Sunday, October 24, 2010

Canon MST3K Review: The Creeping Terror

With Halloween fast approaching, many television networks have been showing horror movie after horror movie, full of monsters and mayhem and all sorts of terror. Well, one movie that hopefully will not be shown is the 1964 horror classic The Creeping Terror. Considered one of the worst movies of all-time, The Creeping Terror was produced, and directed by Art J. Nelson, who also starred in the film under the alias Vic Savage. The Creeping Terror also starred a giant monster composed mainly of sewn together carpet pieces and powered by a team of college students. Since the film was shot in the desert, I'm absolutely positive that being under that suit was not a fun experience to say the least. The film also stars a bunch of people you've never heard of, and for good reason. The plot of this monstrosity is rather simple, a monster has landed from outer space, and has started to eat people. So it's up to acting sheriff Martin (Savage), his wife, his deputy, a scientist, and the country's worst infantry unit to slow this thing down before everyone gets swallowed up. A few thoughts about this film.

- The monster, to put it nicely, moves at a glacial pace. I've seen houses move faster than this monster. So to say it's creeping is accurate. Nevertheless, despite its lack of speed, the monster is an effective killing machine for one reason and one reason only. Each one of his victims refuse to escape in any form. With the exception of the boyfriend leaving his girl to die by crab-walking on out of there, the victims just scream a lot and stare into the monster's eyes, waiting for it to crawl over them and swallow them whole. As Mike wondered during the film, "did people not run during the 50s"? Even if the victims were to walk at a brisk pace, they would avoid their doom, but I guess that was just too advanced for this film.

- To make matters worse, since the monster really couldn't do anything, all of its victims had to physically crawl in to the contraption of carpets. This is especially noticable in the first feeding scene, where the girl in the bikini is eaten by the monster. What is also noticable is that the camera lingers for a rather long time on the girl's backside and legs squirming around trying to get out (or in, I suppose) of the monster's clutches. This is not the last time that we get to see this shot, and it's shown so much that I wonder if the director has a fetish involving women squirming in giant monsters or something. 

- Most of the film's dialogue is narrated. In fact, the narration is so through that instead of hearing the characters carry out conversations, we basically get a summary of what is being talked about from the narrator. It's kind of annoying, to be honest, and being told that the colonel told the scientist to go to hell doesn't have the same impact as hearing the words from the horse's mouth would. According to rumor, Nelson may not have had much of choice, as it's been mentioned that the original soundtrack was lost and in a last-ditch effort, Nelson was forced to have the narrator talk over the film. Of course, it's also been reported that Nelson just wanted to save money, so he had a narrator talk in a studio over the footage. Considering the poor camera work, lack of production values, and cheap monster, I tend to believe the latter is true.

- Then again, that may have been a smart idea, as what little dialogue spoken by the actors is not only poorly dubbed, but the actors are just awful. It seems as if whoever is in the movie is unable to accurately portray fear, anger, or much else for that matter. Some of the acting is so bad that it needs to be seen to be believed.

- The most confusing sequence in the whole movie, and by golly there are a lot of them, is when Martin brings his deputy Barney over to his house for drinks. About halfway through, the narrator starts jumping in telling the audience about how Martin's marriage has changed his relationship with Barney, and basically saying that Barney should suck it up because getting married is what real men do or something. I think somebody involved with the film was tired of his friends ragging on his marriage. The scene ends with the happy couple making out like two clumsy teenagers, while poor Barney is sitting right next to them on the couch. Well, I think that's just rude, and really puts Barney in an awkward situation. Judge for yourself and see if you agree:

There's more, oh yes, there's more. Like the hootenanny and the third-rate folk rock, and the dance hall scene where all sorts of subplots pop up out of nowhere, and none of them gets resolved. Also, there's the mother that checks her baby's temperature in an unpleasant manner, although thankfully it's not shown, only implied, and that's not even mentioning the worst army in the history of cinema, accepting the team in the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now. For bad movie lovers, this flick has it all, poor cinematography, a terrible plot, bad acting, bad sound, one of the worst monsters in cinematic history, women dancing in tight pants, and even a preachy message about marriage. Bottom line, this movie is so bad it's good, and the riffing by the MST3K crew, while humorous, is almost unnecessary due to the sheer ridiculousness of the original film. The Creeping Terror is not good, not good at all, but it is oddly captivating and at least it's not as bad as Red Zone Cuba. I'll give the movie a 1 out of 10, and the episode itself a 5.5 out of 10, as there's quite a few funny bits in between the film.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review of "The Creeping Terror". Definitely one of the worst movies ever made. In fact, my buddy Pete Schuermann is hoping to establish it as the absolute worst in his upcoming documentary, "Creep!"

    Pete has already snagged interviews with much of the film's original cast and crew. Next spring he'll begin shooting reenactments of the notorious behind-the-scenes activities of director Art J. Nelson, a con man, pimp and drug addict who was known to "audition" 13-year-old girls and completed the film only because he was threatened with jail time if he didn't.

    The documentary will answer once and for all what happened to the original soundtrack as well as a host of other questions that aficionados of the film have been arguing about since it was first released in 1964.

    You can check out the trailer at