As far as beloved ‘90s properties that are ripe for a reboot are concerned, Arachnophobia probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, the film was a modest box office success, and it’s well remembered today for the roles played by Jeff Daniels and especially John Goodman as the Coen-esque, bumbling exterminator Delbert McClintock, but this is no pop-culture classic or box office blockbuster we’re talking about.
However. Once you consider the evergreen nature of “spiders are scary,” then things start to make a lot more sense. As a basic story, Arachnophobia is just as icky and effective now as it was then, which makes us able to see why prolific producer-director James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) is apparently interested in taking a crack at it via his production company Atomic Monster. Deadline reports that Amblin and Atomic Monster are currently working on the early stages of a remake. No director is attached, but Wan would be in a producer role rather than directing.
The original film, directed by Frank Marshall, struck an interesting balance between gross-out, phobia-centric horror and dark comedy, portraying a deadly South American spider than is accidentally brought to the U.S., where it breeds vociferously and creates thousands of deadly hybrids. Together, the characters must team up to find the original “queen” and destroy her spider-producing nest before the venomous spiders wipe out their entire town.
One wonders how adapting the movie in the late 2010s will change things, in terms of effects in particular. The original Arachnophobia features quite a lot of actual spiders in it, as well as some rather silly puppets, but even that seems like it would be superior to doing the entire film with CGI. If you’re reading this, Mr. Wan—let’s do some practical effects work on this one, yeah? Physical spiders are almost always going to be scarier than digital ones. Also: Can we get John Goodman back, playing the long-lost brother of Delbert McClintock, out for spider vengeance? Just a thought.
Wan is currently in post-production on his first big-budget blockbuster, the DC Universe’s Aquaman, which is scheduled for a Dec. 21, 2018 release. Before that, his latest producing effort, The Conjuring spinoff The Nun, will hit theaters on Sept. 7.
Enjoy the trailer for the original Arachnophobia below: