The Creeping Terror
Year of Release: 1964
Also Known As: The Crawling Monster
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Running Time: 76 minutes (1:16)
Director: Vic Savage
Vic Savage ... Martin Gordon
Shannon O'Neil ... Brett Gordon
William Thourlby ... Dr. Bradford
John Caresio ... Col. James Caldwell
Brendon Boone ... Barney the Deputy
Byrd Holland ... Sheriff
Larry Burrell ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
A newlywed couple's honeymoon is interrupted when an alien spaceship lands near their home in Angel County, California.
The Creeping Terror, remindin' us that outer space carpet creatures don't like people lookin' up their undercarriage anymore'n our terrestrial tomatoes do. Though the monsters're significantly more merciful than the feminazis are, cause they'll just slurp you down into the depths of their shag carpet crap factories. The women on the other hand'll either tear off your tallywhacker an feed it to you at gunpoint, or initiate marriage proceedins dependin' on how ugly she is. An speakin' of things we're thankful for (cause hey, who wants to live if you've been Bobbitized?) I started thinkin' bout all the things I'm thankful for since I didn't have nothin' better to do on account of my TV antenna blowin' off the roof in last night's blizzard. Snow also buried my splittin' maul which left me with no choice but to axe the turkey Skunky Hernandez gave me with an old rusty garden hoe. It didn't exactly go quietly either, so I realized the first thing I was thankful for was not havin't to spend the day at Tetnis' place gettin' my huevos sewn back on. I'm also thankful for gettin' to share the day with my beloved family, even though Shankles did roll around in the turkey pan tryin' to scratch an itch an ended up leavin' about a half pound of hiney hair in it. He's a good guy, that Shankles, even if he has a minor problem with proper sanitation protocol at times. An I dunno where I'd be without Apollo, prolly in the ER after gettin' spurred into oblivion by that factious fowl til I looked like Mel Gibson in The Man Without a Face, if he hadn't been there runnin' interference for me like a rodeo clown when that truculent turkey got a lucky peck in on my Achilles tendon an I folded up like a hide-a-bed. An sure, I coulda accepted the invitation I get from Bambi Pankins every year an not hadda cook my own dinner, but frankly I get slobbered on a lot less hangin' out with Apollo, an end up with fewer bite wounds tryin' to reclaim the inevitably stolen drumstick when Shankles sneaks up on the counter an takes off like Andy Dick after a diamond necklace heist. Sides, after five years of raisin' those triplets her twins've lost their singular sensationalism an she's the only person I know who's got stretch marks on 'er areolas. I also deliberately chose this turkey of a flick to remind myself it's important to be thankful that most movies actually have some kinda point to get across, an can be enjoyed in at least some capacity based upon their overall content, which we measure in the three crucial categories of; blood, breasts, an beasts, as is the industry standard passed down to us by one Joe Bob Briggs. This movie, for instance, has no breasts, little blood, an a beast made outta soiled shag that looks like it got torn out of a meth house, so it's pretty important to be thankful cinematically as well as spiritually. An I'll tell you somethin' else I'm thankful for; I'm thankful that I don't ever hafta watch this turkey again, cause I haven't been in this much pain since Tetnis dug out that nail I accidentally shot into my foot while I was helpin' Billy Hilliard put the roof on his wood shed.
Still, I'ma try to be fair cause it's important that every movie get its day in court, specially when the death penalty's on the table an its exhausted all its appeals. Whatever else you wanna say about this movie, it might have the most appropriate title in movie history, an if you can find better flick featurin' a barbaric blankie that engulfs sinners, I'd like to hear it. Yeah okay, Death Bed from 1977, fine. But this one's got a spaceship, too. All the same, I've never been one to shy away from learnin' new things, unless it meant havin' to show up for school, an I've chosen these three items to pass on to you fine people out there. First, it's important to make people/things feel as good about themselves as possible, even if it means stackin' the deck in their favor a little. For instance, the monster in the movie would never catch a single victim if they were to utilize a full 7% of their cognitive function, or 15% of their maximum escape velocity. Now sure, these kind people may've been swallowed by the ravenous rug as a result of their empathy, but just think what all those meals did for the creature's self esteem. Second, monsters can have eatin' disorders just like anyone else, so if you happen to see a monster in need of a helpin' hand, be sure to do what you can to aid in the digestion process. Sides, once you've been eaten an're bein' toted around inside the monster's carpet carapace it's pretty much over, so you may as well help drag any current victims down its gabardine constructed gullet. An third, when a van loves the woolen, it can't keep its mind on nothin' else. You mighta already been familiar with some of those, but even so, this movie really blows the lid off a number of scientific theories about space and the origins of life that'd been previously considered incontrovertible. So for those of you who haven't seen this one, I'll now recite its earthshakin' revelation verbatim: "he was sure the creature had come from beyond our solar system because it had adapted to our environment so quickly." Now, what this means for you Laymen out there is that there definitely is no life in our solar system that could ever live on a planet like Earth. Europa? Life maybe, but good luck keepin' it alive here. Mars? Microbes, perhaps, if you're lucky, but the instant any meteor carryin' 'em hits our atmosphere they're gonna get incinerated like an incriminatin' paper trail at the IRS. No, only life from outside our solar system could ever thrive here, because the further away a creature comes from, an the more likely it is to have evolved on a planet rotatin' a star completely different than ours, the better. I'll bet you thought evolvin' in similar conditions'd be the ticket for survival on Earth, didn't you? Go ahead, it's okay to admit it, even I was stupid enough to buy that crap before bein' properly educated by the scientist in the flick. An this is precisely why we cannot discount movies of lesser quality, cause they *all* have their own bits of wisdom to contribute for the bettering of our daily lives.
The movie begins with a drunken Spirograph drawin' an some poorman's Planet of the Apes music til we switch over to some couple forcin' yawns to create the illusion of fatigue. Then the narrator chimes in an tells us these're Martin an Brett who've just eloped cause Brett got 'erself into trouble after a wild night in the backseat durin' the Robot Monster/Bride of the Monster drive-in double feature. Elsewhere, we've also got this rocket havin' to pull itself back down to Cape Kennedy cause the driver accidentally left his Tang in the break room. The next day, the sheriff of Chawdribble county (Ben) hears about this spaceship landin' on the outskirts of town an starts to panic when he realizes there might be a buncha belligerent ray-gun happy Martians out there if they landed anywhere near his whiskey still, so he an Deputy Barney head out to make sure things don't turn into the intergalactic Wild Bunch. Cept while that's goin' on, this thing that looks like it was stitched together from the floor mats I hadda toss outta the Topaz after Apollo ate the hindquarters off of a gangrenous deer carcass an got car sick on 'em, starts crawlin' outta the spaceship from A Trip to the Moon. Takes awhile too, cause the monster has the longest, classiest, shag carpet bridal train I've seen since my aunt Gidget married that carnival barker. Anyway, Ben (he's Marty's uncle) stops Marty on the road an gives 'im the "Jesus Christ it's a bear skin rug, get in the car!" routine an they head out to the crash where Ben's lifetime of study into the science of beatin' the tar outta Beatniks with a billy club tells him the ship hasta be from space cause he sure hadn't seen nothin' like it over at Sly Dell's Used Cars an Discount Restraining Orders. Then Ben crawls underneath the ship to make sure the oil pan didn't crack on impact an gets sucked up into the ship an mauled by what sounds like a lion passin' a kidney stone an the kids walk calmly back to the police cruiser to radio the station. Course, as usual, the feds assume that a sheriff's department with the utmost confidence of an entire population of 849 can't handle somethin' as straightforward as an alien invasion, so they send Colonel Dink an the dirty dozen out there with this scientist (Dr. Bradford) to make sure Marty an Barney don't rube everything up. Then Colonel Dink crawls up in the ship an finds this thing that looks like several dozen shop vacs died in its creation tied up with its wallet missin' like it tried hirin' a dominatrix on Craigslist.
The next day, Colonel Dink tells Martin to make sure everybody thinks they're investigatin' a plane crash an to make sure Ben's wife realizes she'll be drummed outta town as a Communist if she don't agree to pretend that Ben ran off with a hooker. Meanwhile, the callous comforter starts eatin' this chick whose boyfriend ditches 'er an ends up takin' so long to completely ingest 'er that its Mama shows up an tells it to quit playin' with its food. By this point, Bradford's gotten it into his head that he's gonna climb into the ship to bullshit with the creature an try to further man's knowledge of space travel an possibly uncover some top-secret alien crochetin' tips, but Marty don't care cause he's got a hard-on an a honey at home. Marty also figures that an alien invasion's the perfect time to sneak up on Brett while she's cookin' an scare the bejezus out of 'er. 'Course then they start makin' out cause she's got Stockholm syndrome, an Barney hasta make noises like he needs the Heimlich maneuver til they acknowledge his existence. Then the narrator explains that Marty an Barney're driftin' apart cause all they really had in common to begin with was their desire to chase skirts together an after Marty an Brett start tryin' to suck out each others' fillins again Barney ends up leavin' after bein' completely repulsed by the couple's monogamous behavior an feelings fueled by genuine affection, rather than a drive-in movie an a jug of cheap wine like regular decent people. The next day, some unfulfilled housewife is takin' 'er baby's temperature while the kid's screamin' like Sam Kinison gettin' a Brazilian, cause the dumb broad forgot she's usin' a rectal thermometer an failed to wash it off after its last use. Then she goes out to hang some laundry an when the monster oozes by it's positively P.O.'d when it sees what could very well be a distant relative bein' strung up like a gutted Whitetail an slithers over to chew 'er up like an arm in a planer pineapple. After that it starts feelin' a little better, but then it happens upon this blimp who looks like Stanton Friedman after supersizin' his Double Quarter Pounder meal for about six years, an ends up eatin' both Stanton an his grandson who tries sneakin' away from Stanton once the sun starts bringin' out his natural full-bodied bouquet.
Meanwhile, Branford's been fartin' around inside the spaceship an has come to the conclusion that it musta come from a long way off cause he doesn't recognize the license plate an cause no self respectin' monster from this galaxy'd be caught dead wearin' a rug with that ornamental pattern that looks like the outside of a cracker tin. You know what I'm talkin' about right? Remember the carpet in your grandparents' bathroom that they used to have back in 1977 til they finally figured out how stupid it was to have carpet in the bathroom? Right, that stuff. Then the monster hits this pack of scrub scouts who're out in the woods listenin' to this folksy wimp singin' a song about bein' stuck in the friend zone, an they're all so high on opium an good vibrations that they just figure they're havin' another hallucination where they're in Soviet Russia where carpet munches you, an they get packed away like a pan of brownies at a Tupperware party. So finally, after the stack of missin' persons reports gets so tall that Marty can no longer see the smoke alarm on the ceilin', he an Barney figure there must be a second monster sides the one in the ship an so he tells the Colonel about it an the Colonel calls up President Johnson to get permission to commence carpet bombin'. Only the Colonel's about half an hour behind the times, cause pretty quick The Draping Terror shows up at a dance hall where a buncha folks afflicted with debilitatin' whiteness're doin' that dance where everyone pretends they're Donald Duck dryin' his ass after he gets outta the shower, an eats the entire guest list. Poor monster's gonna be bound up for a month tryin' to digest that much polyester an corduroy, but at least he got that dancin' snuffed out. So while the Tapestry O' Terror's out buyin' 'imself a bottle of Pepcid, Colonel Dink calls up Marty an tells 'im to get his butt back to the ship cause he saw a farm truck fulla Mexicans go by an he wants to make sure nobody steals the hubcaps offa the spaceship while he an the dirty dozen're out roastin' the rug. Unfortunately, the monster only creeps when it's on screen, the rest of the time it morphs into a magic carpet an flies around like a prop from Aladdin, an before they can do anything it's already showed up at Dry Humper's Hill where it proceeds to devour sinners an make love to 1959 Skoda Felicia. By this point, the Colonel's pretty P.O.'d about not gettin' to kill anything in the last three days, an he decides he ain't waitin' around for the rape kit results to come back from AAA, so he takes the dirty dozen out to fry some fabric. Cuttin' off here, though I'm certain you'll be shocked to know this one's in the public domain an can be checked out on Youtube. Here's a link:
Alrighty, well, this is one of those rare benchmarkingly bad movies I use to measure just how bad something really is. If you've been reading these reviews for any length of time, you're already familiar with the fact that 99% of all "worst movie ever" comments you see on the IMDB are generally the result of an inability to articulate, and a lack of perspective. There're a lot of people out there who rag on movies like Ghoulies or DeepStar Six and claim that they're the absolute pinnacle of bad movies, as though they've got even a tiny grasp of what they're talkin' about, and because those might be the only non-mainstream movies they've ever seen. Those people need to watch something like The Creeping Terror for a little perspective, cause this one's in serious contention for bein' the worst movie ever made. But these kinda movies really need to exist, because without them, you don't have enough people out there reminding everyone that it could be worse. Admittedly, the monster is so remarkably bad (I think it's fair to say that it's probably the worst monster in cinematic history, even if there are a few movies that're worse on the whole) that there is a small degree of "so bad it's good" quality hanging in the air, but the novelty of the badness wears off pretty quickly and you're left feeling depressed at the idea that people were genuinely trying to make a good movie with this. And of course, being what it was, the monster was so hard to manipulate that the absurdity of something this slow actually capturing and consuming something is nothing short of hilarious. This is mostly made possible due to the fact that a majority of the victims forget about the appendages that sprouted from their lower torsos, which could be used for escape purposes if necessary. Your really bad movies have a tendency to use this countermeasure to ensure the cripplingly sluggish monster ever gets its paws on somebody, and this one's so awkward and unconventional that the victims have to help the monster swallow them. I'd imagine there were people inside it to help pull them in as well, presumably the same ones making it move. It'd be one thing if the problems ended there, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The drudgingly boring narration is thought to have been used because the original sound files were lost, though it has also been suggested that it was done as a cost cutting measure. The former seems more likely, because if they were worried so much about costs you'd think they wouldn't have bothered to have a soundtrack. The narration explaining how Martin and Barney have been drifting apart ever since Martin's marriage to Brett is particularly amusing, even before considering it serves no real function in the movie but to explain what cannot be articulated due to a lack of spoken dialog. Scenes like that are another thing, cause even at 75 minutes this movie drags terribly; due in equal parts to scenes that're irrelevant, the fact that the cinematographer holds the camera on things that don't matter for extended periods of time, and every shot takes an eternity to develop. The movie science is another spectacular failure but even beyond that, basic reasoning skills are a completely foreign concept here, illustrated best by the notion that the monster must come from a long way off *because* it adapted so quickly to our environment. This movie rejects conventional wisdom and will not be bound by your notions of deductive reasoning, so quit tryin' to force your vision of sanity upon it. Bizarrely, it also seems as though they were attempting to inject a certain degree of sex appeal into it, cause I don't think I've ever seen so many makeout scenes in a black and white movie in my life. I realize it sounds funny to suggest that something as tame as makeout could be considered injecting sex appeal, but it's pretty old, so it seems plausible. In all honesty, there's so much wrong with this thing that picking on the little things like visible shadows of the crew members and seeing cars in the background behind the creature would be spiking the ball, and besides, I think you probably get the picture at this point.
Okay then, I guess there's nothin' left but to show the surveillance photos of this thing violatin' that vintage automobile to its wife and see if that at least yields some entertainment. The plot, I suppose is alright. It's mostly just the standard science fiction fare pioneered in the 50s, but there're some little things about it that come off as preposterous. The mood, for instance, conveys absolutely zero sense of dread or threat to any of the primary cast. I mean, there's a shag carpet space critter crawlin' around town slurpin' down folks like shakes at a malt shop and our heroes're sneakin' into Martin's house to try scarin' the crap out of his bride. An how is it that the sheriff gets mauled to death by the monster inside the ship if it's restrained? I dunno about all the subsequent crimes against humanity, but I'd think even Lionel Hutz could get the creature off on this particular murder charge. So I dunno, the plot is alright, but the subtleties necessary to make the plot seem realistic just aren't there. The acting is pretty rank, at least in the scenes where any voice recordings survived, otherwise you've honestly got a blessing in disguise with that narrator preventing even more ineptitude from shining through. Though the minor characters are definitely worse (most people who've seen it will recall the woman in the dance hall's "my God, what is it?!" line that's used as the stinger in the Mystery Science Theater episode), the main cast reeks too. I'm certain you'll be surprised to find out that the director was also the star, on top of his additional producing and editing duties. To be completely fair, I don't think a single line from John Caresio or William Thourlby made it into the movie, so I can't speak for them. Here's who matters and why, so try to stay awake for this: William Thourlby (Castle of Evil, Destination Inner Space), Byrd Holland (Nightmare Circus, The Toy Box, One Million AC/DC), Louise Lawson (Rosemary's Baby), Larry Burrell (They Saved Hitler's Brain).
The special effects, I think I've covered pretty well. Seriously, what more is there to say? The rug's goddamned atrocious. Besides a little blood on the faces of a few victims (it's black and white, so one victim might be covered in burns, it's hard to say), the only other thing worth mentioning is the special effects failing where the monster's supposed to be lifting a car up off the ground to roll it down a hill, only you can see the car rocking even when the monster's not touching it. "Unbelievable" doesn't do it justice as a description. The shooting locations are possibly the high point, I guess. In the sense that there aren't any other aspects that aren't abysmal failures. Some scenes were filmed at the Spahn Ranch, which would later become infamous as the residence of Charlie Manson and his fugged up followers, with the interior shots having been completed in Glendale, California. The indoor shots are pretty dull, though it's sometimes interesting to look around the interiors of residences from this era to see the old appliances and things like that. The soundtrack is pretty disorganized and has little connection to what's happening on screen. A lot of it sounds like a high school marching band from 1947 playing during halftime at a football game, with a lot of horn and snare drum action. Almost has a military feel to it, and while there is some military presence in the movie, they don't restrict those tracks to the sequences with military involvement. There's also some silly calliope music that'd be better fit for an episode of Bugs Bunny, and a whole lot of swing music that they were obviously very proud of. The swing music, admittedly, is not entirely out of place, because it plays inside a residence and at a dance hall. So it's not exactly misplaced, it's just goofy. I kinda like it. Overall, this movie's a catastrophe of cinematic importance, and for that reason I recommend everyone check it out, even if it's just viewed with Mystery Science Theater commentary. I don't recommend it because it's good, or fair, or anything short of excruciating, but because perspective is critical in the movie viewing process. Without it, you could end up spending the rest of your lives on internet forums screaming at previously unknown individuals about how Carnosaur was absolutely the worst thing ever put to celluloid, when any sensible person can tell you just how much worse it can get. So check it out, but keep a six pack or a bottle handy, you're gonna need it.