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With "Arachnophobia" playing at IFC, build your own insect film festival

Jeff Daniels in

Jeff Daniels in "Arachnophobia" Photo Credit: Handout

An entire generation of moviegoers was terrified of spiders for life after witnessing “Arachnophobia,” the hit 1990 Frank Marshall horror-comedy that earned an impressive (for the time) $53.21 million at the box office.

Starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, the film tells the story of a family whose idyllic country home is overrun by the eight-legged beasts.

With the movie being re-released at the IFC Center over the weekend as part of the theater’s ongoing “When Animals Attack” series, we suggest making it the centerpiece of your own “evil insect” film festival at home with these insect selections, categorized by species:

Cockroaches: “Creepshow” (1982)
It’s the dreaded problem faced by many New Yorkers: an infestation of roaches. In one segment of this George A. Romero-Stephen King anthology, an eccentric businessman’s hermetically sealed apartment is overrun by the dastardly creatures, which proceed to eat him from the inside out.

Ants: “Them!” (1954)
The power of nuclear energy transforms ordinary ants into giant, vengeful man-eaters in this early-Atomic Age creature feature that’s the first “Big Bug” film. “Them!” is one of the best-known horror movies of the ’50s, films that were largely defined by fear of the atom bomb.

Flies: “The Fly” (1986)
The ultimate insect movie: Jeff Goldblum. David Cronenberg. Human-fly bonding (literally). This remake of a schlocky Vincent Price film not only eclipsed the original; it’s one of the most beloved movies of the ’80s, having won an Oscar while inspiring a sequel, an opera and endless imitators.

Grasshoppers: “A Bug’s Life” (1998)
The extortionist Hopper (Kevin Spacey) ranks with “Toy Story’s” psychotic Sid in the realm of creepiest Pixar villains. Towering over his fellow insects with an enraged expression permanently affixed to his face, he’s the grasshopper of your nightmares

Mosquitos: “Mosquito” (1995)
Alien starships + vulture-sized hungry mosquitos + the tagline “Millions of Years of Evolution Just Became Man’s Worst Nightmare” + star Gunnar Hansen, veteran of “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” and “Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre” = a movie everyone should see.

If you go: “Arachnophobia” plays at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. at W. 3rd St., at 12:20 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more info, go to ifccenter.com.

 

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