What Spiders Were Used in the Making of Arachnophobia?

What Spiders Were Used in the Making of Arachnophobia?

What Spiders Were Used in the Making of Arachnophobia?

Arachnophobia, a 1990 American horror-comedy film directed by Frank Marshall, is widely known for its realistic portrayal of spiders and the fear they can induce. The movie tells the story of a small town infested with a deadly breed of spiders, creating a tense and thrilling atmosphere. Naturally, many viewers wonder what types of spiders were used in the making of Arachnophobia.

The Avondale Spider: The Main Antagonist of the Film

The main stars of Arachnophobia were the so-called Avondale spider, scientifically known as Loxosceles laeta. These venomous spiders were chosen for their menacing appearance and the fact that they can be easily handled by trained professionals. The Avondale spider, native to South America, was a perfect choice to embody the fear factor required for the movie.

The Mexican Red-knee Tarantula: A Cuddly Companion?

Another spider featured prominently in the film was the Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula, Brachypelma smithi. Unlike the Avondale spider, this species is not deadly and is known for its calm and docile nature. It surprised many viewers to see this tarantula being handled by the main character, as it is often associated with fear and danger. However, with proper training and care, the Mexican Red-knee Tarantula became a cuddly companion on the set of Arachnophobia.

Practical Effects and Realistic Spider Replicas

In addition to using live spiders, the filmmakers employed practical effects and realistic spider replicas to enhance the fear factor and create an immersive experience for the viewers. These replicas, created by skilled prop artists, were meticulously crafted to resemble the actual species featured in the film. The attention to detail in these props added an extra layer of realism to the movie’s spider infestation.

Expert Handlers and Trainers

To ensure the safety of the cast and crew, expert spider handlers and trainers were brought on set to work with the live spiders used in the film. These professionals had a deep understanding of the behavior and handling techniques necessary to create authentic and believable spider scenes. Their expertise was essential in maintaining a controlled and safe environment during filming.

The Impact of Arachnophobia on Spider Perception

Arachnophobia, although a horror-comedy film, had a significant impact on how spiders are perceived by the general public. The movie’s realistic portrayal of spiders and their capabilities reinforced commonly held fears and phobias. However, it is worth noting that most spider species pose no real threat to humans and play an essential role in our ecosystems by controlling insect populations.

In conclusion, Arachnophobia utilized a combination of live spiders, realistic replicas, and expert handlers to create a spine-chilling experience for its viewers. The Avondale spider and the Mexican Red-knee Tarantula were the primary spiders featured in the film, each serving a different purpose. While the movie successfully played on people’s fears, it is essential to differentiate between on-screen portrayals and the reality of spiders in the natural world.


1. What types of spiders were used in the making of Arachnophobia?

The types of spiders used in the making of Arachnophobia were Avondale spiders and male and female Black Widow spiders.

2. Why were Avondale spiders selected for the film?

Avondale spiders were selected for the film because they are large and less venomous, making them safer to handle and work with on set.

3. How were the Avondale spiders trained for the movie?

The Avondale spiders used in the movie were not actually trained. They were simply placed on specific props and guided or prodded gently with a stick or a wire to achieve the desired movements.

4. How were the Black Widow spiders used in the film?

The Black Widow spiders were used to portray the more dangerous and venomous spiders in the movie. They were mainly used for close-up shots and scenes that required the appearance of a highly venomous spider.

5. Were any live spiders harmed during the making of the film?

No live spiders were harmed during the making of Arachnophobia. The production took several precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of the spiders, including the presence of professional spider handlers on set.

6. Were the actors comfortable working with the spiders?

The actors had mixed feelings about working with spiders. Some were comfortable and had no fear, while others had varying levels of discomfort. However, all necessary precautions were taken to ensure their safety during the filming process.

7. Did the filmmakers rely solely on real spiders or were there any animatronics or special effects used?

While real spiders were used in the majority of scenes, there were some scenes where animatronics and special effects were employed to create more complex or dangerous spider movements. These effects enhanced the realism while maintaining safety.

8. How were the spiders controlled during filming?

The spiders were carefully controlled during filming using trained spider handlers. These professionals would guide or redirect the spiders’ movements as needed, ensuring the safety of the cast and crew.

9. Were any spider bites or accidents reported during the making of the movie?

There were no reports of spider bites or significant accidents during the making of Arachnophobia. The production had safety measures in place and well-trained handlers to minimize any risks associated with working with live spiders.

10. How did the filmmakers create the illusion of large numbers of spiders on screen?

To create the illusion of a large number of spiders, filmmakers used a combination of real spiders, animatronics, and visual effects. This allowed them to showcase swarms of spiders without actually having to work with a dangerous or unmanageable number of live creatures.