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The General Spider is the main antagonist of the 1990 comedy-horror film Arachnophobia. He was the leader of a new species of homicidal spiders, who seek to eradicate all living beings (especially humans) and occupy the entire natural world.
The General Spider was the true leader of the semi-titular spiders that acted as the supporting antagonists. He also had a mate in the form of the Queen Spider, but it was the "General Spider" that took the role of the main protector for the spiders as well as the one responsible for the abnormally aggressive and dangerous actions the swarm took in regards to humanity.
The "General Spider" was much larger than the other spiders (rivaled only by the Queen) and was also the most intelligent and the most malicious of the swarm as he was actively seeking to murder those that got in his way (though it was likely for what he saw was the survival of his offspring).
In the climax of the film, the "General Spider" engages in a combative fight with the film's hero, Dr. Ross Jennings, after he has the swarm attack Ross's home, which was the site of one of his nests, guarded by the Queen, who Ross killed via electrocution.
This angered the "General Spider" and as Ross tried to set fire to the nest the "General Spider" confronted him and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues in which the "General Spider" shows his remarkable intelligence as he repeatedly evades attempts by Ross to kill him with a homemade flamethrower and comes within inches of killing him on several occasions.
Finally, after the battle results in Ross toppling over and becoming trapped the "General Spider" climbs up slowly, showing that he was aware of Ross's fear and played on it (as he could have bitten the hero's foot or leg had he simply wished to kill him outright), yet this proved the fatal mistake of the "General Spider" as it climbed towards Ross's face only to walk on a small piece of wood that Dr. Jennings flicked over, causing the "General Spider" to fly into a nearby fire caused by their previous battle and gets ignited.
Yet in a final fit of rage the dying "General Spider" raced towards Dr. Jennings (while still on fire) determined not to let him leave the basement alive, only to be killed by a nailgun that also fired his flaming corpse into the nest, killing the emerging offspring as well, Dr. Ross Jennings, the ovicidal hero, promptly saved from the ensuing inferno by an exterminator (who had killed the swarm that had invaded the house above).
The General Spider was extremely aggressive and incredibly clever for a spider. Capable of quickly finding potential threats and eliminating them with ruthless effectiveness, he was the only fertile drone of his brood and thus had a desire to breed and thus spread his species as far as possible.
He took an active role in protecting his young and was particularly fierce in guarding the second-generation, who were fertile (while the drones he sent to attack the town were infertile), due to having a short life-span the General Spider's aggression was passed onto his young and thus made them a far deadlier threat than most spiders.
While very few spiders actively attack unless threatened the General Spider and his young deviate from the norm and will aggressively kill any other life-form, this includes humans, despite the size difference the General Spider is completely fearless of humans and knows how to ambush and trick them, something that puts him at the apex of animal intelligence.
The General Spider was so clever and so aggressive that it was confirmed by an expert on spiders that should his offspring succeed in spreading across the world they could become one of the largest threats to life on Earth and more than a match for humanity, possibly replacing humans as Earth's dominant species.
- The General Spider was portrayed by a real tarantula which was capable of delivering a nasty bite (while obviously not nearly as potent as its fictional counterpart). This made the spider that played the General Spider the only real dangerous animal the crew had to deal with (in contrast the spiders used for the drones were completely harmless).
- Special cosmetics and animatronics were used to make the General Spider look like an entirely new species, including a fake abdomen that made it look even larger than the tarantula that played it was.
- The tarantula that played the General Spider was said to have a dislike of the main protagonist's actor (fittingly enough). Tis mirrors a famous "feud" between a crow and one of the main protagonists of The Birds (a movie that very much inspired later natural horrors, such as Arachnophobia).