Tarantula (1955) Script

What's the score, Doc? Twins. Cutest things you ever saw.

Hey, they're keeping you busy these days.

It's the desert. Gives people wonderful ideas.

Check the ship, will you? You betcha.

Hiya, Doc. Phone's been ringing like crazy for you.

Sheriff's half out of his mind.

Call him for me, will you, Josh? Yeah.

I'm ringing him, Doc. That's fine.

He's on, Doc. Thanks, Josh.

Hello, Jack. What's up?

Can you come over right away, Doc?

I hate to bother you.

I know you've been up all night, but this is important.


Doc, sure sounded worried, didn't he?

Someday, you old codger, you're going to hear something you won't like.

Are you inferring that I was listening in?


Hi, Jack. What's all the excitement about? Who's sick?

Nobody. Huh?

The boys found a man near the highway this morning.

Run over? No.

Well, then? That's why I called you, Doc.

What's it look like? Like nothing I've ever seen before.

Who is it?

Well, he has the same general build as Eric Jacobs, but I'm not sure.

I don't follow you.

There's something about his face says he's Jacobs... but maybe he ain't.

Look, Jack, I'm lost.

You remember Jacobs, don't you?

Yeah, he's the biologist. Works for Prof. Deemer.

Met him a couple of years ago.

He's over at the undertaker's. You'd better have a look.

Hi, Charlie. Hi, Charlie.

I phoned Deemer right away.

He said he'd be over to see if this is him.

You know Deemer, don't you?

Yeah. When I opened my office I went out to pay my respects.

He was polite enough... but I had the feeling I wasn't welcome, so I never went back.

Some of these big brains never learnt manners.

Here he is, Barney.

Hi, Doc. Hello, Barney.

You figure this one out and you're good.

Now you know why I'm not sure.

That's not Jacobs. This man has had the disease for years.

I saw Jacobs last month. He looked okay then.

They're in the back room, Professor.

It's Eric, all right.

He was my friend for 30 years.

You better come outside, Professor.


You all through in there? Yeah.

Leave us alone for a minute, will you, Barney?

Yeah, sure.

Professor, I have to know all about it.

Why he looks that way, why he was missing.

Sheriff, have you ever watched... a friend dying before your eyes and not been able to help?

That's the worst of it.

Being helpless.

It's particularly tough when you're a physician... and you know what's wrong with him.

And there isn't a single solitary thing you or anyone else can do.

When I saw the body, I though it was acromegalia.

But that's not possible.


The pituitary gland goes haywire, Jack.

It distorts the face, neck, hands, and feet.

I met Jacobs a couple of years ago at your place.

The sheriff saw him about a month ago. He looked normal then.

It is acromegalia.

But in every case I've ever heard of... it's taken years to produce the deformity.

I know.

The history of medicine is the history of the unusual.

Perhaps Eric had been ill for years. Who knows?

But it was only four days ago that he began to complain of muscular pains.

Neither of us thought too much about it.

These things happen as you grow older.

And the next morning he began to...

To change.

Maybe we'd better do an autopsy just to make sure.

I don't think that'll be necessary.

I was in attendance, and I signed the death certificate.

I see.

How come we found him on the desert?

Dr. Jacobs became delirious last night.

Broke out of the house and ran into the desert.

Are you certain he hadn't complained of anything before that time?

There's nothing I can add to what I've already said.

Eric had no family. I'll arrange for the funeral.

Thank you for calling me so promptly.

Goodbye, Dr. Hastings. Professor.


You heard the man. I sure did.

A young fellow like you can't stack what he knows against the professor.

The trouble is, Doc, you hate to admit you're wrong.

We all make mistakes, Jack. This isn't one of mine.


There we go.

Paul! Eric is dead. Do you hear me?

There's just you and me... and we're going to die, too.

No, Paul! Keep away from me!

I'm trying to help you. Paul!

Coco, you startled me.

So you escaped the fire?

Let me see those paws.

I'll have to do something about those burns, won't I?

Come on, Coco.

You've got that look like you swallowed the canary.

Not at all.

If there's anything a man hates it's to be told he's wrong when he knows he's right.

I knew Deemer had burnt your tail.

Listen, I'm just a country doctor, but I know what I know.

And I know acromegalia doesn't turn up in four days out of left field.


So I went to the medical library in Phoenix and read up on it.

There wasn't one single recorded case in medical history... where a malformation developed as fast as Deemer said Jacobs' did.

You mean he was lying to us? I don't know.

But I'd like to know why he was in such a hurry to bury Jacobs... and why he didn't want me to do an autopsy.

The man's an M.D. Like you. He's entitled to his opinion.

Or do you want me to charge him with confusing a country doctor?

There's nothing like the safety of prestige, is there, Sheriff?

Let's skip it.

Everything's clean and legal... and I wouldn't want you to stick your neck out for anything.

What do you want me to do?

Pinch him because I don't like the way he parts his hair?

Have you ever asked yourself what Deemer and Jacobs... were working on in their lab?

No, and I don't intend to jimmy open a window to find out, either.

Deemer's speciality is nutrient biology.

Jacobs is a leader in the same field.

Now when two big shots like that get together... and hole up in the desert, 20 miles from civilization...

I'd say they might be working on something... they're not too anxious to talk about.

You think whatever they might be doing ties in with what killed Jacobs?

I wish I knew.

Oh, oh.

Joe Burch is on the warpath again.

What'd you do this time? I forgot to tell him about Jacobs.

Well, good day, my very, very good friends.

A fine pair you turned out to be.

I practically had the paper put to bed... when I found out about Jacobs by accident.

Well, I'm sorry, Joe. It slipped my mind. What do you want to know?

Only what I haven't found out for myself.

I sneaked a look at the death certificate over at Barney's.

Got the personal dope on him out of Who's Who.

How often does this acromegalia occur, Doc?

Not very. First time I've seen it, as a matter of fact.

My dictionary says it's chronic, it doesn't mention death.

Well, death doesn't usually come from the disease itself.

It's caused by suffocation.

What do you mean, suffocation?

The tongue becomes enlarged. The throat, the thorax, the heart... everything gets pushed out of place.

What do you think Deemer's been working on out there?

That I'd like to know.

I'll hop out with Ridley, grab a couple of pictures, and see what I can find out.

By the way, Doc... how long had Jacobs been dead when our friend here remembered to call you?

Will you lay off? Eight or ten hours.

Thanks, Doc. I'll be sure to spell your name right.

As for your friend, it might just slip my mind... to support him the next time he comes up for election.

Say, that's a good idea, Jack. Him going out to Deemer's.

Joe will get him so riled up with questions, he may take to me.

If you go into the hotel, miss, they'll tell you the best way to get there.

Thank you.

I wonder if you might tell me the best way to get out to the Deemer place?

It's about... I know where it is.

Is there a bus or cab available?

Well, yes, but there won't be any buses through anymore today.

Then would you mind calling a cab for me?

I wouldn't mind it a bit. But it wouldn't do no good.

Because Jasper, you see, it's his cab.

He's out at the Bar Six and won't be back for a couple of hours.

Maybe longer.

Well, what'll I do?

Sit down and wait. That's all you can do.

Thank you.

You ain't come through here before, have you?


Didn't think I'd seen you.

You any kin to this man, Deemer?

No, I'm not.

He any kin to you? Oh, no.

I don't suppose that... I doubt it.

Me, too.

Josh, I'm expecting a call from Dan Simon.

Switch it to the Deemer place, will you?

You going out there?

Just leaving. Take her with you.

Well, you see, I was asking how to get out there, but...

Well, I wouldn't want to impose on you.

He won't mind.

No, I'd be glad to drive you.

Well, if you're sure. Are these yours?


Ain't you two going to introduce yourselves?

No. No.

Getting to be a fast world.

Think it's about time?

Dr. Matt Hastings. Stephanie Clayton. "Steve."

I like Steve.

I'm really indebted to you, Dr. Hastings, for this ride.

Or rather, I'm indebted to your friend Josh.

So am I.

I guess it's none of my business asking why you're going out to Deemer's place, but...

Why not?

I'm doing graduate work in biology.

The professor teaches it, or he did.

I knew it would happen.

Give women the vote and what do you get? Lady scientists.

Well, student so far.

You see, I wrote a paper on the nutritional aspects of expanding populations... and Prof. Jacobs read it and offered me a job for the summer.

How about a place to live?

There are a couple of nice boarding houses in Desert Rock.

Cost less than a hotel. Well, no.

I'm going to stay at the professor's.

You see, it's all part of my contract.

I'll be laboratory technician, cook, student. The whole works.

I see.

Well, it's one way of earning a master's.

And it's worth it working with people like Deemer and Prof. Jacobs.

How well did you know Eric Jacobs? I've never met him.

He just read the paper and liked it, and that was that.

He's dead.

Died yesterday morning.


Glandular condition called acromegalia.

Acromegalia? Isn't that a very rare disease?


Are you sure it was that?

No, I'm not sure at all.

He has a wonderful lab here. One of the best.

Looks like nobody's home.

There must be someone. That's Joe Burch's car over there.

Might as well.

The electric panel shorted.

And, well, you can see for yourself.

You estimated the amount of damage yet, Professor?

The greatest damage, of course, was to the work that was destroyed.

Let's get back to Jacobs.

Why did he leave... I've told you all there is.

Will you gentlemen excuse me?

One more picture.

Pat the monkey, Professor. I said that was all.

I think that ought to be enough, Joe.

Professor's had a rough couple of days. Yes. Thank you, Dr. Hastings.

Thanks for the story, Professor. I didn't mean to add to your troubles.

Come on, Ridley.

See you later, Matt. See you, Joe.

I thought I'd never get rid of them.

You must forgive an old man.

Have I met you before, miss? No.

This is Stephanie Clayton. It seems Prof. Jacobs wrote for an assistant.

She's it. Yes, Eric told me you were coming.

But I didn't expect to see a biologist that looked like you.

That was intended as a compliment.

I'm afraid I've gotten a bit rusty. Well, thank you, sir.

Well, I don't know that you'll want to stay on with all that has happened...

You're welcome to, of course.

But Eric...

I know. Dr. Hastings told me on the way out.

I see.

Well, with Eric gone, I'm alone.

I'm sure I can be of service.

I mean, if you're going to continue with your work.

Yes, indeed. For Eric's sake, if nothing else.

Wasn't Paul Lund working with you, Prof. Deemer?


Yes, he was studying for his doctorate... when I was a freshman.

I'd heard he came here. Yes, of course.

Paul Lund. No, he's not with us anymore.

Well, come now, Miss Clayton. Let me show you my lab.

Are you interested at all, Doctor? Yes, of course.

I've put all I own into this.

It's my life.

Everything that I have and care for is here.

Unfortunately, part of it has been destroyed.

I see.

What's in the vial, Professor?

A nutrient. You mean a synthetic?

A completely nonorganic food concentrate.

Medicine has lengthened the life span, and people live longer.

But the food supply remains fairly static.

World population is increasing at the rate of 25 million a year.

An overcrowded world.

That means not enough to eat.

The disease of hunger, like most diseases, well, it spreads.

There are 2 billion people in the world today.

In 1975 there will be 3 billion.

In the year 2000, there will be 3 billion 625 million.

The world may not be able to produce enough food to feed all these people.

Now perhaps you'll understand what an inexpensive nutrient will mean.

Well, not many of us look that far into the future, sir.

Our business is the future.

No man can do it on his own, of course.

You don't pull it out of your hat like a magician's rabbit.

Well, you build on what hundreds of others have learnt before you.

I thought that synthesis was impossible without a bonding agent... to hold everything together.

And we use the simplest of all: The atom.

Let me show you.

That's an isotope, isn't it? A radioactive isotope.


And that's what binds your solution? Binds it and triggers it.

Using it, Eric's dream and mine may be a reality before...

Excuse me.



It's for you, Doctor.

Thank you.

Hello? Hi, Josh.

Of course.

Call her back. Tell her I'll stop by on my way home.


Sorry to break this up.

Thanks for the tour, Professor.

Maybe one of these days you'll invite me back.

Why, yes, of course.

Professor, I...

I'm still puzzled by the speed with which Jacobs' malformation developed.

Can you explain it?

Eric is dead and he shouldn't be.

But the cause was acromegalia. Nothing else.

It seems such a deviation from the classic cases.

You're being very diplomatic, Doctor. Why don't you speak up?

Don't you think, sir, this time you might be wrong?

In this case, no.

You want to do an autopsy. Why don't you?

Well, you objected. I was upset.

Eric was not only my colleague, he was my closest friend.

You have my permission. Well, thank you, sir.

I'll let you know what I find.

And please, don't forget to invite me back?

Well, now I'll show you to your quarters. All right.

That you, Jack? How're you coming?

Be right with you.

What you got?

I'll give it to you fast, Jack. Nothing.

Nothing? You mean the professor was right?

Couldn't have been more right.

Well, how do you like that?

You make a big thing out of it, show Deemer up for maybe a murderer and then...

You want me to go ahead with the interment, Jack?

You might as well before this amateur gumshoe gets any more bright ideas.

The case is closed.

And the next time I need a doctor, I'll call one in from Phoenix.

You know, I don't think Jack's too happy about all this.

I don't blame him.

But I still can't figure it out.

Slowly, slow.

That's good.

Take your time, Steve, take your time.

We have nothing except time.

And we won't have that if we make a mistake.


Am I doing all right, Professor? Fine!

Now lift the lid onto the vial.


That's it. Now lift up the graduated glass...

and put it in the access chamber.

Well done, Steve.

Now lift up the chamber.

That's it.

Now we'll take this into the dry box... where we can handle it safely.

You're getting quite expert at this.

I don't know what I'd do without you.

Now let's see how we make out.

It's one thing to develop a formula on paper, another to make it work.

So far we've found an almost consistent instability in the material.

One batch of nutrient varies sharply from the next.

What do you want to try it on this time?

One of the baby rats?


How long before we know anything, Professor?

Well, there have been times when the instability has caused death.

I meant, if it works.

Let me show you.

You see that rabbit? Yes.

How old would you say he was?

Four months.

Look at the chart.

Six days!

Is it normal?

I ran a reflex test on him after you went to bed last night.

The only difference between him and the others... is that he's healthier and stronger.

All the same, we mustn't be in too much of a hurry.

We've got to lick this problem of instability.

Once we can control that, we're ready for the ultimate test: On humans.

There mustn't be a mistake this time.

I'll be back in a couple of hours. All right, Steve.

Science is science, but a girl must get her hair done.

You'd better hurry though, if you're going to catch that bus.

It only stops on signal, you know. I know.

Anything I can get for you? No, thanks.

We'll run those tissue tests when you come back.

Right. Have fun.

Have the prescription refilled and be sure she takes it after every meal.

Okay, Doc, but you know women. Mary will just let it sit on the shelf.

Yeah, but she'll feel better knowing it's there, won't she?

Yeah, I suppose so.

Say, when are you and me flying out for some more fishing?

It's been four or five weeks since... Excuse me, Jim.


Carry your books, miss? Thanks!

I haven't been walked to school in a long time.

Hey, you dress up our town very nicely.

If you don't look out, the Chamber of Commerce... is going to list you in their publicity with the local attractions.

Say, do you have to go right back?


Good, let's skip school. All right.

It's like an oasis.

I bring all my patients here. I'll bet.

How's this? Fine.

Not now, thanks.

How are you getting along with Deemer?

Half the time he doesn't know I'm there... and the other half he's worried I'll make a mistake.

He's quite a guy, I guess. Yes.

Has he said anything more about that assistant that left?


How's the nutrient coming along?

Well, this is the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

How long does it take an ordinary rabbit to reach full growth?

I don't know. Four or five months, I guess.

He has one there that's reached maturity in six days.

Six days?

I know it sounds unbelievable, but it's true.

It's still so new and unpredictable.

There are all sorts of things to take into account... before we can even think of experimenting on humans.

Some of the nutrient, when unstable, has even been deadly.

But we do know that it's kept animals alive that have been fed nothing else.

If I stay here much longer I'm going to miss my bus.

Who can ask for a better opening? I'm at your service, miss.

Are you sure your patients can spare you?

I'm such a good doctor, they never get sick.

Come on. Let's go. All right.

No wonder you love the desert.

It's so beautiful.

Everything that ever walked or crawled on the face of the earth... swum the depths of the ocean... soared through the sky has left its imprint here.


Did you ever wonder what piled them up like that?

Wind? Water? What?

I've never seen anything quite like it. Can we stop?


All this was once an ocean, wasn't it?

You can still find seashells if you keep your eyes open.

What's that? I...

There he is. It scared me.

I'm beginning to see now why you love it here.

Catching, huh?

I think I'll have that cigarette now.

Thank you.

You know, it must look out of this world from the air.

I'll show it to you sometime. Will you really?

What does it look like?

Like something from another life.

Serene, quiet, yet strangely evil... as if it were hiding its secret from man.

You make it sound so creepy.

The unknown always is.

Whatever could have started it? I don't know.

Well, I think I've had enough of the unknown for one afternoon.

Something must have started it.

You can't second-guess the desert.

Rocks that have stayed for 1,000 years, they just move.

There's no figuring it.

Well, the bus would have gotten me here sooner, but I certainly enjoyed it.

Give my best to the rabbits. Would you like to see them?

Now you're talking.

You can put them right there.

It's funny he's not here. Maybe he's resting.

Do I get the guided tour? Follow me.

It wasn't like that when I left!

Are you sure it's the same one?


We injected a baby rat this morning. Let's take a look at it.

This morning? It was a baby.

Matt, I tell you, this morning it was a baby.

And it doubled in size in a few hours?

Matt, you do believe me?

Of course I do.


Yes, he's here. Just a minute.

It's your office.

Thanks. Hello?

Yeah, Josh.

I'll stop by on my way home. Thanks. Bye.

I've got to go.

That's one of the penalties of being a doctor.

I never seem to find time to finish a conversation.

What do you make of that baby rat?

I don't know.

Freaks of any kind give me the willies.

Well, I've heard of giantism, but I've never seen it produced.

Why don't you have Deemer ask me out in the next day or so.

I'd like to discuss it with him. I will.

Besides, it'll give me a chance to see you again.

Or don't I need an excuse?

Now, what do you think? I'll call you.

My laboratory is not open to the public, Miss Clayton.

Explain why you brought Dr. Hastings here.

Sir? Dr. Hastings.

Will you please explain why you brought him here?

He's very interested in your work, sir, and I thought it'd be all...

Were you in the habit of conducting tours at Owens University?

No, sir, but I thought it would...

Bringing him here was a breach of my trust in you.

Experimental research is always confidential be it here or anywhere else.

You didn't tell me it was confidential.

I didn't think I'd need to.

Professor, your face.

That will be enough, Miss Clayton. Yes, sir.

Boy, you got nerves. Simmer down. Where did you come from?

I was on my way to old Andy Andersen's when I saw your car.

What are you doing here?

There was a landslide an hour or so ago.

Came back to see what caused it. This is one of those days.

Old Andy called me in a sweat and said to come a running.

Couldn't figure out what he was yakking about... but it seems like something was eating his cattle.

Eating them? Say...

He had sunstroke a couple of years back. You don't suppose...

No, there must be something to it. Said he had a stack of bones to show me.

You wouldn't like to come along, would you?

You still trust my judgement after the Jacobs business?

I ain't looking for medical advice, Doc. Just company.

Glad you finally got here, Sheriff.

Hi, Doc. Didn't expect to see you.

Hi, Andy. Jack met me on the way. Told me you've been having trouble.

Yeah, darndest thing ever happened. Where's what we came for?

Let's go.

I never saw anything like it.

No footprints, no blood, no sign of struggle.

The bones just stripped clean, like peeling a banana.

About noon the boy here came up from the lower section and found them.

I don't suppose it could've been mountain lions?

I've ranched here 22 years now, Doc... and I've had more than my share of lions and wolves.

It wasn't them.

Where did that come from? It was there when the boy got here.

Stop worrying about that and tell me what's picking my cattle clean.

That's all I want to know. What's doing it?

Take it easy, Andy. They're not your cattle.

If it could happen last night, it could happen tonight, tomorrow night.

It could wipe me out.

Aren't you going to do anything?

I'm up a tree, Andy, like you are. I don't know where to start thinking.

You got any ideas, Doc?

Better round up what livestock you can and stand guard.

If you see or hear anything, ring me at the house.

I'll be there, just in case.

See you, Andy.

Hi, Jack.

Anyone pull through?

You kidding? I want to show you something.

Morning, Doc.

The Sheriff tells me you've seen something like this before.


You buying this accident business, Doc?

Aren't you? Nope.

I can't figure it. There isn't a skid mark.

We ploughed through the wreck and found the brakes still work.

It's just like something grabbed the pickup and threw it 30 feet off the road.

Take a look at this, Doc.

I can't understand why I didn't spot this stuff... when I hauled those skeletons out of here and stacked them on the other side.

They were here? Yes, sir. Why?

There doesn't seem to be any distinctive odour.


Say, have you got a thermos or a jar around here somewhere?

I think there's one over here.

Same stuff we found at Andy's? Yeah, I think so.

Well, that makes three then.


Here, the stuff you saw yesterday, and Andy's.


His wife found him at the corral last night, dead.

He'd been... Like the cattle and sheep.

There was a couple of gallons of this liquid beside him.

I wish you'd give me a hand with this yarn, Doc.

Stuff here I can't handle.

Maybe there's stuff here none of us can.

If I were you, Joe, I'd write this as a straight accident.

If you print anything as vague as what we've got... you'll scare half the state to death.

News is news, Doc. Guess and a half-truth aren't news.

Why don't you hold off till we nail this down tight?

Maybe then you'll have the biggest story of your life.

What have you got, Matt? I don't know.

But we've got to keep our minds open and our mouths shut till we do know.

Here you are, Doc.



I'm not sure.

It's impossible at this stage to give you a positive answer.

But it's related to insect venom.

Insect venom? Come off it, Matt.

I know. But it checks.

Acidic content, the whole works.

I'm not sure what kind of insect venom it is, but...

Look, Matt, I'm willing to play ball with you... but there's a limit to what I'll swallow.

Check it yourself, Joe. I'll show you how.

You're having nightmares, Doc.

There's not an insect in the world with that much venom.

All right, don't take my word for it. Get someone else to analyse it.

Who? Prof. Deemer.

Hey, that's a good idea.

I'll make a date with him. Take the stuff out. Okay?


This time don't you forget to let me know. I won't, Joe.

Insect venom in the large economy size. I've heard everything.

Give me Prof. Deemer will you, Josh?


Hello, Matt.

No, I can talk. He's upstairs.

I was hoping you'd call. There's...

Matt, I've got to talk to you.

Well, he's sick, Matt, terribly sick.

It's his face and his hands.

Yes. Well, I did.

I asked him to see a doctor, but he won't do any...

Steve? Steve!

She hung up, Doc. You want me to try to get her back?

Hurry, Matt!

Are you all right? Something's happened.

He can hardly breathe!

Steve, get me some water, will you?

Don't you think we ought to get him to a hospital?

There isn't anything they can do for him we can't do right here.

Give him some water, Steve.

There's nothing you can do, Doctor.

Don't say that. Nothing anyone can do.

Start with Jacobs, Professor. He was the beginning.

Eric and I spent every waking hour on this ever since our... days at Oakridge.

But he was an impatient old man.

He was convinced that... an occasional failure with the animals... didn't necessarily mean... that the nutrient would fail with humans.

Then... one day when I was in town... he and Paul... injected themselves.

When did Jacobs inject himself, sir?

Four days before he died.

Acromegalia developed in four days.

The isotope triggered our nutrient into a nightmare.


Paul went crazy and attacked me.

While I was unconscious, he made sure that I wouldn't survive.

But I... continued the experiment... hoping that in the short time... left to me, I'd be able... to prove the... nutrient... would work.

You should have seen them.

You should have seen them.

You should have seen them before the fire.

They lived on nothing but our nutrient.

A rat eight times normal size.

A guinea pig big as a police dog.

A tarantula...

Lost, all lost.

What about the tarantula?


All burnt.

Let's take him upstairs.

He'll sleep for a while. Is there any hope?

Here's something to relieve the pain.

Give him one when he wakes up.

Where are you going?

Well, the tarantula...

There's something I want to check on. I'll phone you when I get back.

Just set it up, Jean. Then you may go. Yes, sir.

Well, that was a pretty accurate analysis you made, Doctor.

Then it is insect venom?

Well, not precisely. It's from a species called arachnida.

A spider? Well, a tarantula, to be exact.

But I've never seen venom in such quantity before.

You know, there's more venom in this test-tube... than you'll find in 100 tarantulas.

You mean a tarantula that could secrete that much venom, would be...

100 times larger than normal?

At least that.

What would you say, Doctor, if I told you I found pools of that venom?

Four and five feet across, two to three inches deep?

I'd say you'd been having a nightmare.

Or that you're the biggest liar since Baron Munchausen.

It's a nightmare all right, Doctor... but not the kind you mean, and I'm not lying to you.

The tarantula film is ready, Professor. Thank you, Jean.

Now look, I know you didn't fly 200 miles just for a joke... but I simply can't believe all you're telling me.

Good night, Professor. Good night, Jean.

Well, under the circumstances we might find this interesting.

That's the largest of tarantulas, from South America... and it's only a foot in diameter with its legs outstretched.

I know. Our Arizona species is even smaller.

That's right. Not more than three inches in size.

Now there it is, coming out of its burrow.

It's got eight legs and can move faster than you think... which assures him of a long life. As long as 25 years sometimes.

That's the spider wasp... the tarantula's deadliest enemy.

See? The wasp usually wins... but don't count on it, because the tarantula doesn't know the meaning of fear.

As you can see, he'll back down a rattlesnake if he has to.


They're flesh eaters, aren't they?

Yes, and desert beetles are their usual diet.

Those powerful jaws are strong enough to pierce a man's finger.

There. The venom is paralysing the victim.

Tarantulas predigest their food by flooding the wound with a powerful solvent... so that the flesh can be sucked into the body.

That would account for the bones.

Dr. Hastings, your imagination is showing.

So that's it, Doctor.

How deadly is the venom? Not deadly at all.

About as poisonous as a hornet's.

No fun, mind you, but harmless.

The few deaths that have been reported are the result... of germs entering the wound at the time of the bite.

You make them sound like pets. Not pets, Doctor.

Just part of the world about us.

We must accept them as we do the rest of God's creatures.

Each has a function in its own world.

But what if circumstances magnified one of them in size and strength?

Took it out of its primitive world and turned it loose in ours?

Then expect something that's fiercer... more cruel and deadly than anything that ever walked the earth.

How about Dr. Hastings' call to Desert Rock?

I'm afraid I won't be able to get it for you.

The lines are down between Calamite and Desert Rock.

Be about an hour before they can resume service.

How'd that happen? I really don't know, sir.

Do you want me to try again in about an hour?

No. Never mind. Thanks.

Here you are, Jeb.

Going to be a murky night.


Do you think that was lightning we saw over to the west?

If it was, it's the first time I ever seen lightning throw off sparks.

Maybe one of them college boys short-circuited his nice new Geiger counter.

What was that?

I'm at the airport. Oh.

Can you hear me now? Yeah, yeah.

Jack, we haven't much time.

I want you to round up every available man. Arm them...

Do what? What are you talking about?

Jack, do as I say.

Notify the State Police to meet you at the Deemer place.

Notify the State Police? You must be drunk.

No. I haven't been drinking.

All I want you to do is... I know. Just call the State Police.

Please, Jack. Believe me.

All right, I'll do it.

Thanks. I'll see you.

He's coming, Matt, I can see it!

There's Matt's car.

What's it all about? Jack, turn the cars around!

What for? There isn't time. I'll tell you later!

Lieutenant, look!

Jumping Jupiter!

Get those submachine guns! You boys, get back in the car.

They won't stop it!

Matt, if it follows the highway, it'll come right into Desert Rock.

Doc, keys in your car? Yeah.

Doc and Miss Clayton are coming with us.

Get in. You boys, try to slow it down.

If you can't, take Doc's car and follow us. Yes, sir.

Come on. Start it, man! I can't start it.

Come on, you'll flood it.

That is correct.

You've got at the outside 30 minutes to get everybody out. Over.

Desert Rock will be cleared in 30 minutes. Over.

Do you think dynamite would stop him?

Get a truck over to Murphy's, load up all the dynamite he has.

Bring it just north of Devil's Rock. We'll be waiting for it.

Yeah, dynamite might work. But what if it doesn't?

You got any other suggestions, Doc? It'll be light soon.

If we could get a message to the air base at Sands.

How are you going to do that?

Somebody could phone from town. Unless the lines are down.

Sergeant, I want you to phone the commanding officer at Sands Air Base.

Any special instructions, Doc?

Yeah. If the boys have some napalm, tell them to bring it along.

Sergeant, tell them to load up with napalm, rockets, anything they've got.

Hurry it up, boys!

That's the last of it, Mr. Murphy. That's it, Joe.

There isn't another stick of dynamite in the whole town.

Here. Prime them on the way.

See you later, I hope. You will.

All right. Let her roll!

Don't forget to prime them!

Pull her right in here, boys! Pull her in here.

Right across the road. Come on! Lend a hand, boys!

Watch it now! They're all primed!

Where do you want this dynamite?

Across the road. Shake it up, boys! Lend a hand!

Watch it now! Put the boxes right down there across the road.

All right, let's go.

Come on, boys. Get them down here!

All right. Here we go. Come on, get that dynamite down here.

All right. Beautiful.

Do you think it will work? Dynamite's tricky stuff.

It may blow it up. It may just blow the highway up.

Doggone, I wish we had some nitro.

I'll have to see that tarantula before I believe it.

You'll see it, Joe, and you'll wish you hadn't.

Let's go! Get those wires hooked up.

Here he comes!

Holy cow!

Come on! Get back!

Let's go! Come on.

Get this truck turned around!

Let's go!

Hold it!

We've gotta hurry it up.

Hurry it up.

I got it.



Let's get out of here.

What now?

I don't know. We got to do something.

Biggest story of my life and I won't get a chance to write it.


Look, here they come!

Look at them!

All right, Betts. Fire two rockets on this first pass.

Here goes.

Dropping napalm. Follow in order.