Tarantula (1955)

35mm film
black and white
mono, English

An American science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold.

Plot Summary

Gerald Deemer's experimental new nutrient is intended to ease the growing food shortage crisis. Instead, it causes one of his colleagues to die, another to go insane and causes a tarantula to grow to tremendous size and go on a destructive rampage.


Directed by: Jack Arnold
© MCMLV [1955] by Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Universal-International presents a Universal-International picture
Produced by: William Alland
Screenplay by: Robert M. Fresco and Martin Berkeley
Story by: Jack Arnold and Robert M. Fresco
Assistant Director: Frank Shaw
Director of Photography: George Robinson
Film Editor: William M. Morgan
Music Supervision by: Joseph Gershenson
Sound: Leslie I. Carey, Frank Wilkinson
Western Electric Recording
Make-Up: Bud Westmore
Hair Stylist: Joan St. Oegger
Special Photography: Clifford Stine
Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen, Alfred Sweeney
Set Decorations: Russell A. Gausman, Ruby R. Levitt

John Agar (Dr Matt Hastings)
Mara Corday (Stephanie “Steve” Clayton)
Leo G. Carroll (Prof. Gerald Deemer)
Nestor Paiva (Sheriff Jack Andrews)
Ross Elliott (Joe Burch)
Edwin Rand (Lt John Nolan)
Raymond Bailey (Townsend)
Hank Patterson (Josh)
Bert Holland (Barney Russell)
Steve Darrell (Andy Andersen)
Clint Eastwood [fighter pilot] *

Alternative Titles

Giftspindeln – Swedish title
Tarantola – Italian title
Tarantula – kæmpeedderkoppen – Danish title
Tarântula – Portuguese title
Tarantula! – French title

Extracts included in
Attack of the 50 Foot Monster Mania (1999)
Coming Soon (1982)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Monsterama Sci-Fi Late Night Creature Feature Show Vol 1 (1996)
Terror in the Aisles (1984)
Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us (2005)


Fangoria no.214 (July 2002) pp.69-74, 82 – illustrated interview with Robert M. Fresco (Horror al fresco by Tom Weaver)
Supernatural no.1 (January 1969) p.29 – note (Round the cinema's zoo of horrors with Supernaturalist)
Videoscope no.110 (Spring 2019) p.35 – illustrated review (The Phantom's '50s fearfests)

Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.154 – illustrated credits, review
Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.268-269 – credits
Nuclear Movies: A Filmography by Mick Broderick p.48 – review
by Walt Lee p.475 – credits
Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory pp.190-193 – illustrated article
Universal Terrors 1951-1955: Eight Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Films by Tom Weaver with David Schecter, Robert J. Kiss and Steve Kronenberg pp.359-410 – illustrated credits, synopsis, production notes