10 Most Messed Up Horror Movie Families

9. The Merrye Family - Spider Baby

House of 1000 Corpses Baby Firefly
American General Pictures

Because nothing screams "family activity" quite like sawing off someone's leg...

The oldest movie to be featured on this list, 1967's Spider Baby has gone on to be revered as somewhat of a cult classic in the decades since its initial release. It may not have caused much of a stir back then, but the picture has managed to find an audience due to DVD and Blu-ray releases in more recent years.

Helmed by future Coffy and Foxy Brown director Jack Hill, headlined by horror royalty in the shape of Lon Chaney Jr. and with a fun early role for genre favourite Sid Haig, Spider Baby focusses on the twisted Merrye family.

Chaney serves as the caretaker of the Merrye family home and the carer of the family's three orphaned, adult children. The Merrye name is one haunted by tragedy, though, with each family member suffering with a genetic condition that makes them regress mentally once they hit puberty - and from there, they become more violent and murderous.

This 'Merrye Sydnrome' has been kept secret for decades by the family, with the help of Chaney's Bruno - and we eventually find out that older, even more insane members of the clan reside in the family home's basement.

Dotted across Spider Baby, there's death, there's rape, there's cat killing (and eating!), there's bug-munching (largely from Jill Banner's 'Spider Baby') and there's a consistent sense of unrest and dread through the film's brisk 80-minute run time.


Chatterer of stuff, writer of this, host of that, Wrexham AFC fan.