There once was a man named Vic Savage. You're probably thinking "So?" Well, he knew an Exploitation Filmmaker named Allan Silliphant (who would later direct The Stewardesses, the most profitable 3D movie with respect to budget of all time) who was related to Stirling Silliphant (writer of In the Heat of the Night). Vic bought a story from Allan, pretended he bought a story from Stirling, and pulled together some investors - supposedly by promising cameo roles. He took the money, made... a "movie," and disappeared with most of the investors' money.
The story is about a UFO that releases a giant caterpillar-like monster who begins eating random people. It turns out that the monsters (there's a second one inside the ship) are actually robots sent to analyze human beings for aliens. Although the monsters are destroyed by the end, the spaceship still beams its collected data into space...
This film provides examples of:
- Cameo: Most memorably obese Investor #5 as Bobby's grandpa.
- Car Fu: The second monster is defeated by ramming it with a truck! Armies of the world, take note: when guns are useless, grab a Ford!
- Clothing Damage: A blink-and-you-miss-it moment. When the monster attacks the dance party, a woman tries to escape, only for a guy to come after her and pull her away tearing her dress top off.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point, it looks like the Terror is humping a convertible.Mike: You see, when a monster and a car love each other very much...Crow: He's mistaken the car for a lady monster!
- Fanservice: The various shots of wiggling female legs disappearing down the monster's gullet. Servo speculated that the director had a vore fetish.
- Fan Disservice: And for others, it is ruined by the fact that, well, they are getting eaten (and that it doesn't apply to the male victims).
- Funny Background Event: The drunk at the party is seen still drinking at the bar while everyone is slowly trying to either leave or crawl into the monster's mouth.
- The End... Or Is It?: The Terrors are destroyed, but the information they collected is successfully sent to their masters.
- Gainax Ending: The second monster is killed, but the spaceship sends off a signal to... somewhere... and the threat that more monsters may come is raised, though there's some speculation by the film that the society from which it came is extinct now.
- Godzilla Threshold: The military is forced to use... a grenade.
- Here We Go Again!: The spaceship has a second creature in it.
- Hollywood Tactics: Apparently infantry engagement rules in the '50s required soldiers to stand tightly clumped-together and fire at the enemy from seven feet away. Colonel Caldwell only thinks to use a grenade after his entire squad is eaten.Crow: What kind of memorial do we build to those guys?
- Hot Scientist: The male variant. The film makes a big deal about how young and hot he is.
- Improbable Weapon User: The young folk singer weaponizes his acoustic guitar against the Terror. It works as well as you might expect, especially when said guitar has no strings and is a breakaway prop.
- Improbable Infant Survival: The actual baby survives the film.
- Kill 'Em All: This film has very few survivors.
- Leave the Camera Running: A lot of long scenes of nothing going on, except dancing, or driving, or playing a guitar...
- Monster Misogyny: One of the most blatant examples.
- The Narrator: Who seems to only talk when the characters should be. The plan was originally to dub it over, similar to Manos, but they decided to use a narrator instead.Crow: "Actual dialog startled everyone!"
- Science Is Bad: Doctor Bradford is clearly wrong for taking any kind of non-military action. Not that the military are any better.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Most of the scenes with the monster eating people are set to jazz music. Completely takes away from the scariness of the situation.
- Swallowed Whole: How just about everyone gets it, though the men go down fast while the women go down struggling, wriggling, and screaming all the way.
- Token Romance: During the party, one character is stewing about her boyfriend standing her up, then a pair of guys duke it out (presumably over her) while the monster rampages. This subplot is suddenly introduced and vanishes just as quickly.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Almost all of the victims tend to stand in place and scream rather than flee the easily outrunnable creature, except the ones in cars. They just kind of sit there and scream, even though they could out speed the monster by walking away casually. The monster design pretty much makes it impossible to eat anyone without their willing assistance.
- In an attempt to stop the transmission of humanity's biological data, Martin rushes into the UFO, loaded gun in hand—then tries to pistol-whip the computer. Needless to say, this doesn't work.Mike: Hey, hey, there's bullets in the other end of that thing!Mike: Now, if you can help out by climbing in... (the bots chortle)
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The first victim's boyfriend is never seen nor heard from again after he runs off and leaves her to her fate. Apparently, he didn't think it worth telling anyone about the monster.