Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zeroing In on a Glendale CREEP!

Although Plan 9 from Outer Space has long been celebrated as the worst movie ever made, the progenitors of the Razzie movement, brothers Michael and Harry Medved, will tell you privately that this is actually not quite right. For reasons too intricate to detail here, the 1959 Ed Wood entry was able to unfairly steal the stink spotlight from 1964's The Creeping Terror, an even worse science-fiction yarn about a man-eating carpet creation from outer space.

Monster movie fan turned documentary filmmaker Pete Schuermann is hoping to right this upside-down ignomy with CREEP!, a 2011 feature-length documentary project that ventures far beyond a glib rehash of the movie's worst moments. Through 40 to 50 minutes of production and behind-the-scenes re-enactments, the Colorado Springs based Schuermann is most interested in profiling the man who bamboozled a great many people in Glendale, CA and beyond.

"The fact that this charlatan director A.J. Nelson could convince successful, seemingly intelligent adults into pouring time, hard work and money into something so incredibly bogus is fascinating to me," says Schuermann during an interview with FilmStew. "It echoes the way the many women in his life were charmed into shockingly intense abuse and neglect."

Enamored as a kid by The Creeping Terror

"From the outside looking in, we can all wonder how anyone could have believed that this film could find acceptance from an audience," he continues. "But also we have the same bewilderment over how anyone could let a "monster" like Mr. Nelson close to them. This is a main theme for CREEP!"

While Schuermann and his collaborators Nancy Theken and Dave Wruck have been unable to coax one-time Nelson girlfriend and The Creeping Terror co-star Shannon O'Neil into participating, they have taped interviews with the aforementioned Medved brothers as well as special effects wizard Richard Edlund, Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles, original screenplay author Alan Siliphant and a number of Creeping Terror cast members. They are also chasing after such luminaries as Joe Dante, Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese.

On September 30th, Schuermann and co. will hold an impromptu project update session at Colorado College. Local interest in the $300,000 endeavor has been high, and with an organic project such as this, you never know what might happen or who might know who when footage from the original film and new documentary is shared.

Great tag line

"The goal here is to shoot for a limited theatrical run," explains Schuermann. "We already have advance offers for foreign rights, which helps interest investors and keeps us motivated. The plan is to continue to show snippets as we move along to gain attention. This plan has worked well already - the teaser trailer brought several interested parties to the table simply on the strength of the concept and execution of the content."

Although Schuermann currently makes a living providing motion graphics and other creative components for clients such as American Airlines, he has been a filmmaker from the get-go. While in college, he put together a Super 8 spoof of Star Trek that went on to find surprising success.

"Hick Trek was basically a project done with no expectation or allusion to release, and yet it has been the most successful thing I've done," marvels Schuermann, who played the part of Captain Jerk. "It enjoyed a profitable DVD run and led to the creation of a fan club with members worldwide. It's the kind of movie people either love or hate."

A last-minute prop monster

Another one of Schuermann's efforts, the short film Evil Brain from Planet X, found its way into three different festivals. This despite the fact that he never submitted it to any.

"It was a script for a corporate project that was ultimately rejected," he recalls. "I loved some of the content I had come up with and still wanted to get it done. Basically it was one of those things I did in my spare time with little money, but I had a blast making it."

"To this day, I have no idea how the three different film festival directors found it!" insists Schuermann. "They just emailed me for permission to show it. Evil Brain resides on my personal website, so I guess these guys found it there. We even won a Jury Prize at the Las Vegas Pollystaffle Film Festival, which was nice."

Schuermann's other credits include another spoof film Star Warp'd, the cautionary 2008 documentary about drunk driving, HAZE, featuring a special introduction by Robin Wright-Penn, and a pair of earlier shorts (Moses 2000, Jimmy Hits the Big Town) that were distributed via



  1. "The Creeping Terror" is far worse than "Plan 9". The fact that most of the original dialogue was lost and most of the movie is narrated. The monster looks like a giant sucker that fell on carpet. My favorite scene is when it attacks a school dance and a boyfriend pushes his girlfriend into the monster because there's no way it could catch anybody.

  2. Another fascinating bad movie double whammy at play here is the fact that the old Masonic Temple in Glendale (234 S. Brand Blvd.) was used not just as a location for THE CREEPING TERROR but also for another 1964 film that gave PLAN 9 a run for its money - THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED UP ZOMBIES.

    There's some info floating around the Internet that suggests actor Rock Hudson owned the building at that time, as a tax write-off. But I was able to confirm with the current owners of the building that this is incorrect. Too bad, as that would have been the icing on a very moldy cake.