44+ Best Spider Horror Movies

Giant spiders, small spiders, normal spiders, alien spiders, genetically altered spiders, and more. All are included in this list of horror movies that focus on spiders.

Arachnophobia (1990) set a new standard of excellence in the spider-horror subgenre. (pictured: Julian Sands)

Table of Contents

Arachnophobia is one of the world’s most common phobias. Many people are scared of spiders, so it makes sense that filmmakers would take advantage of this widespread fear. Since the early days of film, spiders have been used in all different types of movies as a representation of fear and disgust. So, naturally, many horror movies contain spiders. What’s interesting is that it took quite a while before the eight-legged creepy crawlers started to become the sole stars of horror films.

A gist sea spider in The Thief of Bagdad (1924).
The Thief of Bagdad (1924) has one of the earliest depictions of a giant spider on film. Adventure and fantasy movies often use spiders as obstacles to overcome.

In the 1950s when science-fiction movies were big business, spiders finally became more of a main focus in horror films. Movies like The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) contain extremely memorable scenes with spiders, and a smattering b-movies released around the same time feature abnormally large spiders as secondary antagonists. And, of course, the popular giant-creature movies of the era helped pave the way for Tarantula (1955), and the spider cemented itself for all time as a viable horror villain.

This list contains horror movies that, with few exceptions, feature a spider (or many spiders) as the main antagonist. Action, sci-fi, drama, and other genres are represented, but there also has to be a decently strong element of horror for the movie to be included in the list. Also, horror movies with a single spidery scene won’t necessarily count either.

Spider Horror Movies

Tarantula (1955)

A giant tarantula on a desert road in Tarantula (1955).
Tarantula was directed by Jack Arnold, whose other directing credits include Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), It Came from Outer Space (1953), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

Tarantula was released in the wake of the excellent and influential giant-ant movie Them! (1954). Though Tarantula wasn’t the first of the “big bug” movies of the 1950s, it remains one of the most beloved of the era. The film stars prolific b-movie actor John Agar as a doctor who gets embroiled in an escalating situation involving a scientist working on a nutrient meant to end world hunger. The problem begins when the side-effect of the nutrient causes the scientist’s test animals to grow exponentially in size. When a tarantula being tested on escapes the lab, it continues to grow as it terrorizes the nearby population.

Earth vs. The Spider (1958)

A giant spider approaches a car in Eart vs. The Spider (1958).
Earth vs. The Spider was originally released in the United States as The Spider.

Carol (June Kenney) and her boyfriend Mike (Eugene Persson) go looking for Carol’s missing father. Unfortunately, the trail leads them into a cave where they fall into the web of a giant spider. Barely escaping with their lives, the teens are met with skepticism when they tell others of what they’ve seen. But it’s not long before everyone believes them when a series of poor choices by the authorities leads to the killer spider roaming through the streets. Earth vs. The Spider might not be as good as Tarantula, but it’s still a fun b-movie for fans of the giant creature movies of the 1950s.

Horrors of Spider Island (1960)

A man with fangs and a mutated face in Horrors of Spider Island (1960).
Horrors of Spider Island was featured in a hilarious 10th season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 which first aired in 1999.

This West German spider-horror flick is quite bad, so much so that it falls into the category of “so bad it’s good.” Horrors of Spider Island is about a troupe of dancers stranded on a small island after their plane crashes into the ocean. The first sign that they might have a problem with spiders is when the dancers and their manager discover a dead body caught in a huge web inside the only shack on the island. They don’t think too much about it, but their manager is soon bitten by a large spider and begins mutating in spidery ways. There aren’t actually many spiders in Horrors of Spider Island, but it’s too fun to leave off this list.

Kiss of the Tarantula (1975)

A woman looks horrified and disgusted as a tarantula on her chest crawls toward her face in Kiss of the Tarantula (1975).
Kiss of the Tarantula is a lot like the movie Willard (1971), but with a woman and her spiders instead of a man and his rats.

Susan loves spiders. Since she was a child, Susan has had a connection with spiders that transcends nearly every human-to-human relationship she has. In the house she shares with her loving father, Susan keeps tarantulas which she loves as pets. Her pets come in handy whenever people do her or her father wrong. In Kiss of the Tarantula, Susan uses her pet spiders as a weapon of revenge, unleashing them on her unsuspecting enemies when they are in vulnerable positions. Interestingly, the spiders themselves don’t seem to do any killing. Instead, it’s the fear Susan’s victims have for the spiders that does all the fatal harm.

The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

A giant spider scares two people as it rises over a hill in The Giant Spider Invasion (1975).
The Giant Spider Invasion was given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment in a season eight episode which aired in 1997.

Spiders from outer space attack a small Wisconsin town in The Giant Spider Invasion. It begins with a cluster of meteorites found in a farmer’s field. The farmer and his wife break open a meteorite, and inside is a spider that skitters away unseen. More of the meteorites open, unleashing lots more spiders that begin growing in size until a spider the size of a Volkswagen (a Volkswagen Beetle made-up like a spider was used for certain shots) rolls through town. The Giant Spider Invasion is both notorious and admired for how incredibly cheesy it is.

Curse of the Black Widow (1977)

A person is covered in spider webs in Curse of the Black Widow (1977).
Curse of the Black Widow is a made-for-TV movie that first aired on ABC in 1977.

In Curse of the Black Widow, private detective Mark Higbie (Anthony Franciosa) is drawn into the investigation of a series of mysterious deaths when a friend of his is killed outside a bar. The police know more than they’re saying, and Higbie’s inquiries begin pointing him in the direction of an ancient legend of a spider-woman. But can a shapeshifter really be behind the attacks? The budget and the need to make the movie fit for broadcast on network television means that Curse of the Black Widow focuses more on the mystery rather than the horror, but audiences do get a few glimpses at the spidery culprit of the crimes.

Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977)

A girl looks at a tarantula on a tennis racket in Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977).
Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo is a solidly entertaining made-for-TV movie.

While transporting bags of coffee beans via airplane from Ecuador to the United States, two pilots unknowingly also transport a load of deadly tarantulas. These spiders are particularly dangerous, with venom far more potent than normal tarantulas. That’s bad news for the small California town where the coffee-carrying plane crashes. The spiders escape the crash and look for food at a nearby orange grove, killing anyone who gets too close.

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Tarantulas crawl over a man covered in webs in Kingdom of the Spiders (1977).
Kingdom of the Spiders is a rather bleak yet very entertaining eco-horror movie about spiders in a small town.

William Shatner stars as a charismatic veterinarian “Rack” Hansen in Kingdom of the Spiders. On a ranch in the Arizona town of Camp Verde, Rack’s investigation into the cause of death of a cow leads to a massive hill of tarantulas on a farmer’s land. As a result of human behavior altering the environment, the spiders have begun forming large clusters to attack prey such as cows, dogs, and even humans. Now Rack and a small group of people do their best to survive as they try to find a way to fight back before the spiders swarm over the entire town.

Arachnophobia (1990)

Eggs and webs in Arachnophobia (1990).
Arachnophobia won “Best Horror Film” at the 1991 Saturn Awards, beating movies including Darkman (1990), The Exorcist III (1990), and Pet Sematary (1989).

Arachnophobia is one of the best and most well-known movies about spiders. The story is about an infestation of deadly spiders that were born from the mating of a common house spider and a deadly, newly-discovered spider from Venezuela. The arachnophobic Dr. Ross Jennings, played by Jeff Daniels, is at the forefront of an investigation into the deaths that signal the arrival of the dangerous spider variant, and he must overcome his overwhelming fear of spiders if he wants to help prevent a full-blown infestation of his town.

Spiders (2000)

A giant spider crushes a police car in Spiders (2000).
Spiders is a sci-fi action-horror movies that is intentionally cheesy.

Spiders was released towards the beginning of a new wave low-budget giant-spider movies that would dominate the spider-horror genre for a long time. Spiders begins with an experiment conducted on a space shuttle which involves genetically altering spiders. The experiment comes to an abrupt halt when the shuttle crashes to Earth, but the spider— which grows to an enormous size—escapes to threaten the nearby population.

Earth vs. The Spider (2001)

A spider-human monstrosity from Earth vs. The Spider (2001).
Earth vs. The Spider was one of five movies produced by Stan Winston that use titles from classic monster movies as inspiration for entirely new stories. All five movies were released on Cinemax.

Earth vs. The Spider is not a remake of the 1958 movie of the same name. Instead, it uses the iconic title to describe a movie that is more like a Spider-Man origin story gone horribly wrong. Quentin is a meek man who enjoys comic books, particularly “The Arachnid Avenger.” Quentin works as a security guard at a facility where experiments on spiders are taking place. After an attempted robbery at the facility ends in a death, Quentin injects himself with a serum derived from a spider. He begins developing the proportional strength of a spider, but his transformation doesn’t stop there…

Spiders II: Breeding Ground (2001)

A giant spider in a bloody hallway in SPiders II: Breeding Ground (2001).
Spiders II: Breeding Ground was also released as Spiders 2.

While sailing, husband and wife Jason and Alexandra are stranded at sea during a storm. They are quickly picked up by a ship and given shelter, but Jason becomes suspicious of the crew. His suspicions turn out to be valid, because the ship’s doctor is conducting experiments involving giant spiders, and he’s using humans as living incubators for the spider’s eggs. Spiders II: Breeding Ground costars the late Richard Moll as the mad doctor.

Arachnid (2001)

A giant spider in a forest as seen in Arachnid (2001).
Arachnid was directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, 1982’s Alone in the Dark).

Arachnid takes the sci-fi aspects of most giant-spider movies even further, beginning with an alien spaceship hovering over the ocean. After a brief glimpse of the alien creature in the opening scene, we learn that the people of an island in Indonesia are dying of an unknown sickness. A small team is assembled to take an expedition to the island to provide aid for the people, and to find out what is causing so many to get sick and die. In other words, the team hopes to find what bit them. After crash-landing on one of the island’s beaches, the expedition encounters the culprit: a giant spider that might not be from this world.

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

A giant spider sneaks up on a man sitting in a comfy chair in Eight Legged Freaks (2002).
Eight Legged Freaks is a sci-fi horror comedy from producers Dean Devlin (producer of Stargate, Independence Day, and more) and Bruce Berman (executive producer of The Matrix, Deep Blue Sea, and more).

Eight Legged Freaks had a much bigger budget when compared to its giant-spider contemporaries, but it is just as goofy as the rest. Prosperity, Arizona is a town that is dying. While the people of Prosperity debate selling their land and moving, a toxic waste spill in a pond near the edge of town leads to spiders eating crickets irradiated by the contaminated water. The spiders grow to huge proportions, and their enlarged size means they need much larger prey. Now the people of Prosperity have more pressing matters to worry about than their slowly dying town.

Arachnia (2003)

Two giant spiders tear apart a truck in Arachnia (2003).
The kitschy quality of Arachnia makes it feel almost like a parody of giant-creature movies, but the overall tone also makes it an homage to the genre.

Unlike a lot of the giant-spider movies of its era, Arachnia doesn’t rely on much CGI. Instead, its spiders are created using physical props and stop-motion animation. That gives it a certain charm, and the extremely low-budget quality of the production helps it feel like an updated version of some of the classic sci-fi monster b-movies. The story of Arachnia follows a group of people flying to a dig site in Arizona who crash when a meteorite landing nearby causes a massive shockwave. The disturbance opens a cave that frees a cluster of giant spiders, and the crash survivors must fight for their lives while holed up at a local farm.

Ice Spiders (2007)

A green spider attacks someone who is trying to crawl away in Ice Spiders (2007).
Ice Spiders premiered on Syfy in June of 2007 (the channel was known as Sci Fi at the time).

Over the years, Syfy has become known for a certain kind of movie. Cheesy, silly, and kind of dumb, but usually quite fun. That’s exactly what you get with Ice Spiders, one of Syfy’s many giant/killer creature features. Ice Spiders takes place in Utah where humongous spiders grown in a lab escape and start preying on people at a nearby ski resort.

In the Spider’s Web (2007)

A woman places her hand precariously close to a couple of spiders while walking through a cave in In the Spider's Web (2007).
Many real spiders are used throughout In the Spider’s Web, though CGI is used more heavily in the later sections of the movie.

A guided tour of a jungle takes an unexpected detour when one of the tourists is bitten by a spider. The closest help, an American doctor, is found in a nearby village inhabited by spider-worshiping natives. This should raise some red flags for the tour guide and his followers, but it takes a surprising amount of time before they all realize the danger they’re in, danger that leads to a conspiracy, a secret lab, and a web-covered cave.

Camel Spiders (2011)

A CGI spider crawls across sand in Camel Spiders (2011).
Camel spiders aren’t actually spiders (they don’t have venom and don’t spin webs), but they’re referred to as spiders in Camel Spiders, so it’s close enough to qualify for this list.

Camel spiders went viral in the early 2000s when images of the creatures encountered by soldiers during the Iraq War spread online. So, by b-movie standards, Camel Spiders (which premiered on Syfy in 2011) was late to the party when it came to capitalizing on the notoriety of this particular type of creepy crawler. Still, it’s decently fun as a creature feature. The plot involves camel spiders that hitch a ride on a dead body brought to the United States from overseas. The spiders escape, breed, and attack the unsuspecting population of an Arizona town.

Arachnoquake (2012)

A humongous spider spins a web between two buildings in Arachnoquake (2012).
The CGI in Arachnoquake is atrocious, but it’s fitting for the style of movie that it is.

Arachnoquake is a supremely campy action-horror-comedy with an eco-horror twist. Fracking has caused earthquakes which open massive fissures in the landscape of Louisiana. From those fissures crawl an abundance of albino spiders of varying sizes, from big to gigantic. Making matters worse is the fact that these aggressive spiders also breathe fire. How will the city of New Orleans survive?

Spiders 3D (2013)

A giant spider as seen in Spiders 3D (2013).
Spiders 3D is also titled Spiders when released in a 2D version. The film was released in a 3D version in theaters and on Blu-ray, and in 2D on various formats including VOD.

Spiders 3D begins with pieces of a derelict space station falling to Earth, specifically in New York City. With the debris come spiders that were being experimented on. The spiders begin breeding in the subway tunnels of New York, and before too long the spiders grow bigger and more aggressive, skittering up onto the streets of the city. Spiders has a more serious tone than many of the other giant-spider movies released in the 2000s. The movie also features Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria, Immaculate) in one of her earliest feature film roles.

The Giant Spider (2013)

A giant spider pursues a person in a field in The Giant Spider (2013).
Christopher R. Mihm’s Mihmiverse, a shared universe of loosely connected b-movie homages, began with The Monster of Phantom Lake in 2006. As of this writing there are 19 Mihmiverse films with another, The Wad, on the way in August 2024.

The Giant Spider is a film by Christopher R. Mihm, and if you’re familiar with the Mihmiverse, then you’ll already have a good idea of what to expect. Christopher R. Mihm is known for his tributes to the sci-fi horror movies of the 1950s, and The Giant Spider fits perfectly with that theme. The story is about the people fighting back against a giant spider created through exposure to radiation from atomic weapons. But the real pleasure here is the retro feel of the effects, the characters, and the cheesy movie as a whole.

Big Ass Spider! (2013)

A large spider leaps over a person with a gun in Big Ass Spider (2013).
Big Ass Spider was also released as Biggest Spider.

A mild-mannered exterminator, Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg), is bitten by a brown recluse and goes to a hospital. Meanwhile, a large spider crawls out of a body in the hospital’s morgue and attacks a mortician. Alex offers to hunt down and exterminate the spider in exchange for having his the cost of his treatment taken care of. What Alex doesn’t realize is that he’s just agreed to hunt a genetically altered spider that spits acid and grows exponentially in size. This Big Ass Spider is also being hunted by the military. Big Ass Spider is a good action-horror-monster movie with a lot of comedy, some decently gross special effects, and a fittingly outlandish plot.

Lavalantula (2015)

A giant spider glowing with lava from the inside as seen in Lavalantula (2015).
Lavalantula is a SyFy Original film released in 2015.

In Lavalantula, Steve Guttenberg is Colton West, an actor who is having a very bad day. The former action star gets into a heated argument with the director of his latest movie, and West is unceremoniously told to leave the set and not come back. Then, while stuck in Los Angeles traffic after once again disappointing his family, a volcano erupts, dropping lava and lava-spewing spiders all around him. Now West is on a mission to keep his family safe while being thrust into the role of a real-life hero as sinkholes around the city unleash a horde of lavalantulas.

2 Lava 2 Lantula! (2016)

A lava-dripping spider stands on a table as a woman hides underneath in 2 Lava 2 Lantula (2016).
The Lavalantula movies are tied into the Sharknado universe. The same year 2 Lava 2 Lantula was released, Steve Guttenberg appeared in Sharknado 4 as the character Colton West. (pictured: Michele Weaver as Raya West)

One year after the events of Lavalantla, another cluster of lava-spiders is set loose in California. Now Colton West takes it upon himself to rescue his stepdaughter Raya, and maybe save the city while he’s at it. This sequel isn’t as much fun as the original, but it’s a decent followup despite its shortcomings.

7 Guardians of the Tomb (2018)

A spider looks menacing in 7 Guardians of the Tomb (2018).
At the time of its release, 7 Guardians of the Tomb was the largest co-production between China and Australia.

Li Bingbing, Kellan Lutz, and Kelsey Grammer star in 7 Guardians of the Tomb, an adventure/horror movie that begins with a search for two men who are attacked by unseen creatures while searching for a fabled artifact in China. The biotech magnate who hired the men assembles a rescue team, but he, of course, has ulterior motives for trying to locate his missing employees. The search for the missing men leads to ancient Chinese ruins which are home to valuable secrets, as well as lots and lots of vicious spiders.

Itsy Bitsy (2019)

A large spider crawls across the floor in Itsy Bitsy (2019).
Itsy Bitsy was the feature-film directing debut of Micah Gallo.

Itsy Bitsy is one of the more dramatic approaches to spider-horror. The film follows a mother, Kara (Elizabeth Roberts), as she moves to a new house with her two young children. Kara struggles with addiction, and her new job has her working as a live-in nurse for Walter (Bruce Davison), an elderly collector of artifacts. Walter has recently come into possession of an artifact that holds a deadly secret. That secret is a large, killer spider which is released when the artifact is broken. Now the spider lurks and waits for its moment to strike.

Infested (aka Vermines, 2023)

A spider in a jar as seen in Infested (2023).
The director and co-writer of Infested, Sébastien Vanicek, was selected to direct one of the upcoming Evil Dead movies.

Kaleb (Théo Christine) loves exotic creatures. His newest acquisition is an unusual spider smuggled in from the Middle East. Unfortunately, Kaleb’s latest purchase is going to cost him (and everyone in his apartment building) more than he expected. The spider escapes Kaleb’s custody almost immediately, and it begins to breed at a ridiculously fast rate. Soon the apartment complex is completely overrun with big, deadly spiders. It all happens so quickly that the police quarantine the building, making it a deathtrap that Kaleb, his friends, and his sister must try to escape. Infested is a stylish and thrilling spider film that is one of the best horror movies released in North America in 2024.

Sting (2024)

A man covered in webs screams in Sting (2024).
Sting was written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, the director and co-writer and of the Wyrmwood zombie movies.

An egg falls from the sky and lands quietly in an apartment building. Out of the egg crawls a spider. A young girl, Charlotte (Alyla Browne), finds the spider and keeps it as a pet. The alien spider grows at an alarming rate, and it is soon feeding on prey bigger than bugs. Much bigger. Now the residents of Charlotte’s apartment building are all in danger of being Sting’s next meal in this fun creature feature.

More Horror Movies Featuring Spiders

  • Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) – An expedition to the Moon reveals a race of Cat-women and a couple of giant, hairy moon-spiders.
  • Mesa of Lost Women (1953) – A mad scientist alters women’s genetic makeup with the essence of a spider. He also creates a giant tarantula.
  • Missile to the Moon (1958) – A trip to the Moon uncovers the fact that it is teeming with life. Part of that life includes a really big spider.
  • Hellish Spiders (1968) – This luchador movie starring Blue Demon is about the fight against killer spiders from outer space.
  • Venom (1971) – Also known as The Legend of Spider Forest, the local legend of a Spider Goddess in the woods hides a nefarious secret.
  • Spider (aka Zirneklis, 1992) – This Soviet/Latvian movie takes a more metaphorical approach to spiders, with a giant spider existing in the nightmares of a woman going through a difficult time.
  • Webs (2003) – A Sci-Fi Channel movie, Webs is about people who step into a parallel world dominated by spider-people.
  • Hangman’s Curse (2003) – Though not entirely about spiders, this movie (which is about a team of investigators in a haunted school) does feature a spider-filled scene towards the end.
  • Creepies (2004) – Genetically altered spiders of various sizes escape from a military facility in this dirt-cheap horror comedy.
  • Creepies 2 (2005) – In this sequel, big spiders are loose in Las Vegas, and the best way to deal with them is a giant mecha.
  • The Mist (2007) – Among other monstrosities coming out of the mysterious fog in this excellent horror movie are large, spider-like creatures.
  • Arachnicide (2014) – A team of elite soldiers is created to deal with a giant-spider problem in this low-budget Italian flick.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) – Spiders only take up a small amount of time in this movie about a book that creates stories that come to life, but the impact of the spider story is creepy and great.
  • Abyssal Spider (2020) – A Taiwanese film about a ship attacked by aquatic spiders.
  • Crazy Spider (2021) – This Chinese action-horror film features a remote island infested with gigantic spiders.
  • Giant Spider (2021) – A rescue team is sent to a secret laboratory in the desert that has become infested with genetically altered spiders.
  • Spider in the Attic (2021) – A spider nest in the attic of an old house is disturbed by people looking into the past of its former owner… a scientist who experimented on spiders.
  • Spiders on a Plane (2024) – This one is fairly self-explanatory. Deadly spiders get loose aboard an airplane.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.