Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Creeping Terror (1964)

The slowest monster in movie history kills stupid people who don't step out of its way.

The film opens with a couple driving late at night.

Narrator Is The Real Star

Immediately there is voice over by a narrator: "This man's name is Martin Gordon. The lovely girl beside him is Brett, his bride of two wonderful weeks. It's late August. They're returning from their honeymoon to their home in quiet, peaceful Angel County, California. Martin's Uncle Ben is sheriff of Angel County, and Martin is his senior deputy. Martin has high hopes of succeeding his uncle when Ben retires. But for now, Martin has only the thoughts, emotions and pride of a very happy newly married young man... Now without warning, their honeymoon will become a nightmare."

Thanks for the warning. And isn't their honeymoon over?

This film is narrated like one of those old classroom film strips. The ones that would cause all the students to drift off into sleep.

Rocket Monster

The next shot is of a rocket landing. Actually, it's of a rocket taking off, but they've run the film backwards. The narrator assures the viewers that Martin and Brett didn't notice the rocket, but that a county forest ranger named Jeff saw it and reported it to Ben. (This would actually be a good movie for blind people.)

A small door opens on the side of the rocket, and a creature crawls out. It looks like a big slug combined with a houseplant. And it moves almost as quickly as a slug.

Ben is racing to the site of the rocket, and passes Martin on the road. Ben stops and asks Martin to go with him. So Martin and Brett, instead of just following Ben in their own car, pull over and get in Ben's car.

When they reach the rocket, the narrator describes everything that is on screen: "At the location of the crash they discovered Jeff's truck. But Jeff himself was not around. They proceeded with their investigation." Their method of investigation is to stand in one spot and stare at the rocket for a long time. What this leads to is them finding Jeff's hat on the ground directly in front of them.

So Ben goes inside the rocket, by crawling under it. There are then screams, gunshots, and a creature growling. Martin and Brett stand there for a moment, then go back to the car to radio it in.

Lying On A Blanket Won't Help One Escape From Even The Slowest Of Monsters

A couple is making out in the woods. Uh-oh, here comes the slug creature that looks partly like a houseplant. The couple sees it, but only the guy is smart enough to get up and run away. The girl just lies on her blanket and screams, though all she'd have to do is walk slowly away to escape. Really, she'd have enough time to shake the grass from her blanket and fold it up, and gather any other belongings she brought. But no, she just lies there and screams. So the creature eats her, though clearly the actress is trying to push herself into the creature's mouth.

Martin's First Big Decision As Sheriff

Martin decides the best course of action is to plant an article in the press that Ben and Jeff have gone on a fishing trip to British Columbia. That is a way to avoid panic, because certainly everyone is wondering where the forest ranger is. Oh yes, Martin makes a fine sheriff.

Barney's Upset That Martin's Marriage Has Disturbed Their Friendship (Who Is Barney?)

There is a long scene in which Martin and Barney sneak into Martin's home in order to scare Brett. No idea why. Martin then tells Barney to try marriage. The narrator enlightens the viewer about Barney's psychological state: "He couldn't comprehend that married life brought with it not only new problems and beauties, but the necessary togetherness of husband and wife as well."

The movie is about how marriage affects friendships. The narrator explains, "Barney was growing resentful of her, or at least she felt that he was. Since time began, this change in relationship has probably happened to all buddies in similar circumstances."

What about the creeping terror?

Terrible Mother Dies While Doing Laundry

A woman is taking her baby's temperature. She says, "Poor baby, you'll feel better soon," then goes out to hang up the laundry. Oh no, here comes the creeping terror. Better finish hanging the laundry and walk slowly back inside. But no, she just stands there. Baby is probably better off without her. Perhaps its new foster parents will actually name it.

Guitars Don't Kill Monsters

Next there is what the narrator describes as a "hootenanny" happening near the woods. A couple sneaks off into the woods to make out, or to get away from the horrible singer/guitarist. The woman is wearing a furry sweater, but then from the other angle, it's suddenly gone. Did the creeping terror eat her sweater? Or did the hungry script supervisor eat it? No matter, as these two are soon dead because they just sit there rather than walking away from the creeping terror.
When the monster attacks the rest of the group, the singer/guitarist hits the creature with his guitar. That doesn't work. He should have tried singing to it.

Shy Monster At The Dance

There's a dance going on somewhere in a dance hall. Cut back to the creature outside in the woods, then to inside the dance hall, then back to the creature in the woods, then back to inside the dance hall, and then suddenly the creature is inside the dance hall. Is the dance hall in the woods? Is the door large enough for the creature to get in? Did it have to pay a cover charge? Can it dance?

Even though there is plenty of time for everyone to get out (because the creature is just standing in a corner, like any shy one at a dance), fights break out at the exit. People are more concerned with keeping others from leaving than simply leaving themselves. Ah, who is the real monster in this story?

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