Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Creeping Terror! The Killer Carpet Attacks!

The Creeping Terror, 1964, 75 minutes, B&W, Metropolitan International Pictures. Directed by Art J. Nelson. Starring Nelson as Martin Gordon, Shannon O’Neil as Brett Gordon, William Thourlby as Dr. Bradford, John Caresio as Colonel Caldwell, Brendan Boone as Barney. Schlock-Meter rating: 2 and 1/2 stars out of 10.

The Creeping Terror is an abysmal, patched-together mess of a horror film. Watching it, I wonder to myself: How did films this bad get distributed? There was no family VCR in 1964. Did people actually go to the drive-in to see The Creeping Terror of Beast of Yucca Flats. Did they play the second half of a double-bill? Or grind houses on 42nd Street in Manhattan? I would love to know the answer.

Plot: A spaceship falls to the earth. It contains two monsters, one of which hides for most of the film. The monsters look just like a carpet gone amok. They are killer carpets (not at all scary) that slither along the earth at about two miles an hour. Despite that, their victims oblige them by standing very still, or backing slowly away, and allowing themselves to be pulled by unseen hands into the killer carpet. There is a scene, at a dance, where the carpet waddles in and kills most of the dancers, who just stare at it with barely disguised boredom. It is perhaps the worst edited scene ever filmed.

Near the end we learn that the killer carpet machines are from another world in outer space and they kill to analyze human body parts and learn our weaknesses as humans. How that was learned is mystery, since a healthy chunk of the dialogue is missing. Like the wretched Beast of Yucca Flats, viewers endure a pompous narrator who besides giving us the plot, gives a long-winded soliloquy on the joys of marriage. A sheriff’s deputy (Nelson) and his bride (O’Neil) help out the U.S. military in battling the killer carpets.

I’ve heard stories that director/star Nelson was a gadfly who rolled into a California community with his girlfriend O’Neil and convinced many townspeople to back him financially in a “can’t-win” horror film he wanted to make. To keep the cash rolling in, Nelson gave many of The Creeping Terror’s financial backers bit parts in the film. Then, the story goes, he skipped town before the investors could see what a dog of a film they were left with. If that tale is true, it’s far more entertaining than The Creeping Terror.

-- Doug Gibson

No comments: