Bisques, fetish dolls, plush, ventriloquist dummies, voodoo dolls, worry dolls; dolls come in various shapes and forms. They are a major archetype of horror movies. In this book, film critic Steve Hutchison reviews and ranks 50 of the best horror movies featuring dolls ever released. How many have you seen?
Eight times the terror!
“Arachnophobia” refers to Jeff Daniel’s character’s uncontrollable fear of spiders. For a good while, people around him die mysteriously and he gets blamed for it, as their doctor. The inhabitants of the town he just moved in don’t see what we see. We witness it all. The camera constantly impersonates a breed of killer spiders we know just got imported mistakenly. We see them kill.
The way the camera treats the victims and the spiders is reminiscent of slasher flicks of the preceding decade. But, that’s not all Arachnophobia is. The film isn’t supernatural, but it’s not exactly probable or even plausible. It’s a thriller with solid jump scares and the kind of suspense the 1990s are known for. It’s not a comedy but it’s funny when it chooses to be.
To have various spiders follow established trajectories and interact with actors, all with perfect timing, is pure genius. The movie constantly impresses by the way it presents the spider. This subgenre is rarely taken seriously. There is no CG, here. What you see is what you get. The acting is impeccable. The casting is more than you can ask for. This is horror filmmaking at its best.