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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 606- The Creeping Terror

Movie: (1964) A slow-moving alien rug monster manages somehow to catch and swallow many people in a small town with no dialog.

First shown: 9/17/94
Opening: Tom is a security guard
Intro:It’s laundry day in Deep 13, Dr. F. makes the bots pretentious poseurs
Host segment 1: Crow makes a flag for the SOL, and M&tB raise it
Host segment 2: M&tB stick it to “Love American Style”
Host segment 3: Mike sets up his stereo system
End: Crow and Tom want Gypsy to swallow them, Mike reads letters, Dr. F. “presses” Frank about the laundry
Stinger: “My God! What is it?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (240 votes, average: 4.68 out of 5)

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• I like this episode a lot. The host segments are lots of fun, the riffing is great and while the movie is gray and tedious, at the same time it is TOTALLY OUT THERE. The questions it raises are endless. What’s chained up in the spaceship? Why does the creature look like a Chinese parade dragon? Why did that guy swallow a basketball? Why a full ten minutes of dance hall footage before the the monster arrives? And on and on.
• This episode appears in Rhino’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 1.
References.
• I love how they added a little drool to Servo’s mouth when they show him sleeping.
• There’s lots of narration and little dialogue, but don’t believe the commonly told story that the soundtrack dropped off of a boat into Lake Tahoe. The movie was shot without sound, with a plan to dub in the dialog later, a la “Manos.” But there wasn’t enough money for that when the time came, so the narration was used instead.
• I’m a little surprised that they chose this movie, and I’m very impressed that they did with it, for this reason: this movie easily ranks in the top 5 of The. Most. REPETITIVE. Movies. Ever. Show some dancing. Show the monster. Then some dancing. Then the monster. Over and over and over. I would rank this right up with “The Starfighters” and “Neptune Men” in terms of a movie that shows you the same thing over and over and over. That they managed to stay funny and come up with a different joke (more or less) every time the movie presented them with the EXACT same image again and again and again, is a real achievement.
• I’m doing these in episode number order, but this was not the next episode fans saw after episode 605- COLOSSUS AND THE HEADHUNTERS. Comedy Central ran episode 609- THE SKY DIVERS the following week, then 607- BLOODLUST the next week, then there was a week break before this episode ran. Then there was another two-week break before the network ran 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD followed a week later by 610- THE VIOLENT YEARS. At that point the episodes got back into order.
• This episode aired the same weekend as some 2,000 MSTies from all over the nation were encamped at the Raddison Hotel in Bloomington for the first CONVENTIOCON EXPOFEST-A-RAMA. Unfortunately, the hotel’s TVs did not get Comedy Central, which meant that fans had to find another way to see the episode. I went to the home of a friend who lived in the area.
• This movie has the infamous baby-temperature-taking scene, one of its most commented-upon aspects by bad movie buffs.
• The “Love American Style” bit in segment 2 is sort of meta: a sarcastic premise surrounding a second, intentionally lame, premise. On the plus side, Mike kisses Servo and Crow.
• As Servo notes, it’s a good guess that the director got a pervy little thrill by the image of a woman’s legs (preferably still kicking) being pulled into the monster. I’ve since been told (and I wish I hadn’t) that this is a thing, and the thing is called “Vore.”
• In the ACEG they mentioned that segment 3 was written mostly by Frank, who loves sketches where nothing happens for long stretches. Is Mike’s using a green magic marker on his CD something audiophiles did (or still do?)
• Mike’s line, “another frustrated IBM PC user!” became a widely traded sound file.
• Very neat image with the wringer at the end. Very Joel-like.
• Cast and crew wrap-up: Story and screenplay writer Robert Silliphant also worked on “The Incredibly Strange Creatures…” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “This Island Earth,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Jef Maynard is added to the “set design” credit, along with Joel and Trace. Ken Fournelle gets a lighting credit, or any kind of credit, for the last time. He had been involved with the show since season one. Crist Ballas is back to do hair and makeup.
• Fave riff: “We’re the special unit! Helloooooo!!” Honorable mention: “Now, cough, honey.”

175 Replies to “Episode guide: 606- The Creeping Terror”

  1. DarkGrandmaofDeath says:

    Mike’s quiet “Oh, no, the thing is going kerflooey and the doohickey’s going like the deil” kind of sums up the movie. Lots of implied action and peril (Monsters from Space…auugghhh! Scary!) but none of it shown.

    This is definitely one of the most incompetent movies MST ever riffed. It fails on every possible level, which makes it the ideal MST episode. The more incompetent the movie, the more fun the Brains seemed to have with it. The Creeping Terror is gold.

    I’m kind of impressed that this movie was produced at all. It took some serious effort to con the “actors” into investing, to design a carpet monster, and throw a car over, and make the interior of the spaceship, and convince the actors to crawl into the monster, and dance in front of a camera, and fall in a stream, and every other damn thing. It will always be a terrible piece of dreck, but by golly people got together to create something stunningly bad. And we can never take that away from them, no matter how much they might want us to.

       11 likes

  2. Gary Bowden says:

    One of my favorite episodes by far,but also one of the most aggravating ones,too..Instead of “Why don’t they look?”,this one is WHY DON’T THEY RUN?? Was the director trying to create horror with the monster eating so many people or was he showing how stupid the townsfolk were? Or both? Take for instance the dance hall scene,there’s a fight going on while the monster is gobbling up willing victims and the couple where the husband basically feeds his wife to the monster by standing behind her. Or the woman hanging her clothes on the line or the guy watching the couples get eaten in lovers lane,then leaving..ughhhhh..Did common sense skip this town?? Did all of them have a brain fart all at once?? Love the riffs and the host segments and I never get tired of watching it.It’s a classic episode.I give it a 9.5 and you can dance to it,too…

       6 likes

  3. Gary Bowden says:

    Gary Bowden:
    One of my favorite episodes by far,but also one of the most aggravating ones,too..Instead of “Why don’t they look?”,this one is WHY DON’T THEY RUN?? Was the director trying to create horror with the monster eating so many people or was he showing how stupid the townsfolk were? Or both? Take for instance the dance hall scene,there’s a fight going on while the monster is gobbling up willing victims and the couple where the husband basically feeds his wife to the monster by standing behind her. Or the woman hanging her clothes on the line or the guy watching the couples get eaten in lovers lane,then leaving..ughhhhh..Did common sense skip this town?? Did all of them have a brain fart all at once?? Love the riffs and the host segments and I never get tired of watching it.It’s a classic episode.I give it a 9.5 and you can dance to it,too…

    P.s…found out on IMDB that Vic Savage was 41 when he died from liver failure.His real name was Arthur Nelson White..Also,according to rumors,a more impressive looking monster was originally designed and built for the movie.However,only a few days before shooting was to begin,the monster was stolen.Pressed for time and out of money,Vic Savage and his crew hastily threw together the infamous “pile of carpets” monster that appears in the film..

       5 likes

  4. littleaimishboy says:

    Gary Bowden: a few days before shooting was to begin,the monster was stolen.

    Like to have been a fly on the wall when the thieves brought THAT into the local shady pawnshop …

       6 likes

  5. MSTie says:

    littleaimishboy: Like to have been a fly on the wall when the thieves brought THAT into the local shady pawnshop …

    Bet it was a job for Ed Wood.

       4 likes

  6. EricJ says:

    The “Love American Style” bit in segment 2 is sort of meta: a sarcastic premise surrounding a second, intentionally lame, premise.

    When J&tB sang “Looove, love, love!” every time there were fireworks onscreen, that was an Ancient Embarrassing 70’s-TV Reference, and that’s what the Joel-era writers did.
    When M&tB had to do their own host-segs (and last week’s episode already brought up their increasing desperation at finding material for three whole interstitials), it comes off as more of what would become their “meta” host-segments about how they didn’t know how to come up with concepts for host-segs, but knew how to stretch fan running-gags, whatever they were.

    Sort of like the Match Game riffs in WotLW became “Crow’s one-man Gene Rayburn Show” in Hercules, the LAS-theme jokes are here done out of context as “We’re finally going to take on a tough, bold, satirical take at Love, American Style!”. And the joke is….they don’t really know why.

       0 likes

  7. maclen says:

    Watching the opening scene of Martin and wife Bret driving at night beginning with actual dialogue and then when the narrator suddenly takes over it seems it would be possible with the script, dialogue could be simply dubbed in. Maybe a lip reader could reconstruct the dialogue. Just a thought.

       4 likes

  8. thequietman says:

    Which one of us is talking??

    It’s amazing that this episode is so light-hearted and goofy in both riffing and host segments, when other episodes featuring sub-bottom of the barrel films (your ‘Manos’ or your Neptune Men) are almost always built around how beaten down J/M&tB are getting.

    Now I really want to see “The Creep Behind the Camera”.

    Fave Riff
    Crow: This town is in desperate need of a leather bar.
    Mike: Or even a dairy bar.

       5 likes

  9. Johnny Drama says:

    Yes, “The Creep Behind The Camera.” I haven’t seen the film myself, but after watching the extensive extras on the Shout! Factory reissue of Vol. 1, I can say that it looks very interesting. The story behind “The Creeping Terror” just may be the single most disturbing of all the MSTied movies. Really puts an emphasis on the dark side of this movie. Hopefully it’ll pop up on Netflix, or such.

    As far as the episode itself goes, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. “The Creeping Terror” and “Bloodlust!” to me are the lull in Season 6, right after the strong episodes that started the season, and right before the season really takes off and gives us some of M&TB greatest work. But not to say these two episodes are without merit. Far from it, they just tend to be a bit of a sleeping pill for me. When I can stay up for them, I do really get a kick out of them.

    The lighting change. Never been a fan of it. If it’s not broken, why fix it? A little piece of the show’s charm left for me when the lighting scheme changed. I prefer the less-slick, homemade feel. But I will admit that the lighting becoming more, I guess, “sanitary” and presenting a more dismal, trapped in a spaceship feeling certainly lends itself to the very dark Season 6. Boy, are most of Season 6’s movies dark. And how I love it.

    Even though this episode is just mediocre for me (I learned the meaning of mediocre is average work from someone who is capable of great work), I applaud those who rank this among their absolute favorite episodes. This episode is very loved (from all the comments), yet it is spoken of so little. It truly is a hidden gem among the fans.

       1 likes

  10. bartcow says:

    I believe “The Creep Behind the Camera” is on Amazon Video (free if you’ve got Prime). I’ve only watched the first 30 minutes a couple of nights ago, and it’s an…interesting hybrid of documentary/docudrama. There’s talking head interviews with cast and movie experts, then long stretches of scenes with actors. I’m going to try to finish it this weekend.

       1 likes

  11. Sitting Duck says:

    My question from Post #119 is still waiting to be answered. What does hanging laundry have to do with Kurosawa films?

       0 likes

  12. thequietman says:

    Maybe the design of the house, the landscape, etc., sort of looked like rural Japan? Actually, I can kind of see it.

       1 likes

  13. Gary Bowden says:

    littleaimishboy: Like to have been a fly on the wall when the thieves brought THAT into the local shady pawnshop …

    Same here..would be interesting to find out if they got anything for it..

       1 likes

  14. littleaimishboy says:

    Vic Savage was a HUGE Kurosawa fan. “‘Yojimbo’ … that’s my LIFE, man!” he said in his landmark Paris Review interview. You can see the influence in pretty near every shot, actually. Obviously Mike & the Bots didn’t want to make too big a deal out of something so obvious.

       2 likes

  15. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    OFF TOPIC

    This seemed like something that at least a few people here would find at least marginally entertaining:

    http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_235_b-movie-posters-classic-films/

    Gary Bowden:
    WHY DON’T THEY RUN??

    Alien Mental Power Stuff.

       2 likes

  16. EricJ says:

    Sitting Duck:
    My question from Post #119 is still waiting to be answered. What does hanging laundry have to do with Kurosawa films?

    Since you’ve seen Hidden Fortress, you probably remember the hanging tent-banners that our heroes slice through in their big spear-battle at the enemy camp.
    (And that’s without having seen the MSTed scene in question for a while.)

       1 likes

  17. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Gary Bowden: Same here..would be interesting to find out if they got anything for it..

    “It’s the carpet that’s its own vacuum!”

       4 likes

  18. Gary Bowden says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: “It’s the carpet that’s its own vacuum!”

    :laugh: :laugh:

       3 likes

  19. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Sitting Duck:
    The Creeping Terror fails the Bechdel Test. The only time we see two women talking to each other is at the dance hall, and the sound is out. It was likely rhubarbing anyway.

    Well, rhubarbing doesn’t constitute talking about men, so…

       2 likes

  20. Sitting Duck says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Well, rhubarbing doesn’t constitute talking about men, so…

    One of the principles I have regarding the test is that you have to actually understand what the characters are saying. It’s part of why I rated Touch of Satan as Ambiguous, since you can’t be sure what Killer Grandma is mumbling is about.

       5 likes

  21. schippers says:

    #150 – oh, it’s not the ONLY interesting thing. The (seemingly accidental and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it) nudity during the dance hall scuffle is the OTHER interesting thing about this movie.

    Is this the only MST ep to feature uncensored nudity?

       1 likes

  22. Dihgdfj says:

    schippers:
    #150 – oh, it’s not the ONLY interesting thing. The (seemingly accidental and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it) nudity during the dance hall scuffle is the OTHER interesting thing about this movie.

    Is this the only MST ep to feature uncensored nudity?

    Make with the time code and YouTube links. For, uhh, science. Yeah.

    Also there’s the dirty pictures on the wall of the garage in Sidehackers

       0 likes

  23. Sitting Duck says:

    schippers:
    #150 – oh, it’s not the ONLY interesting thing. The (seemingly accidental and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it) nudity during the dance hall scuffle is the OTHER interesting thing about this movie.

    Is this the only MST ep to feature uncensored nudity?

    There’s a moment during the time when Joel is showing off his umbrella in City Limits where his aim is a bit off and we get a full moon from the water tower skinny dipper.

       2 likes

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