The Creeping Terror (1964)

The Creeping Terror (1964)
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Directed by Arthur J. Nelson (who also stars in the film under the pseudonym Vic Savage), uses some memorable bargain-basement effects: stock footage of a rocket launch is played in reverse to depict the landing of an alien spacecraft; what appears to be shag carpet is draped over several actors shambling about at a snail’s pace, thus bringing the monstrous “creeping terror” to the screen. The movie also employs a technique that has come to be synonymous with Z-movie horror: voiceover narration that paraphrases dialogue being silently enacted onscreen.

Savage paid Allan Silliphant $200, for the story, and Silliphant returned in three days with the original nine-page film treatment. Later in the production, there was conflict between writer and director, with Silliphant growing frustrated that Savage did not seem to share his vision that the story was “supposed” to be over the top. Furthermore, instead of shooting at scenic Lake Tahoe, as Silliphant had intended, a muddy pond at Spahn Ranch had to do. The assistant director was Randy Starr, who later achieved notoriety by providing Charles Manson with the gun used in the Sharon Tate murders.

Silliphant saw that the direction the film was taking would harm his reputation, rather than enhance it, so he bowed out after the studio scenes were done. The production went on as a week-end affair for several more months, with Savage raising the money by selling small parts to star-struck plumbers etc. One story says Savage checked into a motel with a silent picture-only Moviola to do a quick assembly of the film. All this may be hearsay, since nobody connected with the film ever went on record with that issue. This movie appeared in the 2004 documentary, The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, and was lampooned in September 1994 in episode 606 of movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It has the dubious reputation of being hailed as one of the worst films of all time.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Creeping Terror [VHS 1999] MST3K
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