There was supposed to be a dramatic shot of the giant spider crushing the house by having the spider dropped from a crane onto it while a bulldozer chained to the back of the house would pull away. However, when the shot was filmed, the spider's legs all went straight up into the air! The crew inside working it's arms were nearly killed when broken wood from the demolished house went through the spider, coming close to impaling them.
Alan Hale Jr. greets Davey (Kevin Brodie) in the opening scene with the line, "Hi, little buddy!" This is an obvious reference to his role as The Skipper on Gilligan's Island (1964).
This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.
There was supposed to be a shot of a big spider in a tree bursting into flames. To achieve this, the director covered a large prop spider with gunpowder and had two crew members sitting above it in the tree who would drop a match on the spider. The director got the camera up to a very fast fps to achieve a slow motion look, and had them drop the first match. Nothing happened, so they dropped a second. Still nothing happened, so they lit the entire book of matches and dropped it on the spider. With nothing happening, the director turned off the camera - and immediately afterwords a huge explosion and fireball shot up, burning the hair off of the crew members and starting several small brush fires. The director was furious that he wasn't able to get the shot on film.
Stars Steve Brodie and Barbara Hale pulled in family members to play supporting roles in the film. Brodie's son Kevin Brodie played Dave Perkins and Hale's husband Bill Williams came in to play the role of Dutch.
The framework for the VW Giant Spider was recently found in the woods and put on display in Gleason, WI.
In a scene depicting the giant spiders attacking a little league baseball game, the spiders are obviously Volkswagen Beetles with puppet legs attached. Tread marks can be seen in several shots.
Cost about $300,000 to make.
In May 2005 there was a Bill Rebane film festival in Madison, Wisconsin that featured this film. Hosting the festival were Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy of the TV series Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988), which featured The Giant Spider Invasion in a 1997 episode. Nelson and Murphy said despite their lampooning of the film on MST3K they actually admired Rebane because he was able to make the film with such a low budget.
According to Bill Rebane the two writers on the film each approached the story from different directions. Richard L. Huff wrote the original story and kept a very serious tone to the first draft of the script. Robert Easton on the other hand lent the film a comical tone, writing most of the colorful dialog for his character and the other locals. The films rather infamous jokes are credited to him as well. Combining both writers material resulted in an odd-ball tone for the script.
Director Bill Rebane once referred to the film as The Giant Spider Disaster in an interview, due to how problematic the production was.
Nearly all of the night scenes were shot day-for-night. The scenes were darkened in post production, though some of the footage was darkened too much to be clearly seen it was still used in the film.
A surprise box office success, it was one of the top 50 grossing movies of 1975.
Dan and Ev have a conversation which includes the exchange: Ev: "I'm sorry I missed the sermon. What was it about?" Dan: "Sin." Ev: "What did the minister say about it?" Dan: "He was against it." That referred to a famous (or infamous) conversation former President Calvin Coolidge - nicknamed "Silent Cal" - and his wife once had.
In an interview, director Bill Rebane said that shooting the film began before the script was even done. However, Rebane added that the script was revised numerous times during the shoot.
David Hoff, who provides the radio voice of the helicopter pilot, was an actual pilot for the Wisconsin Air Guard.
Originally the spiders in the film were suppose to be only about 10 feet in length but the producers insisted that if the film were going to compete with Jaws (1975), which was released around the same time, the size of the spiders would have to be increased to pose more threat.
DVD by Synergy Entertainment has Super-8mm version, as a special feature.
The giant spider of the title was achieved by covering a Volkswagen Beetle with fake black fur with the leg operators manipulating the limbs from inside the car. The vehicle was driven in reverse with its tail lights acting as the creature's red eyes. The remaining other spiders were puppets.
Stephen King is a big fan of the film.
Shot during the summer of 1975, Bill Rebane recalled in later interviews that the extremely hot weather was grueling for the film crew during production. It was especially hard on the people who climbed inside the giant spider rig to operate it with little ventilation.
Butchered beef and real cow body parts were obtained from slaughter houses to be used as the "remains" of the Kester cattle. Flies can be seen swarming the meat in the film.
In 1997, the film was relentlessly pilloried in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988), helping it achieve cult status.
The book Alan Hale is always reading in the shreiff's office is entitled "UFOs Are With Us."
Robert Easton (Kestor) carves a dollar sign in his kitchen window with a suspected diamond. In the "Wild Wild West" episode "The Night of the Flying Pie Plate" Robert Conrad (James T. West) carves a dollar sign into a mirror with a suspected diamond. Both co-star Leslie Parrish.
Co-stars Bill Williams and Barbara Hale were real-life husband and wife. (Their son is actor William Katt.)
The Kester's frame farmhouse was built for the film so that it could be leveled during the scene where the giant spider climbs on the house, crushing it.