Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo


There is nothing quite like a made-for-TV movie from the 70's. "Made-for-TV" wasn't a stigma back then. Rating systems weren't an issue, and writers were more adept at creating dialogue-driven stories that didn't require gore or nudity. Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo has always been a made-for-TV favorite of mine. My all-time favorite is Dark Night of the Scarecrow, but that's another review altogether. This flick concerns a shipment of coffee beans. Unbeknownst to the pilots (or the illegal immigrants in the back of the plane), the beans are infested with South American wandering spiders (a.k.a. banana spiders).

Yes, that's an actual spider, but it's not a tarantula. The title is misleading. What's funny is that the film never tries to hide the fact that the killer creepy-crawlies are not tarantulas. Whatever. This is an entertaining entry in the "killer spider" subgenre. It's no Kingdom of the Spiders, but what is? There is an element of danger to this film because they used actual spiders on the set and those fuckers were extremely venomous. Cargo has a mean streak to it. The requisite annoying child is picked off halfway through the festivities. That's what I'm talking about! I'd be lying if I said that this tingling teleplay didn't give me the heebie-jeebies. It approaches Arachnophobia in the "ew" department.

The first hour glides along at a smooth clip, but the climax is inexcusably dull. Tight acting couldn't keep the third act from caving in on itself. They kill the spiders by playing wasp sounds, for Christ's sake. It may be scientifically accurate, but it's fucking boring. Still, Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo is worth a Netflix rental. It would be five times as awesome if it was called Attack of the Banana Spiders.


  1. Attack of the Banana Spiders would pwn!

    No but seriously, this was ok when I saw it as a kid but really hasn't held up. Hail Kingdom of the Spiders as the king of 70s spiders flicks.

  2. Count me in on the KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS fanwagaon, havent seen this one but have been very curious about it, love a good killer spider movie so I will add it back on the wishlist coming in at number 1000,000010101 in a long list of films I want to see but will never be able to convince the wife to watch lol..