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The 100




Creeping Terror, The
(1964)
Reviewed by Nicholas D'Amico
Rating: 10 Beans

t took me four years of constant searching to find this movie. Haunting every Mom-and-Pop video store in Cleveland and the surrounding areas (this was before Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or any of those supermarket type video stores), searching high and low, going into places that you wouldn't go if your life depended on it... I was going to find this movie or die trying. Once I got it, I wished I had died trying.

The Creeping Terror runs 75 minutes, about 15 minutes short of feature length, but, believe me, it's the longest 75 minutes you'll ever spend. Remember the first time you saw BATMAN AND ROBIN? Remember sitting in the theatre and wishing the damn thing would finally end because you couldn't justify getting up and walking out after spending $7.00 to see it? To steal a line from WAG THE DOG, "THIS IS NOTHING!!!" Sit yourself in your favorite chair, light up or ingest whatever mind-altering substance you prefer, and try - just TRY - to get through this movie all at once. I dare you. I defy you. It'll almost be as painful as reading one of my reviews.

The film opens by introducing us to (via the narrator) a dork named Martin Gordon (Vic Savage, aka Art J. Nelson, the director, who looks like Jughead's mongoloid brother) and his bride, Brett (Shannon O'Neil, Shannon Ripley, Shannon Boltress, or Mrs. A.J. Nelson, take your pick) as they drive home from their honeymoon. The narrator (Larry Burrel) tells us that they've been married "two wonderful weeks", but their honeymoon is about to turn into a nightmare. Amen!

Cut to a shot of out-of-focus car headlights as a satellite signal is heard on the soundtrack, then cut to television footage of a Mercury rocket taking off, but in reverse motion so it gives the impression of landing, provided you don't look too hard.

At the local High School, which doubles as the Sheriff's office, a call comes in from Ranger Jeff, reporting a plane crash. As the local authorities snap into action, the space ship (which was probably the most expensive prop in the entire movie; it must have cost at least $75 to build) opens and out comes the title monster, which looks like a giant patchwork quilt with a really huge boner. Martin (who's a Deputy Sheriff) meets up with his uncle (the Sheriff) and they go to the landing site expecting to find a crashed plane. Before they pull up, the monster lopes out of sight into the woods.
In one of the few scenes in the movie with dialogue, Martin, Brett and Ben survey the craft's landing site and find Ranger Jeff's hat. Of course, the Sheriff has to go into the craft in spite of Martin's lame attempts to stop him (he stands in one spot and we're treated to tortuous close-ups of him saying, "Ben. Please don't. Ben. Ben.") As his uncle's agonizing screams come from the inside of the craft, Martin and Brett scamper back to the car and call headquarters.

After cutting to a shot of a cloud, a truckload of soldiers in plastic Army helmets (the Colonel has a crude star painted on his) come around a bend, move a couple of trees that have fallen across the road ("Let's get going. Let's go. Let's go. Move it over. Let's get going. Let's go. Alright, back on the truck. Let's go.") and head for the landing site. Two of them (there are only seven) enter the craft and discover a circa 1955 radio station and another quilt with a hard-on. After they report, Colonel Caldwell calls Washington and recieves orders to keep the area secure and wait for the arrival of Dr. Bradford (William Thourlby), an "expert in space emissions", who's to take over the project. The narrator tells us Martin is outraged, but he really just looks a little annoyed. The colonel is ordered to cover up the deaths and the landing.

On the other side of town, a couple in bathing suits making out in the middle of the woods are attacked by the monster. The guy, at least, has the brains to run, but of course the girl simply lays there and screams, waiting to get eaten.

Back at the spaceship, Martin is inside looking around (lit from below, he looks even dorkier than he does in regular light). As a transitional shot, we see the same cloud as before and Martin and Brett are outside the ship again as Dr. Bradford arrives. After commiserating with Martin about losing his uncle, Bradford talks to everyone and, we're told, considers this "a magnificent oppourtunity for mankind."

That night, Martin goes home with Barney, his deputy. As Barney does the third wheel bit, Martin and Brett are all over each other. (It becomes apparent that Barney is jealous of Brett, but this homosexual subplot is blown off.) Martin and Brett join Barney on the couch and proceed to start making out again, completely ignoring him.

While the two of them maul each other and Bradford is fooling around in the spacecraft, a woman and her baby are getting eaten by the first monster, who then moves on and eats a little boy (Bahhhhbeeee!) fishing with his rotund grandfather, Gramps (Jack King).

As Bradford tells Martin about how little progress he's made since he arrived, the monster crashes a hootenanny where we hear the hit song from this movie (She left me lonely/Oh she left me sad/But still I am happy/In fact, I am glad/For I am as free/As that bird in the tree/'Cause she left me a-lone/and could not marry me/I said that I loved her/And would 'till I die/I tried to forget her/And I really did try/But I'll still think of her/'Till the day that I die...) One couple decides they've had enough of Jim Croce and wander out in the woods to make out. The monster attacks them first and they sit there stupidly while the monster eats them.

The thing of it is, this monster moves so slowly that you could outrun it on your knees, but everyone just sits there while it attacks!

Anyway, after polishing off everyone at the hootenanny (GOD! I love that word!) Martin, Sherlock Holmes that he is, finally figures out there's another monster around besides the one on the ship.

Said monster is now busy attacking an afternoon dance at the local VFW, eating a bunch of chunky 29-to-40 year-old teens, one of whom dances like Jerry Lewis. This scene goes on for about 15 minutes, and when the monster finally arrives... ah, God. There's no way I could possibly describe this scene and get across how truly, stupidly, awfully lame it is. Suffice to say that just about everyone in the place (about fifty people) all cower in the one corner of the room that doesn't have an exit and THEY JUST STAND THERE!!. The "horrified" reactions of the people at the dance are the main reason to watch this lousy film. (There are four or five people trying to get out the exit, but there are a couple of guys standing there watching what's going on, blocking the doorway.) We then get a few shots of the monster trying to swallow a number of fat-assed girls through his blow-hole or whatever it is it takes nourishment through.

Of course, while this carnage is going on, Martin and Brett are hard at work making out in his squad car when the report about the dance comes in. As they take off, the monster pays a visit to lover's lane (still in the middle of the day). The amorous atmosphere seems to get to the monster, because it immediately starts humping a Nash convertible as some old fart sits watching. It then overturns an old junker with "23 Skidoo!" painted on the side, killing the occupants. The bald headed voyuer then takes off and presumably reports what he saw.

You know, I can't stand this anymore. This movie is so damned dull that I can't go on. Here's what happens next: The Colonel blows up the first monster after it eats his entire battalion (who of course bunch together in a classic battle manuever), the second creature escapes, Bradford kills it by RUNNING IT OVER WITH A TRUCK, fer crissakes, and the movie comes to a merciful end.

No notes on the cast or production. It's too painful. If you want to find out what little there is to know about the production, I direct you to SON OF THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS by Harry and Michael Medved. I've had enough.






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