|THE CREEPING TERROR
|Copyright 1964 Metropolitan International Pictures.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 12 April 2003.
- Martin & Brett - A deputy sheriff and his new bride. They are poor examples of main characters (especially Martin, he tends to slouch when sitting).
- The Narrator - Here is the movie's true main character.
- Dr. Bradford - The world's leading expert on communicating with aliens.
- Col. Caldwell - Young for a senior officer, but the inexperience explains both his lack of leadership and two left feet.
- Ben - The old and gruff sheriff who gets eaten early on.
- Barney - Deputy and bachelor friend of Martin's.
- Jeff - Forest ranger. The only person to beat Ben in the race to the creature's maw.
- Almost Everyone Else - Monster chow.
- The Creeping Terror - Ahhhh! A hideous monster from outer space! It is coming after me, crawling, lurching its way down the hall! Look at it! See how it hungers for my flesh as it drags itself inexorably closer! (Growing bored.) Yup, still coming.
|The movie's first warning signs of impending boredom and doom can be seen early on. First, the Narrator starts talking and rarely pauses for breath until the ending credits. Second, the alien rocket lands on Earth. Landing is accomplished by running the launch of a real rocket, possibly a Gemini mission, in reverse. And third, the Creeping Terror crawls out of the rocket, thus providing the audience with a clear view.
Some people describe the title monster as a killer rug and that is pretty darn accurate. The Creeping Terror does look like a mound of upholstery or carpet. It also sports a stalk which, if found growing on the edge of a garden, you might mistake for some sort of weed. It moves so slow that moss appears fast in comparison. That the creature somehow manages to catch people and ingest them (via a gaping orifice in the front) can only be attributed to special effects. There are many shots of feet disappearing into the Terror's maw. Yeah, those sort of special effects.
The time is around 5:30 AM, Martin and Brett are returning from their honeymoon when they see the Sheriff's vehicle speeding down the road. The cars pull over and the occupants talk about what Jeff reported. The forest ranger said that he thought a plane had crashed in the woods. Proceeding to the location, they find Jeff's truck abandoned outside the rocket. Ben crawls in to see what is inside; Martin and Brett hear the sheriff screaming and gunshots. They wisely back away and call for assistance. An Army unit is dispatched to secure the rocket, but the soldiers have to move a tree that mysteriously fell across the road. I have no idea how it got there.
Up to this point the characters have said all of six sentences. The damn Narrator is explaining everything else, while we watch the actor's lips move. Complaining about this is a double-edge sword. The filmmakers do try to dub in dialog when Dr. Bradford arrives. Their efforts make Hong Kong kung fu films appear professional. I ended up having a love/hate relationship with the Narrator's unending contribution.
Bradford examines the rocket and its contents. The ship is filled with instruments (suspiciously familiar to my human eyes) and, to beat all, another monster is tied to the wall like some sort of pet dog. The scientist attempts to communicate with Creeping Terror #2, but only succeeds in frustrating himself. Meanwhile, the other Creeping Terror wanders the countryside, gobbling up random people. A woman necking with her boyfriend: eaten. Another woman who is hanging laundry, with a clothespin on her tongue (weird, and I bet she is some sort of closet masochist): et. A boy and his rotund grandfather: also et.
At long last the bingeing beast finds the smorgasbord, I mean dance hall. You really have to see the people dancing to believe this. There is one girl wearing a dress more befitting June Cleaver in the kitchen, but right next to her is "Hoochie Mama." Sparkling skintight pants, a bare midriff, and all sorts of jiggling gave the latter dancer her name. There is also a man who appears to be suffering from some sort of mental illness (my wife informed me that he was sane, just not a competent dancer). The Creeping Terror drags itself into the club and backs the crowd into a corner. It eats every single person, including two patrons who were not cornered and wisely waited around until it could eat them too.
Next stop on the entree express is the local park 'n' smooch. A few couples become monster chow. What is puzzling is the time of day - it appears to be early in the afternoon. People making out in cars and a club full of customers at lunchtime?
The Army platoon attempts to stop the rampaging Terror (I feel funny calling it a rampage when the thing moves like cold molasses and only eats stupid people), but they soon become kibble. This is facilitated by the soldier's use of outdated tactics. They clumped together like a bunch of civil war veterans! The creature swallowed them all in just one bite! Caldwell finally destroys the Creeping Terror with a grenade, though he hurts himself.
Performing an impromptu autopsy on the alien, Dr. Bradford shoves his hand into the heap of dead flesh and pulls out a mass of circuitry. The discovery causes the scientist to panic. He jumps into a vehicle and rushes back to the rocket. Once there, he attempts to access a console and a small explosion results. Creeping Terror #2 is freed by the blast. It chases Bradford, but he avoids becoming chow by crawling away. (Why didn't anyone else think of that?) Martin arrives just in time; he rams the Terror with his vehicle, killing the monster.
Bradford tells Martin and Brett that he now understand the creature's purpose: it was designed to eat people and analyze them. The information is relayed back to a data bank aboard the rocket. With both of the gathering units dead, the ship will probably transmit the collected information to the intelligence that designed the system. The deputy rushes to destroy the machinery before it is too late.
Oops, too late.
The pity here is that the creature's ultimate purpose, consuming humans to sequence their DNA and RNA, is actually pretty thoughtful. Why fight a war against mankind when a genetically engineered virus (it could cause a deadly plague or sterilization) can do the job with less effort and risk? Unfortunately, the idea is wrapped in this boring movie. The budget is probably to blame as much as any particular person.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Sometimes the credits do not really matter.
- The sun is directly overhead at 5:30 AM.
- Even being halfway down something's digestive tract will not muffle your screams.
- Marriage = instant social death.
- Guitars are not effective as weapons.
- Clumsy people should not be issued grenades.
- The extraterrestrial version of a firewall is very literal.
- Attempting to vandalize an alien spaceship is a good workout.
- 4 mins - That does not look like the rocketship we watched "landing."
- 10 mins - And they walk quickly away from whatever it was that ate the sheriff (this is a pretty effective measure).
- 26 mins - No wonder the kid is unhappy...
- 30 mins - Congratulations on catching a very dead fish.
- 38 mins - Did he just say, "Hootenanny?"
- 41 mins - The clouds have not moved in the last two days. Riiiiggghhht.
- 75 mins - Try being an optimist for once, Bradford. For example: 25% of your body is not covered in burns.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Narrator: "Brett is his and he feels no man could ask for more. Now, without warning, their honeymoon was to become a nightmare."
||Ben gets et.
||Narrator: "Martin was outraged by the government's intellectual approach to a monster that had already killed and caused the disappearance of his two close friends. Caldwell tended to agree with him, but stated that he had to follow his orders."
||Narrator: "Within forty-eight hours, Dr. Bradford had closely examined the creature and the spaceship and reached a number of conclusions. He was sure the creature had come from beyond our solar system."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Watch in stark horror as the Creeping Terror ingests this poor girl. And to think, if she ran away I would never have known that women have two throats.
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