Tarantula is an American science fiction/horror film of the "giant monster/animal" variety. It was directed by Jack Arnold with a screenplay written by Robert M. Fresco and Martin Berkeley. Director Jack Arnold contributed to the story treatment for the movie as well. It was produced by Universal Pictures and released theatrically in the United States on December 14th, 1955. The film stars John Agar as Doctor Matt Hastings, Mara Corday as Stephanie "Steve" Clayton, Leo G. Carroll as the antagonist, Professor Gerald Deemer, Nestor Paiva as Sheriff Jack Andrews and Ross Elliott as Joe Burch. The film takes place in the Arizona desert and involves an unscrupulous scientist, Professor Deemer, who develops a serum that he believes will promote nutritional food growth. The serum has adverse affects on some of his test subjects, including Deemer's research assistant Eric Jacobs as well as a Mexican red rumped tarantula. The arachnid grows to enormous size and begins wreaking havoc.