactive arachnid has escaped from its protective cage.
NOTES-I reviewed the R-rated version of SPIDERBABE. The uncut version is available via mail order from Seduction Cinema, and features longer sex scenes.

(November 2003) 1