The music alone escorts me to the first time I saw it. “Da dada dada da da da…” Mike showing off his sound system driving the bots away, The Satellite of Love Coffee Shop, Tom and Crow crawling into Gypsy. Has a monster taking the scenic route ever felt this long? “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being” or Mike’s Manos (1966)?
This may be the sleaziest film they did, and that’s saying something. Knowing the backstory adds to the slime factor. It’s a good episode from what I recall, but something about the way the camera lingers on women climbing into this thing’s mouth feels like you’ve stumbled on someone’s creepy fetish stash.
The story behind this movie is just fascinating, and would probably make for a great Disaster Artist-style project. Plus, it’s the second film from the show tangentially connected to Sterling Silliphant, after Manos.
The movie is a disaster of the highest order. The audio was lost and large sections had to be dubbed from entire cloth in post. The film exposure is washed out and barely watchable. The plot is a meandering, incoherent mess. The acting is substandard and wooden. The special ‘effects’ are something you’d see in a Kindergarten play. Everything about this “film” is incompetent and can only be called a movie in the barest sense.
But the riffing. Oh my - the riffing for this one is some of the best MST has to offer. It has to be said the movie makes it pretty easy because of the plethora of targets, but I’m hard pressed to think of an MST outing where the riffing is so constantly, consistently funny.
There is a documentary on the filming of this movie:
Be careful, this documentary might be triggering for some, and could definitely curb your enjoyment of this episode during future viewings. In short, director “Vic Savage” seems to have been quite a terrible person.
@optiMSTie The Creeping Terror (1964)? Where does it rate? Is it Mike’s Manos (1966) pound for pound or is Coleman Francis the victor? More importantly how do you read it? The experiment, the riffs, the skits, the whole thing? I can’t help reliving that awful car crash feeling “last seen on…” Manos only topped with a sitcom taste of Ed Wood nothingness and no ambition. MSTies often cite Monster a Go-Go (1965) as the biggest nothing burger of MST3K. I posit The Creeping Terror is its match and its insistence to stretch every exchange to its forgone conclusion and past it oftentimes hands it an enternity I’d vouch is a purgatory similiar to Fate just in black and white and perhaps more pointless. The length of the monster wandering and dance hall shaking imply a void hellbent on completion no matter its irrelevance. This is an insistence not even held by Monster a Go-Go.
Let’s make no mistake here: The Creeping Terror is indisputably terrible. No real question about that. Same goes for the Coleman Francis troika, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s narrow it down to one film. Let’s go with… Red Zone Cuba.
Now, The Creeping Terror is craptacular, but it can be unintentionally entertaining in its awfulness. I just don’t think you have that unintentional entertainment with Red Zone Cuba. The argument could be made for The Skydivers having unintentional entertainment, but we’re choosing Red Zone Cuba because it’s arguably the worst and the most painful Coleman Francis movie.
When you put the two head-to-head, I’d have to think that Red Zone Cuba could be THE bruising experiment of the Mike era, or the most hurtful movie from Mike’s Comedy Central years, anyways. Michael J. Nelson had some… thoughts about it, if what TV Tropes said is correct:
Michael J. Nelson (the writer, not the character) has gone on record saying that watching this movie for the purpose of writing the episode was actively painful and the closest he came to quitting the show altogether. It exacerbated his chronic headache pain, and was the first time he really asked himself: “Why am I doing this?”
Manos is often used as shorthand for the worst of the worst of the worst of the MST3K’d movies, but honestly? I think they’ve done worse. At least as far as the Joel episodes go, Monster a Go-Go is probably more of a doozy than Manos, and I would see The Creeping Terror as more of an incompetent but watchable movie a la Manos rather than an out-and-out monument to painful mediocrity like Monster a Go-Go.
Opinions may differ, mileages may vary, viewpoints may be all over the place.
This episode creeped me out a lot as a kid. As an adult it’s one of the strangest monster flicks they watched. Simply because it has the most avoidable monsters in monster movie history. I always yell “Run stupid!”
Heh, for one thing, the dancing was kept to a minimum in Monster a Go-Go!
Me, I enjoy the hell out of this episode, with the caveat that the episode makes you work for it.
When I first saw this episode, I was gobstruck by the sheer ineptitude of the work. Yeah, I saw bad films before, both on and off of MST3K, but this one felt next-level goofy. I can remember watching this for the first time on Rhino DVD and thinking, “This is… not a very good movie. Like, at ALL.”
As I said before, MST3K riffing stands out more when the movie material gives them more to work with, thus enabling that riffing to stand out more. And there are two things that give the gang much more fuel to work with: that dopey monster design and the narration.
Like @TheRiddler points out, the original audio track was lost in a lake, so the narration is presented as a solution enabling the film to -have something.- And since you have lengthy scenes of dialogue being bandied about, that means you have a lot of narration at hand, and the gang has to target that accordingly, and they capitalize beautifully. A personal favorite is Mike’s: "Sorry, folks. Should’ve told you about the subplot. It even caught me, the narrator, off guard.
It’s, just… that narration is SO BLAND AND ABSURD, when the guys take that on, the results are magic, especially when the narration veers far away from what’s happening onscreen:
[all the riffers are whispering]
Crow: “What’s the narrator talking about?”
Mike: “He’s way off script.”
Crow: “He’s a renegade narrator on the loose!”
Servo: “Boy, lemme tell ya, he’s nuts! But he never plays by anybody’s rules!”
Crow: “But he gets RESULTS!”
Servo, now shouting: “YOU WANNA GET BACK TO THE SCRIPT?!”