The Creeping Terror
As this is likely the final M-O-M of the millennium (in print form, at any rate), I though it apropos to get all Taoist on yo' ass and complete a circle.
Manor On Movies "premiered" as a couple of hundred words within the late-Seventies Philly zine Flight 90. The subject of that brief piece was my favorite junkfilm of 'em all, bar none; and with nothing topping it in the interim and so little space remaining on the calendar, it appears the pic's a lock to retain its championship belt. As such, it's only fitting that my first and final film columns of the era should be devoted to the epoch's indisputably supreme masterwork of art in any medium, the apex of all things created since you puny humans dragged yourselves out of the planet's primordial sewer.
Lays and genitals, boils and girdles, I give you THE CREEPING TERROR.
When producer/director/writer/unequaled visionary Art "Don't Call Me 'Admiral'!" Nelson set out to make the Singular Most Important Chronicle Of Mankind's Evolution, he knew the entire fate of the project depended upon flawless casting of the pivotal leading-man role. Requiring a performer who was at once charismatic, authoritative, bold, romantic, intelligent and attractive, Nelson knew there was only one stud in showbiz with the moxy to carry the part. That actor's name was Vic Savage...though his driver's license read "Arthur J. Nelson."
And why shouldn't the auteur have given himself the lead role? If windbag Orson Welles could do it in his directorial debut, just imagine how well it could work for someone with real talent! You see, noble Mr. Nelson's Creeping Terror wasn't going to be merely a fright flick peopled by star-struck citizens of a small town who actually paid the producer to participate in it. No siree, Babaloo, this real-life Music Man was about to become the only director ever to make a foreign film in his own country! On top of that, it contained unprotected anal penetration of a child!!!
Due to their heaviosity, let me further explain each of those statements, the former first.
Sure, the skeptics theorize CT was shot without sound and later entirely narrated (!) in order for our Arthur to pocket an even greater portion of the budget. Shame on you, cynics. It's quite clear Art's motives were purely humanitarian: a narration track can be recorded verbatim in any language; and, with no distracting subtitles or a single syllable of script changed by dubbing, patrons in all lands have the exact same viewing experience. Hence, every viewer is equal, regardless of native tongue!
Oh, and as far as the whole pedophiliac pooper plug goes, perhaps I got a tad overcome by Hollywoodian hyperbole. To be more precise, a baby takes a rectal thermometer...but how often have you seen that scene on screen?
This is not to say CT lacks sexual connotation. The title titan is triangular and covered in brownish fuzz, with a vertical opening topped by a "sensitive area." If that description sounds unfamiliar, it's time to either get a girlfriend you don't have to inflate, or peep through the window next time Sandra Bernhard is having one of her "slumber parties."
Throughout the movie, victims of the galactic gargantuan are pulled inside said slit. In essence, death is achieved by reversing the physical act of birth. Wow, how supa-deep is that?!?
The above is not a lone allegorical instance: EVERY SINGLE FRAME of The Creeping Terror is soaked in symbolism. Take, for example, the famed fishing scene. On the surface, a fat old angler and his grandson are stalked and supped upon by CT. But couldn't Gramps' repeated cries of "Bobby, Bobby" be an eerie evocation of the just-clipped JFK calling from the Other Side to his younger brother, pleading with Bobby to stand clear of the marauding murderous menace (i.e. the Mafia) lest he too gets whacked?
Even the narration is steep in profundity, a guiding light over life's roughest roads. Take the following, for instance: "Barney couldn't comprehend that married life brought with it, not only new problems and duties, but the necessary togetherness of husband and wife as well. Despite Brett's most tactful considerations, Barney was growing resentful of her. Or at least she felt that he was.
"Since time began, this change in relationships has probably happened to all buddies in similar circumstances. Life has its ways of making boys grow up; and, with marriage, Martin's time had come. His life was now Brett's, a life that he thoroughly enjoyed."
Bear in mind, this knowing nugget is IN THE MIDDLE OF A MONSTER MOVIE--while wildly inappropriate twist music blares in the background!!! I double-defy you to find a flick that'll out-Dada dat.
If not for space limitations, I could go on for dozens of pages, providing further eye-opening revelations concerning everything from the Terror's irrefutable influence on A Clockwork Orange to the startling "13 Enigmatic Mysteries Of CT." But since inch limits are in place, I'm not going to recommend you watch The Creeping Terror. I'm going to insist upon it. See CT, ASAP. That's an ORDER!
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