Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Vic Savage
THE CREEPING TERROR (1964). Director: "A. J. Nelson" (Vic Savage).

Sheriff Martin Gordon (Vic Savage, who also directed) discovers that a spaceship containing two very weird creatures has landed in his figurative backyard. One of these creatures, who resembles a shambling carpet with vacuum hoses on top, shuffles around devouring people whole, victims who never seem  to have the common sense to just run away from the slow-moving alien.  Martin and his wife, Brett (Shannon O'Neil) are newlyweds who would rather be spending their time alone but Martin and his deputy Barney (Brendon Boone), as well as Dr. Bradford (William Thourlby) and Colonel Caldwell (John Caresio), must investigate all of the disappearances. The creature attacks a dance at a gymnasium and seems to consume virtually all of the souls there (at least the film might have suggested the victims were hypnotized). There is some minor suspense at the end when the protagonists try to stop the alien ship's computer from broadcasting info about earthlings and their weaknesses back to the home planet. Much of the soundtrack to The Creeping Terror was lost, which is why the movie is practically narrated. It's by no means a good movie, but it has a workable plot and might have amounted to something had it been directed by Roger Corman. Savage and the making of the film were examined in the docudrama The Creep Behind the Camera. Some of the actors in Terror actually went on to have decent careers.

Verdict: Oy vey! *1/2.        


Neil A Russell said...

This is the movie that just about ruined me for science fiction films.
I saw it when I was about 7 years old and couldn't believe something that incoherent could be made and shown to an unsuspecting public.
Of course in my kid brain I didn't realize there was such a thing as a really bad independent film.
Up to this point the worst things I had seen were some of Bert Gordon's masterpieces, but then at age 6 through 8 the kind of effects that Gordon considered passable were just fine with me.
I was yet to discover Ed Wood or Herschel G Lewis and pretty much equated the quality of big bug and space monster movies with releases from Warners or Universal.
I revisited "Creeping Terror" and it's fetish driven carpet monster a few years ago when I heard news that the story of the making of CT was in the offing (headed to your review of that momentarily) and while it's just as weird as it ever was, but in a straight-line monster movie way, it's more acceptable considering how many other projects start out with good intentions and never make it to the final cut.
I've even thought there was an opening for a sequel that could be done well and even trade on the crappy original.
Although I think I'd not have the wood frame, drain hose, and rug monster except for the setup!

William said...

Sad to say, I have seen worse movies than "Creeping Terror," and maybe if Bert Gordon had made the film, while it wouldn't have been a masterpiece, it might have made for a better picture. I can't see even Gordon using such a silly monster, the grasshoppers of "Beginning of the End" notwithstanding. I love the way the victims just stand there and get eaten, or simply shove themselves into the monster's maw.

I'm surprised there hasn't been a campy sequel to this. There was even a sequel to (the far better) "Killer Shrews!"

Thanks for your very interesting comments, Neil!

Kim Scarborough said...

I can't find any reference to them on the Internet, but I know there were at least two unofficial sequels made in the 1970s by students. The second of them was filmed at the University of Michigan.

William said...

I'm not surprised to hear that. I can imagine the students probably figured they could do a better job -- they couldn't do worse, LOL! For all we know there may be dozens of unofficial sequels out there, probably made directly as comedies. Anyway, thanks for the info!