The Creeping Terror

December 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm (movies) (, , )

I would like to introduce you to one of the worst movies of all time:  The Creeping Terror.

The story behind the movie is way more interesting than the plot, which is described thusly by Wikipedia:

A newlywed deputy, Martin Gordon (Vic Savage), encounters an alien spacecraft that has crash landed in California. A large, sluglike, omnivorous monster emerges from the side of an impacted spaceship. A second one, still tethered inside, kills a forest ranger and the sheriff (Byrd Holland) when they independently enter the craft to investigate.

Martin, now temporary sheriff, joins his wife Brett; Dr. Bradford, a renowned scientist; and Col. James Caldwell, a military commander and his men to fight the creature. Meanwhile the monster stalks the countryside, devouring a girl in a bikini, picnickers at a hootenanny, Grandpa Brown and his grandson while fishing, a housewife hanging the laundry, the patrons at the “community dance hall”, and couples in their cars at “lovers’ lane”.

The protagonists ultimately deduce that the monsters are not intelligent. They are mindless biological-sample eaters. The bio-analysis data is microwaved back to the probe’s home planet through the spaceship.

Now click to read the story behind the movie.

The movie was directed, produced, and edited by Vic Savage under the alias A.J. Nelson.  It was written by a guy named Alan Silliphant, who was the half-brother of a guy named Stirling Silliphant.  Stirling was a successful TV writer for shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Vic Savage decided to use Stirling’s less experienced brother to lure investors who were attracted to the name.   Alan Silliphant had no idea he was being used for his last name and not his considerable talents, and he was paid $200 for his story.  He soon left the movie because of disappointments in how cheap the budget was and because, randomly, the assistant director was Randy Starr, a guy who achieved notoriety by providing Charles Manson with the gun used in the Sharon Tate murders.

Vic Savage got more investors by promising them that if they paid a few hundred dollars, they would have small parts in the films, a promise that was only partially fulfilled.   And this was just the beginning of their issues.

At some point during production, the mic system Savage was using fell into a pond at Spahn Ranch where they were filming, losing all the audio recording done so far, and leaving Savage unable to buy a new one. This explains why, in the final version of the film, a narrator speaks over pretty much all of the dialogue, and sound effects are very poorly dubbed in.  (This has been disputed, by the way- some of the people involved in production said that no audio was recorded during filming to save money.)

Just before the film’s release, Savage was sued repeatedly, even possibly facing indictment on charges of fraud, and vanished. He was never heard from again until he died of liver failure in 1975, at the age of 41.

Now that’s a story.

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