In the first installment of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, Peter Parker returns from his high school field trip drenched in sweat and in desperate need of a nap. Through a tumultuous combination of stupid luck and fate, Peter’s trip to Columbia University’s genetics lab is about to change his life. A mutated “super spider”, possessing many abilities from three different arachnids, pushed back onto the unassuming nerd’s outstretched wrist, biting Peter’s hand, leaving two disturbing puncture marks in its wake.
Stumbling into the privacy of his bedroom, Peter begins to pass out as he lies shivering on the floor. As the Columbia scientist’s presentation replays in his mind, we are treated to fast, flashing images of a giant arachnid looming above the camera between flashes of light. Now, if you’re a fan of Italian supernatural horror (and given Sam Raimi’s previous work in the horror genre, chances are you are), you’ll recognize this big old spider from the movie. from Lucio Fulci’s 1981 “The Beyond.” For everyone else, the director’s commentary on “Spider-Man” will provide some illuminating context. Supposedly, with little money in the budget to execute Peter’s fever dream as scripted, Bob Murawski (one of the film’s two editors) came to the rescue, stitching together footage from the credits of opening, Raimi’s previous dark superhero flick “Darkman,” and yes, Fulci’s “Afterlife.”
If you’ve seen “The Beyond,” you know that explaining why, exactly, the spider kick happens is no easy task (the movie is notoriously dreamlike and hard to describe). But long story short, a character researching a haunted house falls off a ladder thanks to a well-timed lightning strike and is eaten alive by spiders. Peter Parker should consider himself lucky to have been nibbled!