Creeping Terror (1964)

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Creeping Terror (1964)
Cast: Vic Savage, Shannon O’Neil, William Thourlby, John Caresia, Myra Lee
Director: A.J. Nelson
Nutshell: Alien Carpet Creature wreaks untold horrors upon a hapless population

 

Nearly 20 years ago UK’s channel 4 screened a great series called The Incredibly Strange Film Show hosted by Jonathan Ross. To kick off the show there was a season of the world’s most tantalisingly dreadful films. This was when we first caught a few glimpses of the mesmerising Creeping Terror and it has been a 20-year wait to finally own a copy – and that too on DVD. Was it worth waiting for? Absolutely.

The film was one of the finalists in the Worlds Worst Film Festival – selected among such towering masterpieces of ineptitude such as Robot Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space (The eventual Champion), Brain From Planet Arous, Mesa of the Lost Women and Wasp Woman. This epic monster movie begins with a mysterious object crash-landing in some hick town in the middle Bumpkin County, America. An awe inspiring, gigantic shuffling mass of blanket cum carpet emerges from the spaceship and proceeds to waddle off into the countryside at the most infernal pace. Its monstrous mate is however seemingly stuck inside the spacecraft as a result of the crash and can’t seem to go along on the country frolic. However it soon transpires that our frilly carpet creature is not a friendly beast as it proceeds to create untold horror and mayhem on innocent, unsuspecting townies swallowing them up whole through its sickening frilly maw! Though not without help as it seems the creature has trouble swallowing so the obliging victims sort of “dive right in” just to make it easier.

The creature has a propensity of attacking nubile young things having a frolic in the country by creeping up on them unnoticed despite the fact that it emits the most horrendous bloodcurdling shrieking sounds as it stalks its victims, maniacally swerving it’s disgusting head from side to side in a punch drunk victory swagger. Victims seem not to be able to hear the creature’s death cry as it shuffles about creeping up on people and suddenly ingesting them. It seems to have the ability, despite its very bizarre appearance, of merging with the foliage so that people can’t seem to notice it until its far too late. It’s a truly ghastly sight as the audience watches helplessly as one squirming victim after another is swallowed up through that terrifying cavity – this ghastly alien beast seems to have an appetite that has no bounds and is unrelenting in its search for fresh meat. Among the finest scenes in this terrifyingly atrocious film is when a sick innocent cherub is left in the crib while the creature outside ravages his mother.

The highlight of the film is the scene at the local dancehall where some serious jiving is being done to the latest groovy tunes and the dance-floor is crackling with electricity. There are also tensions due to rivalries and jealousies and jibes in the air with much backstabbing and bitchery going on but before these trivial issues have a chance of surfacing that shuffling Creeping Terror shows up and chows down in the most grisly manner devouring scores of innocents in a most horrendously bloodcurdling rampage of death and destruction. More scenes of carnage ensue at Lover’s Lane, as our monster appears to harbour a particular interest in the amorous. The President is consulted in Washington and he sends down a specialist who flies in from England do take on the responsibility of saving mankind against the alien Creeping threat.

Will this savvy specialist be able to put an end to the monsters murderous bloody rampage or will the creature continue to decimate the entire land and take over the country and then the world. After little sulky tyke Bobby and his obese father are ingested, the military is called in but in a disastrous manoeuvre the enraged creature ingests the entire first wave of combat troops. There is an intriguing sub-plot involving local cops Barney and Martin who have always been childhood buddies, but now that Martin is happily married there is a resentment growing in Barney which we are informed by the Narrator of the film is a natural process of life between friends – (did I forget to mention that the film is narrated Glen or Glenda style as the original soundtrack was lost by the director producer of this classic). It comes as a major disappointment that despite the monsters awesome powers all it takes is one measly hand grenade to take it out.

Fortunately the monster stuck in the spaceship is able to break out and also proceeds to tuck in before it is sadly run over. It turns out that these monsters were “mobile laboratories” designed to ingest humans in order to analyse and discover their weaknesses with clear designs on intergalactic domination. They should concentrate on learning how to cope with hand grenades first. This is a fantastically awful walking shamble of a movie from beginning to end – vintage crap of the highest order worthy of all the accolades it has amassed over the years.

Everything about it is fabulously inept from the acting and the camerawork to the stupendous story line (courtesy of Robert Silliphant) but the icing on the cake has to be the masterful work of Jon Lackey who created one of history’s all time great Movie Monsters. This film is essential viewing for admirers and scholars of stupendously awful movies. Creeping Terror is certainly a Turkey of the most juicy proportions, – a profound achievement by producer director A.J. Nelson.