Fango received exclusive word that indie film producer Tony DiDio (of both TOOLBOX MURDERS incarnations) is preparing a remake of the 1968 Jack Hill cult classic SPIDER BABY. The original film, which stars film legend Lon Chaney Jr. and Sid (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS) Haig, centers around a family residing in an isolated mansion who suffer a degenerative disease called “The Merrye Syndrome” (which causes them to regress to the point of cannibalism; much macabre wackiness is the end result). Haig is being courted to return for the update (to take over the role of family caretaker Bruno, originally essayed by Chaney), with Hill on board as executive producer and director Jeff Broadstreet (who previously teamed with Haig on NIGHT OF THE LIVING 3D) at the helm.
“We’re going to stick very closely to the basic story of the original film, and at the same time dig deeper into the backstory of the inbred Merrye family,” Broadstreet tells Fango. The new script by NIGHT 3D’s Robert Valding “expands on the themes of unconditional love, and also the story elements of cannibalism and the mutant relatives in the basement. But this isn’t going to be the TEXAS CHAINSAW family, and it’s not going to be a monster movie.”
According to Broadstreet, the remake’s origins date back to “the end of 2005, when Sid and I were doing ADR on NOTLD 3D, and he got me thinking about it. Sid told me that he and Jack Hill had been talking about a remake and that he was interested in playing the Bruno role, which a lot of people consider to be Lon Chaney Jr.’s last memorable performance. I really thought that was a great idea. He’s now about the same age as Chaney was when they shot the original.” Flash forward to August 2007, when a mutual friend introduced Broadstreet to Hill. “We wrote a treatment, got Jack’s input and things have moved quickly,” the filmmaker says. “I’m very excited about directing this film and bringing Jack’s highly original tale to a new audience.”
Budgeted in the $3-5-million range, the new SPIDER BABY is one of a trio of horror flicks DiDio aims to put into production within the next nine months, all intended for eventual possible theatrical release. The others are TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 (the sequel to Tobe Hooper’s well-received 2004 redux, with FX man Dean Jones on board as director) and the Andrew Chiaramonte-directed SHRIEK. No details on the latter’s premise are available yet.