Spider Arachnophobia
Average height Tiny (baby)
Hand-like (adult)
Sapience Sapient
Diet Parasitic
Behind the Scenes
Universe Arachnophobia

The spiders are the main antagonists of the 1990 film Arachnophobia.


An entomologist Dr. James Atherton searches the Amazon rainforest in Venezuela with the hope of discovering new species of insects and arachnids. Descending into an enormous sinkhole, his team sets up collectors on the ground below a large tree, then blow smoke up into the canopy of the tree. A large number of bugs fall into the collector, including a very aggressive new species of spider. The spider is captured and chloroformed for research; and is later revealed to be lacking sex organs, thus making it a drone, or soldier. A nature photographer, Jerry Manley, who has been suffering a fever while traveling with the team, unknowingly has a fertile (non-drone) male spider of the same species jump into his backpack, that night sneaking into his sleeping bag and biting him. Manley has a massive seizure from the venom and dies. The remainder of the scientists takes his body back to the United States, blaming Manley's death on the preexisting fever. The spider crawls into the box and is sealed in with the corpse.

Manley's body arrives at the funeral home in his small town of Canaima, California and mortician Irv Kendall sees Manley's body completely drained from fluids and does not notice the spider inside the coffin when he opens it. The spider makes it outside, only to be picked by a crow. Before the crow gets back to its nest, the spider bites it and it falls to the ground dead, in front of the barn of the Jennings family.

The Amazonian spider mates with a female domestic house spider and makes a nest in Jennings' barn, producing hundreds of infertile drone offspring, all of which have their father's lethal bite.

Ross' first patient, Margaret Hollins, dies after being bitten. The town's residents believe that she died from a heart attack, despite Ross' suspicions that something else was at work since she seemed to have had odd seizures. After a spider also kills a football player named Todd Miller, a death that is attributed to a football injury, Ross is known to the town as "Dr. Death", having all his patients dying after having seen him. When Dr. Metcalf is bitten and dies, Ross suspects that deadly arachnids could be infesting the town.

Ross and county coroner Milton Briggs perform an autopsy on the victims and confirm Ross' suspicion that the deaths were caused by spider bites. Atherton arrives in town with his assistant Chris Collins, joining Briggs, Sheriff Lloyd Parsons and exterminator Delbert McClintock in the spider investigation. They discover that the killer spiders have a short life expectancy due to being a mixed breed. Atherton tells them that the spiders are soldiers, sent out to eliminate potential threats for the chief/'general' male spider. He also learns that the general spider produced a queen, which it likely mated with to produce a second nest someplace, guarded by the queen, which could produce fertile offspring. Atherton elaborates that, unlike the sinkhole of the spider's original habitat, which limited its territory, the transplanted spiders can progressively expand their territory, possibly culminating in their worldwide dispersal. The group sets out to destroy both nests and kill the queen and general, but Atherton plans to capture the general alive for his agenda after discovering where the first nest is located. Atherton plucks at the web to lure the general out, but gets caught by surprise as the general leaps from its hiding place and fatally bites Atherton.

The Jennings' house is suddenly infested by an army of lethal spiders at the climax of the film. The spiders are the offspring of a lethal South American spider nicknamed 'the General' due to its method of sending out drone units to exterminate all life in the immediate surroundings of the place it claims as its breeding nest (much like a general dispatches troops to pacify an area). With the area cleansed of all other life, the General will mate again with its 'Queen', a house spider it had bred with, to produce a new generation of Generals.

While Mrs. Jennings and the kids escape outside and the local bug exterminator keeps the drones at bay, Ross is trapped inside and is attacked from the balcony overlooking the living room. In the struggle, he falls from the balcony and crashes through the floorboards (they had been in need of replacement due to termite problems). Ross finds that the drones have not followed him into the basement, and in fact seem to be avoiding the place. Remembering what he was told earlier about spiders, that a nest would be kept in a dark, dank place and offspring would be driven away immediately to prevent them from eating each other, Ross is soon searching for the egg sac the Queen has prepared. The Queen attempts a surprise attack on him but is knocked into the circuit breaker for her efforts and fried.

Ross then makes his way to the egg sac, and throws some wine on it so he can set it ablaze with a candle-lighter and cookie spray, only to be ambushed by the General himself, who has been lying in wait, causing him to fall from the wine racks he climbed up. The General, who is used to being on the top of the food chain where he's from is more then ready to take Ross in a fight to make sure his future offspring are born.

Ross then sets his wine racks ablaze, attempting to flush out the spider. The General, however, showing some truly incredible intelligence for a spider, cleverly fakes him out and taunts Ross by staying just out of range of the fire, before ducking into an air pipe. Ross listens carefully to the sound of the spider crawling around in the pipes, and follows the sounds to an opening, where he proceeds to set another blast of flame in.

The General was ready for him, this time, though. As soon as Ross ceases fire, the General charges out and jumps on Ross's neck, terrifying him so that he crashes into a wine rack, and lands flat on his back, covered with some debris.

The General, who seems almost amused at this point, slowly approaches Ross's leg as he lays helplessly on the ground, and Ross finds himself re-enacting the very incident that scarred him as a child and made him so terrified of spiders to begin with. But this time, Ross notices that there is a small wooden plank on his leg, erected sideways like a seesaw. Ross waits till the General crawls onto it and immediately sits up, slamming his hand onto the upraised end and sending the General flying into one of the fires Ross had made earlier in his fight.

Before Ross can get a chance to take a breath of relief, he notices the egg sac has begun to pulse as new spiders are being born. As he prepares to finish them off, the General suddenly dashes out of the flames, covered in fire. The spider makes one last attempt on Ross as it jumps toward him just as Ross grabs his nail gun and fires it, impaling the General and sending the flaming spider flying into the egg sac, destroying both threats.