Tag Archives: documentary

The Creep Behind The Camera

The Creep Behind The Camera

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Today’s flick is the newly-released docu-drama, The Creep Behind The Camera, which tells the astounding story behind the legendarily awful b-movie The Creeping Terror.

The Creep Behind The Camera was directed and written by Pete Schuermann, who has been behind a number of low-budget flicks since his debut in 1999. The Creep Behind The Camera was specifically funded via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, raising over $70,000 dollars from a horde of supporters.

The Creeping Terror, the inspiration and subject of The Creep Behind The Camera, is widely regarded as one of the worst monster movies of all time. The monster itself is particularly memorable, and could be accurately described as a carpet from outer space.

Further, the film is filled with bad acting, terrible narration, nonexistent sound work, and an earworm of a theme song, which have all combined to make it a sort of ironic classic. It gained even more of a following after being featured on a season 6 episode of the show Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was dedicated to digging up the worst movies of all time.

As bad as the movie itself is, the stories that have circulated about the film’s production have added an extra mythos to the flick. The Creep Behind the Camera is dedicated to digging into that swirl of outlandish rumors: that the director was a con-artist working under a false identity, that no one in the production had film experience, and that it was financed by having actors pay for the privilege of playing a part in the movie, and countless more. As it turns out, it appears that many of these legends about The Creeping Terror may be true (or at least partially so).

The Creep Behind The Camera is composed of a series of interviews and testaments from people involved with the production of The Creeping Terror, interspersed with dramatic recreations of the events. While most of the film is dedicated to The Creeping Terror, a fair portion of it is also spent on the miscellaneous misdeeds and antics of the film’s star and director, Vic Savage/AJ Nelson.

While the actual content of the information is the primary draw for this movie (and is certainly fascinating), the performances in the dramatic sequences are really what tie it together. Particularly, Josh Phillips portrays AJ Nelson with a mix of charisma, insecurity, violence, self-delusion, and conniving that helps build the larger than life persona of the eccentric swindler behind The Creeping Terror.

The Creep Behind The Camera interestingly doesn’t take place in chronological order, and bounces around throughout the pre-production, post-production, and filming of The Creeping Terror without any particularly coherence. However, I felt like this worked pretty well, particularly in the parts focusing specifically on Nelson. The audience should be just as flabbergasted and perplexed by this figure as his crew was, and that feeling definitely gets across in the movie. The fact that he is initially introduced naked in front of a mirror, wearing a fake Hitler mustache, and repeating “I am God” to himself is about the best way to sum up Nelson in a nutshell, regardless of when that event occurred in his timeline.

For bad movie fans, The Creep Behind The Camera is necessary viewing, and helps fill in the gaps and questions that were left in the wake of the train wreck that is The Creeping Terror. The flick is currently available on most Video On Demand mediums, and The Creeping Terror is fairly easy to dig up on YouTube.

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Water Foul: “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History”

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History

canetoad1Next up in my “Water Foul” spotlight on some of the worst aquatic monsters in film history is a little bit of non-fiction: the cult documentary “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History.”

“Cane Toads: An Unnatural History” might be my favorite documentary of all time. Errol Morris and Werner Herzog have nothing on this charming, weird little piece of film. The musical numbers, the excessively melodramatic tone, the off-kilter humor, the eccentric locals, the genuine educational aspects: it is damn near perfect from top to bottom. I wouldn’t in a million years consider “Cane Toads” to be a bad movie, but more people should see it, so I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to give it a shout-out. It is a goddamn riot. Also, if “Cane Toad Blues” doesn’t get stuck in your head, you have no soul.

If you happen to enjoy “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History” (why wouldn’t you?), then you’re in luck: there’s a sequel. As with most follow-ups, it isn’t quite as good as the first, but it is still more than worth your time to sit through.