16 August 2011

THE CREEPING TERROR/1964

Sometimes I run across a film so appallingly bad I fall in love with it. How can this be you ask? probably you don't ask this, but humor me please. Well I am a fan of bad movies and as bad as The Creeping terror is it is still not the worst film I have ever seen. Some of the stuff promoted by Something Weird Video certainly is more dismal than this mess. However director, producer  A.J. Nelson/star Vic Savage's as (Deputy Martin Gordon) z-grade science fiction slice of cheese makes the works of Ed Wood Jr. and Ted V. Mikels look more like Orson Welles at his peak. So, I recommend it to those out there who love to see a movie that makes their jaws fall open slack in disbelief. For the less refined or masochistic I would suggest taking a pass.

There is some evidence that the move never even had a theatrical release and no reviews exist from 1964 nor are any theatrical release dates recorded. It began showing up on Creature Feature type shows about 1976. I thought it was strange that no theater posters existed or at least none that I could locate. Only some DVD covers, but no theatrical posters.  Normally I find several for each film I review and often try to post two or three versions for each movie. The only thing I found here was some drawing that I do not believe is a movie poster and the DVD cover which is simply a snapshot of the opening titles.

The most notable thing about the movie is that it, like The Beast of Yucca Flats, is narrated  in an annoying fashion and the actors have very little actual dialog. I would put the amount of narration at 95% of the film. I have read that the soundtrack to the movie was last and that as a last resort they had Larry Burrell do the deadpan narration that at first is annoying but quickly becomes the most entertaining element of this lovable turkey. Other sources say that the dialog that was going to be dubbed later was simply discarded to save money.

The camera work is simply horrendous. I have seen few films with worse photography. I cannot even use the word cinematography here. It is way too white and lacks any contrast. It looks like more quality documentary footage from the 1930's. There are some odd "experimental" camera angles where obviously the camera man simply climbed up into a tree and shot down through the leaves. The acting is notably bad but it could have been worse had the actors actually had to speak their lines. I do want to make a note of one memorable thespian and that is one Jack King who plays a fat grand dad who yells out the name Bobby a million and a half times. In one scene he falls into a small creek with his shirt open and blubber bouncing as he flees the monster. It is a very strange scene and even the stranger when you realize that this guy went on become a porn star in Sweden. A couple Swedish sex romps he is credited with "starring" in are Big Fat Man and Fat Peter Horn. I have not seen these and I am not encouraging anyone out to track these things down.

Now of course the feature attraction of the film is Terror itself. If you have ever read about this film and seen the remarks about this monster I can assure you they are understatements at best. Words alone can describe this thing though walking carpet seems to come close enough. It is obviously a patch work of thick fabrics tossed over about four or five stage hands to make up the body and one man for the neck and head. It looks more than a little like those Chinese dragons you see on Chinese New Year where you can see the guy's feet even. There are some sort of plastic tubes dangling from the top of its head that gives it a Whoopie Goldberg appearance.

The thing is so slow that someone in a wheelchair could easily escape it but it devours groups at a time because there either stand there and stare it with mouth agape (as I was before the TV screen) or they are always preoccupied with making out in a car or on a blanket somewhere. Some people have the courage to fight the beast, such a folk singer at a "hootenanny" who tries to kill it with his guitar. Then there is a group of the worst trained Army soldiers ever to wear the uniform who bunch up together and decide that they need to shoot the beast from point blank range rather than from, lets say, twenty yards away. I am sure bullets travel that far. Then when the Terror attacks they do what any highly trained group of US combat personnel do: they bunch up more and then fall to the ground in a heap and let the thing slowly creep over them.

I could go on and on but why? I encourage you to see it really. At 74 minutes it is hardly longer than your average root canal. I enjoyed it really in a masochistic sort of way. It was so horrible I will probably have to watch it once or twice more. While unarguably a terrible movie it has some legend behind it and it is what I think of as a bad movie you love to loathe. I simply cannot feel unhappy when I watch something like this. Here is a good clip someone put together for Youtube. In fact it about shows the best scenes of the movie. Enjoy it, if you can.

Info on the new docu-drama Creep about Vic Savage:

Film homepage

PDF file on Vic Savage documentary CREEP











2 comments:

msmariah said...

I wonder if 8 Legged Freaks was based on this?

Bill D. Courtney said...

I am not sure see I see any link between the two films myself :( I have not read anything relating to a possible connection. What makes you thin this, something I am missing?

BTW 8 Legged Freaks is one of my favorite newer horror/action/comedy films. Seen it many times.