Monday, March 23, 2009

The Creeping Terror (Vic Savage, 1964)

A precursor to esteemed cinematic works like, A Taste of Cherry and Dear Emma, Sweet Böbe (a precursor, in that, they are works of cinema that were created after 1964), The Creeping Terror (a.k.a. The Crawling Monster) is a film that I felt like I not only watched, but also endured. An engrossing parable about the dangers of lethargic aliens from outer space and an invaluable teaching tool on how not to flee from a slow-moving monstrosity, the sensations I felt while viewing this film were indescribable in their oddness. Shocked, yet strangely enamoured by its incompetency, I was book smartishly in awe of the sheer ineptitude that was unfolding before me. Everything from the creeping to the terror was extremely out of whack. Sure, I haven't the slightest idea what "whack" is. But whatever it is, this flick is completely out of it. It was almost as if director-star-con man Vic Savage (credited as A.J. Nelson) had no clue as to what he was doing. Now, unlike most people, I'm no expert when it comes to acting, cinematography, dramatic pacing, creature effects, lighting, sound design, and basic storytelling, but even I know that a film shouldn't be narrated from beginning to end like that... you know, unless it's a documentary about chlamydia or squirrels. The narrator bluntly informs the audience what's going on in a terse, matter-of-fact manner every step of the way. Apparently, the film was shot without sound, and only a handful of lines were dubbed in later. Which would explain why the narrator narrates even while the characters are talking with one another. This off-kilter approach to dialogue gave the film a real unfinished quality. For instance, a bizarre subplot that promotes the benefits of married life (yard work followed by efficient intercourse) comes literally out of nowhere, and does nothing but perplex the viewer. So much so, that you begin to forget that there's a slothful space fiend on the loose outside.

Landing in the hills of Angel County via stock footage of a rocket taking off played backwards, shambling creatures from another world slowly begin to devour every person it comes in contact with. Luckily (for the otherworldly creature), the extraterrestrial beasts' slowness isn't a hindrance, as it seems to have landed in a zip code where all worst runners live. One of the aliens is trapped in its spaceship, while the other is out and about eating people. Looking like a large soiled blanket crossed with a recently fisted anus, the creature, its flailing centipede head covered with coiled tentacles, consumes its human victims whole, and does not discriminate. The only thing standing in its way are newlyweds Martin (Vic Savage) and Brett Gordon (Shannon O'Neil), a man of science (William Thourlby), and a smattering of helmeted soldiers.

The lack of basic fleeing skills displayed by the characters in The Creeping Terror was embarrassing to say the least. In fact, some of these "flee-jects" seemed to hurl themselves into the space monster's gaping maw. It's one thing to stand still and get eaten, as the spiritual upheaval one must go through as they're about to be chewed to death must be intense. I mean, coming face-to-coiled-tentacle with a large soiled blanket crossed with a recently fisted anus is not an everyday occurrence for most people. However, to willingly throw yourself into the creature's mouth hole doesn't make a lick of sense to me. If anything, you should attempt to run away upon seeing the creature. Seriously, there's no reason why the contents of an entire hootenanny should have been masticated by a lurching behemoth. I kept yelling, "Run, you stupid motherfuckers, run!" But they didn't listen. At least the lead hootenannier went out like a hero; crashing his guitar feverishly into the creature's blanketed anus.

Running deficiencies aside, the film does have one bright spot, and that spot is the chaos-laden dance hall sequence. It's true that the film doesn't really explain how the glacially paced monster was able to enter the dance hall unnoticed (two words: cover charge), or even how it opened the door (it doesn't have hands). Nonetheless, it got in there, and I'm glad it did, as we're treated to some authentic early sixties dance moves (the woman in the tight gold lame trousers really knew how to shake it) and some of the sexiest devouring I have ever not she-bopped to. The sight of faceless female legs futilely kicking air (their taupe stockings flailing to the point of sane madness) while being consumed by a colossal expanse is the stuff erotic fantasies are made of.

The director may have botched a million things in this film, but the decision to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the dangling legs of the dancers being eaten was such a sublimely perverted one. It almost made the experience of watching the film worth while. The key word there being "almost," as all the shapely, stocking-encased legs dangling sexily from a recently fisted anus in the world couldn't save this dud from being the unmitigated disaster of galactic proportions that it actually is.

video uploaded by The Creeping Terror


  1. I've actually never even heard of this film before. Thanks for posting about it. I guess this might be one better avoided though.

  2. Yeah, but it's more entertaining than Prom Night '08.

  3. classic crap-fest.

    I like the soldiers - come on let's go. Let's go. come on. lets go. x5

    great dialogue - and their grenades - instead of exploding, cause soil to land on the carpet monster.


  4. The best part of the dance hall clip begins at the 4:30 mark and lasts for about 8 seconds...probably the only 8 seconds of the entire film that are worth watching.

  5. Shake that gold lamé-covered ass.

  6. Something to check out:

  7. I saw this at eighteen when it was late night on channel 4 on the movies. 1979 to 1985. It was first movie to be on video. I loved it .it was time capsule of early sixties