EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS
About The Location
How convenient would it be if a
location scout hunting for a spacious defunct mall and an abandoned mine were to
discover both properties, as if made to order, within a short drive of one
another? This was the good fortune that befell Location Manager Alan Benoit, who
discovered the historic mining town of Superior, Arizona, some 60 miles east of
Phoenix, and the hull of a mall in nearby Glendale that was ideally suited for
the filmmakers' needs.
Many of the original elements of the
mine remained intact for exterior shots, including an impressive 200-foot steel
tower that rises above the vertical entrance, known since 1910 as the Magma
Copper Company's Silver Queen, from which cable and workers would be lowered
deep into the multi-leveled shaft.
Unfortunately, shooting inside the
existing mine tunnels was impractical, since they lay over half a mile below the
surface and were extremely tight, but the production was able to solve this
problem by returning to the mall. While the filmmakers shot scenes of
townspeople fighting off giant spiders in the mall's central hallways, the art
department was busy constructing over 150 feet of fiberglass and wood to
reproduce the mine tunnels in what used to be expansive department store floor
Their timing was perfect. Superior's
barren copper mine was scheduled for restoration by its owner, BHP Copper, but
the work wasn't set to begin for some months, allowing the production to meet
their filming needs comfortably. "The week after we left," says
Benoit, "a group of geologists moved in to conduct a feasibility study
toward re-opening the mine to explore a possible rich vein just to the south of
The town is experiencing a cultural
restoration as well, due to a recent population growth spurt, construction of a
modern new high school and in particular, an influx of artists who are making
plans to build galleries and transform the former high school site into a
working arts space. But for the moment, the production was free to use the old
high school facility as an effects shop. "In two years," says Benoit,
"what we did wouldn't be possible."
The production also appreciated the
Arizona location for its spectacular desert scenery and the quiet roads needed
for several scenes in which horrified motorists skid all over the pavement to
avoid giant spiders. Surrounding low hills were well suited for concealing the
arachnids until the moment they sprang onto unsuspecting dirt-bikers.
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