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Snowbeast


Title: Snowbeast
Year Of Release: 1977 Original air date 4/28/77
Running Time: 86 minutes
DVD Released By: American Home Treasures as part of the Classic Creatures Movies Collection
Directed By: Herb Wallerstein
Writing Credits: Roger Patterson and Joseph Stefano

Starring: Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan and Clint Walker
Taglines:
1. The legendary creature is half man... half animal... and a cold blooded killer.
Alternate Titles:
None

Review Date: 10.10.04 (updated 1.1.10)

Shadow's Title: "Yeti vs. The Skiers"

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Characters
Gar Seberg – A former olympic gold medal winning ski champ who is now feeling all washed up, despite being one hundred percent to blame for his current status. Is in desperate need of a job and hits up Tony for work. Is supposedly an excellent marksman, but is more deadly with a skiing pole.
Ellen Seberg – Gar’s wife, a TV news reporter. She has just about had it with her husband’s inability to move on with his life. She once had a relationship with Tony Rill before marrying Gar and admits to still having fantasies about him. Excels at is getting lost in the woods.
Carrie Rill – The owner of the local ski resort. She claims to have been in these parts for at least fifty years, but I’d wager it may be closer to five hundred, as she looks old enough to have sailed with Columbus. Adamant about keeping the lodge open despite the bodies piling up.
Tony Rill – Carrie’s grandson and all around whipping boy. He helps her run the resort and lodge as the general manager. He also has a tendency for overreacting, transforming the mood of nearly any serious moment into a miasma of melodrama and cheap theatrics.
Sheriff Paraday – The head of the local law. He is also the obligatory Doubting Thomas who wants to shift blame for the killings to some wild animal rather than a Yeti. He even goes as far as gunning down some poor bear to help convince everyone of this notion. Not very good at his job.
Betty Jo Blodgett – This year’s “Snow Queen” for the 50th Winter Carnival. She is barely in it at all, but I couldn’t resist including a screen capture with that facial expression, which reminds me of my sister when one of her dates had the nerve to suggest that they go dutch at dinner.
Jennifer – A wayward skier who ends up on the menu. She is the appetizer by the way, dying just three minutes and forty seconds into the film. A real pity, as she is…er…was the best looking female in this entire film. Why is it that the hot and/or slutty chicks are the ones who always get killed?
Heidi – Jennifer’s best friend. Heidi’s definition of “best friend” is slightly different than how most people would describe the term. She thinks nothing of leaving a friend in danger on a split second’s notice, more interested in preserving her own worthless hide than helping out.
Buster Smith – This idiot is a member of the Ski Patrol. He hears Heidi’s near incoherent story about a monster killing Jennifer and doesn’t believe a word of it. However, he does think that Jennifer is hurt or lost, so against orders from Tony, he goes looking for the missing girl.
The Snowbeast – Some type of BHM (Big Hairy Montser), be it a Yowie, Sasquatch, Yeti or Chewbacca’s retarded cousin. Has a hankering for human flesh, which makes its culinary choices only slightly less gross than the Atkins Diet. This shot wasn't in the movie and was taken by production personnel.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

I don't think this one is gonna end with the title creature saving the day by being able to place the star atop the Christmas tree.After a few brief shots of snowy landscapes, complete with desolate wind sounds and some focusing/unfocusing camera effects, we get a brief glimpse of a hairy arm pulling at tree branches before hearing the titular creature’s roar. I suppose this is to set up the fact that it's out there in the woods, on the loose and looking to score some grub. As opposed to standing in the unemployment line after getting beat out for the Wookie part in Star Wars – though it does look like it may have been the runner up for the role of the Wampa a couple years later in The Empire Strikes Back.

The film quickly cuts to a pair of skiers on the slopes, Jennifer and Heidi. We are subjected to numerous shots of these two as they make their way down the mountain. They eventually make a brief stop where Heidi makes vocal her unease. She wants to go back (to the lodge presumably) and claims that there is “something funny.” How she can sense this is unclear. It must be one of those “gut” feelings. Jennifer just laughs it off and continues skiing down the hill. They ski a little further and suddenly we get Monster Cam! A POV shot makes it clear that something is watching them from the nearby trees as they leisurely make their way down the hillside. Soon the monster is on the move.

Jennifer and Heidi make another stop where the latter discovers some odd-looking large footprints in the snow, one right in front of the other, which makes it appear as if whoever made them had the stride of an Ewok. Lots to fear there, huh? Jennifer dismisses the tracks as the work of pranksters, and you just KNOW that this spells certain doom her. It's too bad, because Jennifer is by far the cuter of the two, and more importantly, the least annoying. Sure enough, another roar echoes through the woods, and without a single word to her friend, Heidi takes off down the slope. Jennifer stays and peers into the woods. Then we get a monster’s point-of-view shot as it crashes through the trees and into the clearing. This is followed by alternating shots of Jennifer’s shocked expression and the Monster Cam closing in – made all the more maddening because the close-ups of Jennifer were shot in full sun light, whereas the POV shots are so obviously in shadow. Was it THAT hard to shoot both at the same time of day? Needless to say, a brief scream is all Heidi hears to mark Jennifer’s fate.

Now we cut to The Rill Lodge, where the 50th annual winter carnival is getting under way. A lot more footage of people on skis, riding ski lifts, walking in the snow, putting skis on, taking skis off, teaching kids to ski, falling on their asses and what not now follows. It’s like a commercial for Squaw Valley or something. With the presence of the carnival, am I the only one now anticipating a Jaws “We can’t close the beaches!” type speech from some idiot sooner or later in this film? A woman’s voice over a loudspeaker can be heard during all this activity. She is Carrie Rill, the first Winter Queen and owner of the lodge, who looks like she held the title in the Mesozoic era rather than the 1920’s, and she is promoting the various events. The film finally cuts to a shot of her standing in the middle of a crowd where she is finishing up her speech…but hold on a second. Where is her microphone? A few seconds ago her voice was reverberating across the Lodge grounds where everyone could hear her, now there isn’t a microphone in sight. Was she just yelling really loud a few seconds back or did someone just swipe her mic away from her in hopes of garnering some peace and quiet?

Whatever the reason, she wraps up her speech just as a SUV-like vehicle pulls up and someone remarks that it’s “Betty Jo, The Snow Queen!” Is that anything like the White Witch from Narnia? If only! This movie could probably benefit from a healthy dose of talking animals and mythical creatures. Alas, it is not Jadis who disembarks from the SUV (I’d have settled for Father Christmas) but some young woman who looks like she could still be in her teens. She is greeted with slightly more pomp and ethusiasm than a winner of a “Miss Alabama Trailer Park Contest” would receive.

As the festivities get under way, a snowmobile comes careening up to the lodge with a member of the Ski Patrol at the handle bars. This is Buster Smith and the fact that he is wearing a red outer garment (ok, so it is more bright, bright orange than pure red…just go with the flow) will clue you in to this poor bastard’s role in this film. He jumps off and runs inside looking for Tony Rill. Tony is summoned and he invites Buster into his office to talk. While Buster is relating whatever important news he has, Carrie Rill, Betty Jo and Betty Jo’s mom are walking around the interior of the lodge. Carrie is babbling about how she was the very first Snow Queen at the first winter carnival – fifty years ago. Only fifty? It looks more like in her day the Snow Queen was hauled around on horseback since wheels had not been invented yet. Tony and Buster emerge from his office and it is obvious by his heavy jacket that Tony is planning on going outdoors. Carrie instantly busts his chops for going “skiing” at such a time, but he assures her that he has a little problem with which to deal. Carrie then reminds him that the manager only deals with “big” problems, which they have none of at Rill Lodge. He just agrees and beats a hasty retreat.

"Look, you're 22 years old now. You're gonna have to stop hanging out with the 12 year-olds on the bunny trails."Buster takes Tony out to a distant patrol station where Heidi is becoming increasingly hysterical, and more annoying by the minute, after relating her story of a monster that killed Jennifer. It seems none of the Patrolmen believe her. What a shock. What I don’t get is why they felt the need to drag the lodge manager way out to this isolated place to deal with the situation. Couldn’t they just have sent her back along with Buster Smith when he went to see Tony? Why waste the boss’s time by having him go way out there? Anyway, Tony tries to talk to Heidi, but she just keeps flipping out. Tony tells her to calm down so they can go looking for Jennifer but she absolutely refuses to go back on the mountain to take part in such a search, and is quickly ushered back to the lodge (finally!) and out of the movie, having served her fleeting purpose, but not before lamenting the fact that it was her job to look after Jennifer and she doesn’t know what she’s going tell the missing girl’s parents. WTF? You were supposed to look after her, yet you took off with out a single word when things got…uh…hairy! Way to go there, Heidi. Before being hauled off, she does offer up one vital piece of information: she and Jennifer had passed an old barn by a stream. Now Tony and the patrol at least have a few ideas as to where they can begin their search. Buster leaves to take Heidi to the lodge but not before Tony tells him and all the other patrolmen to keep quiet regarding Heidi’s monster story.

Tony then sets out with some Patrolmen on a search, but they quickly (and predictably) split up. A short series of shots of them all skiing lets us know that they’re covering lots of ground. This is one part that confused me. Since travelling via skis limits you to one basic direction – downhill, how can they be covering the area that the brief montage shows us? Maybe they have some of those new magic skis that we’ve heard so much about. You know, the kind that takes you up hills? Either that or they were on one very tall mountain. Still, Heidi eluded the monster the first time by skiing downhill, so logic dictates that she came across the patrol station downhill. So why are these clowns searching downhill? Wouldn’t going up to the top of the mountain and then commencing the search make more sense?

Eventually Tony wanders close to the monster, as we are subjected to a few Monster Cam shots of Tony skiing downhill. Alternating shots show Tony’s jacket jumping back and forth from being buttoned to unbuttoned. Are you hot or cold? Make up your mind!! I would like to interject that at this point in the film, I realized I was in for a lot of scenes featuring people skiing downhill. While not fulfilling my fears too much, this film still came off as only marginally more entertaining than the average Winter Olympics. Maybe if the Olympics took a nod from this film and introduced some Yeti themed sports at the next competition, I’d take more interest. You know, the fastest skier to reach the bottom and avoid the snarling big hairy monster wins – or better yet, put the Yeti on skis and bring in the biathlon team for some target practice. That has got to be worth some nielsens. Anyway, back to Tony who has somehow come across Jennifer’s bloodied jacket and abandoned skiing equipment. Another roar fills the air and Tony looks around. Now, we the audience are treated to a shot of something large and white moving around just beyond the treeline (no, it is not Frosty the Snowman), but with all his jerky head movements it is not clear whether Tony sees the same thing that we see.

We quickly cut back to the lodge, where Gar Seburg and his wife Ellen have arrived. An autograph hound hits Gar up for his signature and mentions a gold medal (Yeti Biathlon perhaps?) in his past, which lets us know that Gar was once the bomb on the slopes. As soon as the people wanting autographs leave, Gar looks at his wife and in an icy (sorry, bad pun) voice says, “It's nice to be wanted somewhere.” Ouch! That stings! We will soon learn that Gar is a washed up former champ, having quit at the pinnacle of his skiing career so as to not become a “has been” and becoming exactly that. He has come to the Rill lodge to look up his old friend Tony and hit him up for a job.

They go inside and see Tony as he is entering his office and Gar calls out to his friend, but Tony just raises a hand in that “wait a second” gesture and then closes the door behind him. Ellen floats the idea that Tony is just busy and didn’t recoginze them, but Gar begins to mope and thinks his friend did indeed recognize him and snubbed him on purpose. What a whiner. Gar then agrees with Ellen that coming here was a stupid idea. She responds by saying that she never claimed it was a stupid idea, it's just that she wants him to look for a job outside the world of skiing, but Gar insists to her that skiing is all he knows how to do. That last part is almost funny, as the film makes it clear that he hasn’t even been on skis since his gold winning performance at the 1968 winter Olympics. If that is all you know how to do, and you haven’t even been doing that for nine years, then what the hell have you been doing? No wonder he needs a job! His wife is tired of carrying his lazy ass! She even accuses him of not really wanting a job and using his sudden change of mind as an excuse to back out and still feel right about the situation. Gar just glares at her then walks away.

"I don't care if there is a Golden Girls marathon on today, I expect you to stay here and knit me a sweater like a good grandmother."Elswhere Tony is confronting his grandmother, informing her that something that wasn’t an animal or a human is responsible for Jennifer’s disappearance. He claims the other Ski Patrolmen saw nothing (which I guess confirms that Tony did in fact see the monster when we saw it behind the trees) and he rushed them out of the area for safety’s sake. However, he’s adamant that something is wrong and lives may be in danger, wanting to call in Sheriff Paraday. Carrie bemoans the fact that something like this had to happen just as the Winter Carnival was gearing up, noting how important the carnival is to the existence of the lodge and the local area and suggesting that things be kept quiet until after all the celebrations are over. Only sixteen minutes into the film and the Jaws “beach speech” has come to pass. Carrie proposes the idea that it was just an avalanche that killed Jennifer and pretty much browbeats Tony into remaing quiet about any monsters, going so far as to remind him of their familial relationship and the responsibility it implies.

Tony asks a lodge worker to locate Sheriff Paraday for him and then meets up with Gar and Ellen, apologizing for not stopping to talk earlier. He compliments Ellen on her looks and tells Gar that he “always was the winner,” which informs us that he and Ellen had something going on at one time before she married Gar. Gar then cuts to the chase and tells Tony that he needs a job. Tony just smiles and promptly hires the former champ on the spot as the new ski school director with a simple “not any more you don’t.” Damn, I wish my last job application had been that easy! Gar looks pleased but Ellen doesn’t seem overly thrilled.

Next we see Tony outside when Buster Smith arrives. He knows that Tony didn’t find the missing girl and despite having the rest of the day off, has a good idea where the missing Jennifer may be and wants to lead a team to look for her. Tony, not having told anyone else other than his grandmother about the Big Hairy Monster, refuses and orders that signs be posted in the area, restricting access. However, that doesn’t deter Buster, who then decides to ignore the boss’s orders and takes off on his own to look for the missing girl. We’re treated to more skiing scenes as well as shots of him bumbling through the countryside. At one point he stops and in the distance we hear the familiar roar of the Big Hairy Monster. He continues on, but takes a spill, sliding over the edge of a precipice and just managing to hang on to the edge so as to not go falling. He struggles to haul himself up and I’m left wondering why, as the slope beneath him looks no steeper than your average bunny trail. Some Monster Cam shots let us know that the BHM is getting closer. Then we cut to a close up as Smith continues to struggle, before a roar alerts him to look up. He screams at whatever he sees and all we are treated to is a large hand grabbing his head before the picture freezes and fades out, presumably to commercial. So far, we’re not doing too shabby. The first commercial break has arrived and already two people have been killed by the monster.

Now we see an isolated farm. A truck pulls up with a group of workers (just what the hell are they doing there in winter by the way?) and one small boy hops out and makes for the barn, disappearing inside. More Monster Cam to let us know that the BHM is watching from nearby. Some faint roars can be heard but the boy’s father looks around and sees nothing. The boy then emerges from the barn wearing a stunned expression, as if he just discovered his entire collection of Yu-Gi-Oh cards burnt to a crisp. When his father prods him, he just mumbles “Inside. The water trough.” Dad investigates and a quick shot of a bloodied feminine arm tells us that Jennifer (or what is left of her) has at last been located. I just want to know why this kid didn’t scream or yell or shit his pants like most kids would do. He sure was calm. In fact, he was too calm. Maybe he was on Ritalin or something.

Back at the lodge Sheriff Paraday has arrived, but before Tony can talk to him, he’s called away by an urgent call from a patrolmen reporting a murder at the old Fairchild place. Soon after, Tony and Ellen get a chance to catch up with one another privately, and we learn that they were indeed an item once upon a time before she married Gar. She thanks Tony for giving her husband a job ( I can think of a job she could give him…ok, bad Shadow) and he just says that having a former champ like Gar working there is in the lodge’s favor. Tony asks why Gar had a hard time convincing her to make the trip and she mumbles something about only having two weeks of vacation each year and hoping for something with a warmer climate. Plus, she was afraid of seeing Tony again. She admits to having fantasies about Tony for the last year and also confesses that she’s not exactly happy in her marriage and that her husband seems stuck in the past – 1968 to be exact, when he won his Olympic gold. Gar seems to be having problems moving on and it is taking its toll on Ellen and her respect for him. Tony tries to make her feel better by saying that he has always loved her and giving her a chaste kiss. Then she departs for a nap.

Gar then arrives and having witnessed the kiss, jokingly teases Tony about kissing his wife. Tony inquires as to whether Gar is still a good marksman and promises to explain later as long as Gar keeps it a secret. He is to tell no one, especially his TV reporter wife. Gar agrees but before Tony can spill the beans, Carrie calls him away. He makes arrangements to meet Gar in an hour at the swimming pool.

Out at the Fairchild place, Sheriff Paraday has looked over the scene and is talking with the traumatized boy and his father. He tells the father to take the boy home and thanks them for their help. The father picks up the limp child and carries him off to the truck like he was a sack of coal. Paraday gazes at the hillside, but doesn’t see anything.

At the lodge, later has now arrived and Tony quizzes Gar on his Bigfoot lore while the two men splash around in a heated swimming pool. Gar repeats the basics and relates the work Ellen did for a story on the mythical creature. Tony confides that he has seen a Bigfoot monster, that it is dangerous and steps need to be taken to ensure public safety. Gar gets upset; thinking the only reason Tony gave him a job was to hunt down the beast as a hired killer. He gets out of the pool and we instantly shift to a scene with the two men sitting inside around a table, dressed in their bathrobes. Tony is assuring Gar that he did not hire him as a killer, it's just that the BHM on the loose is dangerous and needs to be dealth with accordingly. Gar goes all Star Trek on Tony and says that just because it is different doesn’t mean it should be hunted down and killed. He relates the fact that in all the reported sightings of Bigfoot, the creature has always run away from Humans and not been a danger. Tony now reveals that a girl has gone missing and that he believes she has been killed by a BHM.

Outside, Ellen is stomping around, carrying a pair of skis and stops to ask Carrie if she has seen Gar. Carries says no and just then a Sheriff’s Deputy shows up on a snowmobile. Self important Carrie asks him if he is there to see her, but he replies that he is not and is in fact looking for Tony. Carrie asks what is going on and he tells her that it is “nothing you want to know about” before asking her to inform Tony that the Sheriff wants him out at the old Fairchild farm as soon as possible. The deputy then hops back aboard his snowmobile and high tails it back to said farm.

It is at this point in the movie when the producers decide that we the audience have not had enough shots of people on the slopes, so Ellen decides to go skiing – you got it – alone. After a few shots of her skiing, we see the deputy arrive back at the Fairchild farm. Then it's back to Ellen, who is now on a hill overlooking the Fairchild place, where the Sheriff and the deputy can clearly be seen walking towards the barn. Now wait just a damn minute here. How did Ellen get out there so damn fast? She left after the deputy departed from the lodge but arrived at the farm just seconds after he did…and he was on a snowmobile! Either the gold medal was awarded to the wrong skier back in 68’ or those fancy magical skis we talked about earlier are putting in another product placement appearance. Of course, the third explanation is that the deputy, in typical lawman fashion, stopped off for some donuts and coffee before heading back to the Fairchild place. Though, in all fairness, the deputy did mutter something about having to get right back out to the farm, so maybe he held off on those pastries.

Was that the invisible swordsman?Anyway, Ellen sees some of the creature’s tracks in the snow, still looking like a midget made them. Not only that, but there doesn’t seem to be any disturbed snow around the tracks. Who walks through snow and doesn’t stir it up as they go? An Elf? Sure, but the last time I looked the title monster was not lithe, effete and prancing about in the woods. And one last thing…I am by no means an outdoorsman. I have no tracking skills whatsoever, but even from my admittedly untrained eyes, the tracks left behind look like they were made by a creature that was limping. The Yeti is a gimp!! So, Ellen ponders over them a moment and then vanishes into the trees, but not before the Sheriff seemingly catches a glimpse of her. Fade to commercial.

Meanwhile, Gar and Tony pause their snowmobiles while en route to the Fairchild place, because Gar thinks he sees something in the woods. Nothing jumps out at them and so they continue on. Back out in the woods, Ellen is following a set of Yeti tracks and getting herself further and further afield. The sun is steadily dropping towards the horizon and no doubt she is realizing how lost she has become. Eventually she will have to remove her skis and carry them as she tromps through the snow.

Upon arriving at the barn, the Sheriff tells Tony and Gar that he think they have found “that missing girl.” Wait a second! How did he know there was a missing girl? Tony instructed all of his employees to keep it quiet and has not yet had the chance to talk to Paraday about it…so how did the Sheriff know? Paraday then shows Jennifer’s body to Tony and Gar, but the mangled condition prevents a quick ID. Tony does manage to match the body’s clothes to the jacket he found the previous day. The Sheriff busts his chops for not telling anyone about the jacket he found and then asks him if that is what he wanted to speak to him about, mentioning the story Heidi was babbling about a monster. It is interesting to note that everyone in this film refers to Jennifer as that “missing girl” but they all call Heidi by her first name, which implies that they all know her. I find this very easy to believe. Heidi is so damn annoying, how can everyone NOT know who she is?

While all this is going on, Ellen is bumbling around in the snowy woods like an adult version of Lucy Pevensie and has stumbled upon the site where know-it-all Patrolman Buster Smith met his fate. Some disturbed snow and blood is all that marks the place. She hears the roar of the monster and quickly skedaddles. I don’t think that it's Mr. Tumnus out there in the woods! However, despite her efforts, the roars continue to grow closer as she does her best to haul ass.

At the Fairchild place the Sheriff is agreeing with Carrie Rill’s notion that it was a Grizzly Bear that killed Jennifer. Tony disagrees and then launches into his theory that a Bigfoot creature is responsible, even stating that he has seen the beast. Gar backs him up, relating some information Ellen had discovered while preparing her news story on the mysterious creature. Apparently hundreds of the creatures are “known” to roam the secluded countryside (did I somehow miss that segment on the news?).

We cut back to Ellen struggling to make her way through the woods. It's getting darker with every passing moment and the roars of the Yeti can be heard echoing through the trees, growing louder and louder. Ellen is clearly beginning to get very frightened and keeps moving, but it is very slow going.

Returning to the barn, the Sheriff isn’t exactly ready to buy this Bigfoot theory completely, but he does know that whatever killed Jennifer, the fewer people who run across its path, the better. So he concocts a story about a wild bear emerging from hibernation and mauling the girl. I guess even bears need the equivalent of a midnight snack when hibernating. The Sheriff convinces Gar to go with that story for now and to even relate that version to his wife. Still, Paraday proposes that he and the other two return the next day and track down whatever is that was responsible. Gar agrees that whatever “did that to that girl in there” has got to be tracked down and destroyed.

Once more we return to Ellen out in the woods. She has managed to get to a hilltop and is making her way down the other side. Monster Cam reveals to us that the BHM is watching her. What is really obvious about all these scenes with Ellen is that they were filmed at various times during the day. In some shots the sun looks like it is dipping toward the horizon while in others it looks like high noon. The continuity really sucks bigtime. Ellen takes a spill and more Monster Cam shows us that the BHM is moving through the woods. Ellen gets back on her feet and moving again, but Monster Cam shows us the BHM arriving at the spot where she took a tumble.

Now we cut back to the Rill Lodge where night has fallen and some Winter Carnival festivities are getting underway. Sadly, it looks like the place was converted into a ski lodge from an old high school, as the bulk of the ceremonies seem to be scheduled to take place in a large gym, complete with fold-up bleachers and marching band. Intermixed with shots of people wandering around the gym with the band playing are more of the Monster Cam shots, which show the monster slowly creeping up on the place. Don’t ask me why it gave up on chasing Ellen, because I don’t know. Carrie goes to see Snow Queen Betty Jo just in time for the Yeti to stick his hands through the window and send everyone screaming in terror – no doubt because he’s not adhering to the dress code.

Panic ensues and people begin running everywhere, knocking others down and so forth. The Yeti, obviously quite insulted and hurt that his attempt to join the fun was so coldly rebuffed, turns his attention to the recently arrived Snow Queen’s Carriage, driven by Betty Jo’s mom, who has pulled up to a stop in the parking lot. Too bad for her, because after having his feelings trampled by the biased festival goers, somebody double parking in the parking lot and then honking the horn at him is the last straw for the Yeti and he goes postal on her. Back inside it is mass pandemonium. Carrie takes a hit from a careless youth running by and careens into the floor. The Snow Queen’s crown gets trampled, people seem to run screaming in circles and everyone’s night is generally ruined. Betty Jo runs outside to find what’s left of her mother still in the driver’s seat of the Snow Queen's Carriage, the Yeti having gone home. Fade to commercial.

The Sheriff’s deputies are now going over the bloody mess left in the Snow Queen’s Carriage. Betty Jo, no doubt on some serious drugs, has been taken away. The body of her mother is zipped up and carted away as well. Close by, Carrie Rill is being loaded into an ambulance. She tells Gar that Tony was right and that she should have let him do something more about the threat, it's just that this was the 50th Winter Carnival and she didn’t want to see things ruined in such a landmark year. Gar assures her that it will continue for another fifty years and then she is hauled away. Gar then returns to his living accomodations.

If it is supposed to be the middle of the night, then what the heck is that giant glowing thing in the sky?Now, not once during the evening has Gar inquired about Ellen. She’s been gone since earlier in the day and as the audience knows, is still lost in the woods. Surely one would wonder where their spouse is at a time like this? Instead, Gar seems to be reliving his moments of glory on the slopes. So much so, that after several flashbacks, he decides to suit up and go skiing!! In the middle of the night no less! We’re now in for some day for night photography of Gar skiing that wouldn’t be too bad, if not for the fact that more than one shot shows the sun in the background!!! And once again, someone is able to traverse a great distance using only skis (can I buy stock in the company that manufactures those?).

Ellen is hiding in a barn somewhere. I don’t know if it is the Fairchild place, but as we’ll see momentarily it may very well be one and the same. She awakes from an exhausted sleep when she hears the sounds of someone or something approaching. A shadow looms, the music swells, but it is only Gar! They build a fire and share a private moment together. Gar relates how if not for the fact that she got lost, he never would have climbed back on the skis in order to go looking for her. Say what?? You mean he didn’t bother to tell the Sheriff’s department and leave the search up to people in cars, trucks and snowmobiles? Well, why do that? Those darn skis can cover miles in minutes. Whatever the case, the two seem to have rekindled the fire in their marriage. It is unknown whether they had kinky sex in front of the fire, but we can only hope that they did not. Barging in on that sight would be scarring enough to even send the Yeti packing for good.

Morning arrives and a helicopter flies around, the pilot radioing in that there is no sign of either Mr. or Mrs. Seburg. Well, I guess it's good to know that somebody in those parts thought enough to alert the authorities that someone else was missing.

Gar and Ellen are just rousing from their sleep when Gar hears something. You guessed it! More Monster Cam is closing in on the barn! As they’re leaving the barn, a body drops from the loft above. It turns out to be the mangled body of the lost patrolman, Buster Smith. Was anyone even looking for him? This is what makes me think that this particular barn may be the Fairchild one. The Yeti would most likely stash his food in the same place, unless he was really smart and kept caches of snacks all over the countryside. However if this is the Fairchild place, then why the hell didn’t the Sheriff find this body when he came to see Jennifer’s remains? So this is either a different barn or the local law is run by an incompetent.

Ok, a side note…

Going back and comparing establishing shots reveals that this is indeed the same barn where Jennifer was found. This just begs the question – just how big of an idiot is Gar? He was there the day before and saw the body for himself. He should be able to put two and two together and realize that if this is where the Yeti is stashing his food, there is a damn good chance it will return at any time!!! So what did he do when he found Ellen inside? He built a fire and got all cozy with her! I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. This is the guy who didn’t even think to look for his missing wife until the middle of the damn night! If I were her, after this mess was all over, I’d have a serious discussion with him about his priorities.

The revelation that this is the same barn leads us to another inescapable conclusion – the local law officers are so incompetent, they make Barney Fife look like Dirty Harry. I mean, come on. The discovery of Buster Smith’s body by Gar and Ellen means that these fools didn’t even take the time to check out the rest of the barn for clues when called out to look at Jennifer’s corpse. Wouldn’t that be one of the very first things to do? Instead they miss it. I know, I know – there is the chance that the Yeti stuffed Smith in the larder after everyone had left, but remember this…Ellen came across the bloodied ledge where Smith was attacked by the beast and there was no sign of him. She even followed the tracks for a while until the sounds of the Yeti getting close spooked her and evidently made her hide in the Fairchild barn. We know that she was in the vicinity of the barn when the Sheriff was there, as we saw her looking at them. So the only way Smith’s body got into that barn after the Sheriff left was if the beast was carrying the corpse around with him through the woods for hours and dropped him off while pursuing Ellen. If that is the case, why the hell was it chasing Ellen? It had food. Was it just still upset that its first snack got discovered and taken away?

Ok, back to the movie now.

The Yeti, seemingly pissed that someone is fooling around in his larder, tries to break in but can’t get the door, which Gar has bolted, open. What a wimp. This monster is coming off as more and more of a joke all the time. Gar fools the beast into running around to the back of the barn, so he and Ellen can make their escape out the front. Long about now Tony, Sheriff Paraday and a deputy arrive in the vicinity on snowmobiles. Despite the fact that they are on the other side of the river, the Yeti, not wanting to experience a Rodney King-like beating at the hands of the cops, hightails it into the hills at the approach of the law. Paraday catches a glimpse of the monster through his binoculars as it stumbles its way into the woods like a drunk sailor.

The trio then turn around and head back to a bridge so they can cross the river and reach the Fairchild farm. When they arrive, Gar and Ellen come bursting out of the barn. Gar has removed the long board he was using to bolt the inside of the door and is still holding it upright when he charges outside. As he passes through the opening, the board knocks loose some deer antlers that had been affixed to the exterior of the barn above the door. They fall directly on Ellen’s head, causing her to stumble. The Yeti might be gone, but look out for Gar the klutz! Tony greets his friends and then we fade to another commerical break.

The next day (or later that same day), the once happening Rill Lodge is empty and as quiet as a tomb. Apparently, the fact that Yeti's frequent the place is enough to convince everyone to either stay inside or just head for home. The Patrolman Buster Smith is buried in a solemn ceremony, complete with a five-gun salute (I suppose no one worries about avalanches in these parts). The mood overall is subdued until news spreads that Sheriff Paraday has killed the beast. In fact, he shot it right between the eyes! Everyone rushes outside whooping and hollering, because now they can get back to skiing and drinking and fornicating without those damn Yeti's showing up to ruin the fun.

A little known fact was how often Smokey indulged in binge drinking, regularly requiring someone to literally drag his ass home.Gar, Ellen and Tony are not too happy, though. It seems the Sheriff has shot himself a bear and is passing it off as the creature responsible for the killings in order to end the fear and panic. I really felt sorry for the bear. Here it was just chillin’, taking a nice long winter nap, when some crazed lawman busts into his crib and shoots him dead. It sounds more like something that happens in the hood than in the mountains of Colorado. On a slightly different note, I’ve got to say that the bear has got to be even phonier looking than the title monster. This thing looks like an old bear suit left over from a Three Stooges short, stuffed with some rags and then tossed onto a sled. I’ve seen more threatening rugs that were stretched out in front of fireplaces than this thing.

Some time later, Gar confronts the Sheriff and asks him if he realizes that he’s shot the wrong creature. The Sheriff defends his actions, still not quite ready to believe the whole Bigfoot angle as in his eyes there just isn’t enough to prove that such a creature exists. Plus, he isn’t too keen on the idea of people swarming the hillsides with guns, shooting at anything that moves in an attempt to bag the beast. Gar suggests cutting the bear open to see what is inside. When Human remains are not found, it should be proof that the bear was not the killer – though I laughed to myself at the idea that they just might find a car’s license plate, the Jaws parallels just won’t quit. Ellen tells the Sheriff that he owes it to the people to warn them about the Yeti and possibly shut down the winter carnival. Paraday still is reluctant to put his reputation on the line by going public with such a story. So Gar and Ellen convince him that the best idea is to go hunt the monster down themselves, just the three of them.

Tony gets wind of their planned Yeti hunt and invites himself along, so the four of them load up a truck and camper with supplies and head off to go hunting. Be vewy, vewy quiet! We’re hunting Yeti! We then see them roaming around on snowmobiles. Where did those come from? They weren't pulling a trailer with those loaded on board, and they certainly would not fit inside the camper. A seemingly endless series of shots of them riding through the woods are intermixed with some Monster Cam shots of the Yeti taking a closer look at their camper, where it proceeds to get close enough to trash some of their skis. During this scene it is very hard to see, but look close enough at the camper windows and you will see the reflection of the guy operating the Monster Cam. To give credit where credit is due, the producers at least did an excellent job of disguising him and making him look like the Yeti.

So after hours of searching and not seeing the monster, they decide to call it quits for the day and head back to the camper. There they find the busted skis. This leads them to believe that if they wait around there long enough, the monster will return on its own and they won’t have to waste time looking for it, hoping to run across it. Miraculously, they have the sense to realize that this also means they will have to take turns standing guard all night. Ellen orders Gar and the Sheriff to take the first watch while she fixes dinner. Gotta love a take charge kind of gal.

Inside the camper, Tony quizzes Ellen as to why she chose to marry Gar and not him. She doesn’t mention his bad acting, but I’m sure she was being polite. She claims that Gar seemed to “need” her more. It also seems that the events of the last couple days have made her draw closer to her husband again. They swap guard duty with the others, allowing Gar and Paraday to eat. The Yeti is watching from atop a nearby hill, but doesn’t do anything. How these morons cannot see the creature from such a short distance away is beyond me.

This week on FOX: when logs attack!How in the hell did they get inside?Morning comes and Gar emerges from the camper to talk with Tony and Ellen and share some coffee. It is unclear whether the latter two have been on guard duty all night long or if they had swapped a time or two during the night with Gar and Paraday. At this point, who really cares? The Yeti takes this opportunity to kick a large stack of logs that have been (ever so conveniently) placed at the top of the hill overlooking the truck. The logs come rolling down and smash into said vehicle, overturning it with Sheriff Paraday still inside the camper. What is really odd about this scene is that we see the angle the rolling logs are approaching from, and even see them hit the truck and turn it over…so I want to know how in the hell did so many logs end up inside the camper, poking in through the back (and only) door? Did some of them just turn at right angles when rolling?

So Gar, Ellen and Tony try frantically to pull Paraday from the wrecked camper. The Sheriff is out cold, buried under some of those logs that have some how managed to get inside despite rolling from another direction. Sadly, the monster is rapidly approaching and the trio can’t get the poor Sheriff out in time. They haul ass just as more Monster Cam shows the Yeti closing in on the trapped Sheriff. He awakens just as the monster is with grabbing distance and lets out a terrible holler as the screen freezes on his horrified face and then fades out to commercial. Scratch one Sheriff.

 


Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 


We return to the three stooges…er…I mean Tony, Gar and Ellen, running through the snow like they’re on crack or something. They pause to catch their breath and this is when Gar states that the monster is no longer killing just for food, and that the log rolling incident just now was a planned counter attack. I just have to ask – in order for the Yeti to execute a counter attack, it would have to have been attacked in the first place…so when did this happen? Is there a missing reel to this film or something? Don’t tell me it’s still miffed about the Winter Carnival. Tony suggests they make a beeline for the Fairchild barn, as it is nearby.

Now this is when one of the most comical moments in the film transpires. Gar shoots Tony’s idea down, stating that it is a bad idea to go there as that is where the BHM is stashing its food and it would be best to not be there if it decided to come back. I looked at the screen and nearly shouted, “NOW you’ve come to that conclusion? What about when you where napping inside with Ellen a couple nights back?” I suppose he cares more about his friend Tony’s safety than his own wife. Despite Gar finally realizing this danger, Tony theorizes that having lost two meals from the barn, old big and hairy won’t be dropping by anymore, so they head on over and build a fire and relax.

Time passes by (how much is uncertain) when suddenly Tony gets up and decides he’s going back to the camper to retrieve some skis and a gun in order to improve the situation. In true all-for-one-and-one-for-all style, they all elect to go back. So why the hell did you run all the way to the barn if you’re just gonna head back?? They return to the trashed camper and Tony scopes it out from a distance with his binoculars. Not seeing the Yeti, they approach and find a big red splat on the ground that is the only thing left of the good Sheriff. Unfortunately, their rifles were leaning against the camper when it was pushed over, but Gar realizes that the extra rifles were inside. All the while, the Monster Cam moves through the trees. Ellen climbs into the camper and throws some skis out while trying to find the rifles. Tony remembers that there is a pistol in the cab and so climbs in to retrieve it.

Yikes, what a steep cliff. Not.This is when old big and hairy shows up again. Tony finds the pistol and squeezes off three shots, and actually hits the beast! The monster takes off into the woods, bleeding. Tony throws the pistol to Gar who jumps on his skis and goes after the Yeti (I don’t remember Ellen tossing out any ski boots, so how did Gar affix his skis to his feet?). He follows more of the gimp tracks the monster leaves behind, only now they’re ringed with drops of blood. Several minutes of Gar skiing and Monster Cam shots running through trees is what we now get to convey the cat and mouse hunt that is underway. Tony and Ellen manage to find some more skis and another rifle and take off in pursuit of Gar and the Yeti.

Finally, the creature attacks Gar in the woods. This is the second time we get a glimpse at its face, and its a very brief look at that. Gar empties the pistol at the monster (five more shots – you do the math) but it just keeps charging at him. So what does he do? He takes one of his ski poles, braces the handle against a tree…and impales the Yeti when it runs up to kill him. It really is too bad that Jennifer didn’t know about this method to dispatch the beast, but that would have made for an awfully short movie. Naturally, this entire impaling scene is accomplished with Monster Cam. The creature lets out a bitch squeal and stumbles backward over a ledge. Again, all done via the Yeti’s point of view (complete with ski pole sticking out from where the beast’s chest would be). Tony and Ellen arrive and along with Gar they walk to the ledge and look down at the dying monster (still more Monster Cam). One shot even makes it appear as if this is the same ledge at which Patrolman Smith encountered the monster. A few last noises from the monster are heard and the music is cued. Fade out.

The end.

 

Review

Back in the 1970’s Bigfoot mania was all the rage. Despite legends going back to the nineteenth century, Bigfoot was somewhat of an unknown until 1967, when a gentleman by the name of Roger Patterson filmed what became widely known and circulated as genuine footage of Sasquatch. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures if not the film footage itself. After that, Bigfoot’s popularity soared higher and faster than Evel Knievel jumping the Grand Canyon. The media was flooded with news stories relating recent sightings of the creature while books devoted to the Big Hairy One were all over the place. Bigfoot even showed up on the popular The Six Million Dollar Man TV series, his cultural impact was so great. In fact, it wasn’t just Bigfoot. The public seemed fascinated with all sorts of Cryptozoological animals. From the Loch Ness Monster to BHM's (Big Hairy Monsters) like Sasquatch, The Yeti or the Skunk Ape of Florida, people gobbled it all up. Television series such as In Search of… scared the crap out of an entire generation of kids (myself included) with their pseudo-documentary approach to such monsters, a method not lost on the producers of The Blair Witch Project nearly twenty years later.

Naturally, movies cashed in on this fascination. Who remembers 1975’s The Mysterious Monsters, narrated by Peter Graves (yes, the Biography guy for you youngins)? Idiotic by today’s standards, it managed to keep the rapt attention of hordes of small kids (again, myself included) by presenting "evidence" that creatures such as Nessie and Bigfoot really existed. Not content with the documentary route, Hollywood decided there were inherent scares in the Bigfoot mythos and a few killer BHM movies came our way. Snowbeast was one such film project. Coming roughly 20 years after a short run of cheap B movies based on Yetis that were released in the 1950s, this film was differentiated from the rest of 70’s Bigfoot fare by its snow filled setting as well as its status as a made for TV movie. Also, despite its subject matter, it followed a cinematic approach in theme and execution that was so successfully pioneered by Jaws a few years earlier and which countless other films of the period "borrowed" as well. Succinctly put, Snowbeast is a "monster on the loose" film. A small, secluded community must deal with a rampaging Bigfoot monster, who insists on snacking on any skier that crosses its path.

Ok, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of this film, and what very well may come to everyone’s mind at first is this – there is way, way too much Monster Cam in this movie. Ninety nine percent of the time, the presence of the monster is presented through this particular filming technique. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love some good POV shots when they are used sparingly and correctly. They have the ability to instill a stronger sense of urgency in the viewer, raising the heartbeat and heightening the overall viewing experience by putting the audience "into" the movie on a deeper level. However, when over the course of an hour and half, you get twenty minutes of Monster Cam and less than a minute total for actually seeing the damn monster, it is bound to disappoint the monster lovers among us. Given the fact that the creature suit in this film isn’t half bad considering the obviously low budget for this project as well as the time period in which it was made, and it is even more tragic that the beast wasn’t seen at least a wee bit more. Overall, the heavy reliance on POV shots gets old rather quick and ends up hurting the movie by having the opposite effect than what it should – it takes the audience even further out of the film by making such shots boring and routine.

The second thing that comes to mind is that there is an awful lot of skiing in this movie. Granted, this film is set at a ski resort at the height of the winter season, but sheesh – it was starting to look more and more like a promotional film put out by the Colorado tourist bureau. There were so many scenes with skiing, that at a couple points, I half expected to see James Bond whiz by with bad guys hot on his tail, guns blazing. Now, if the over indulgence in Monster Cam pushed the audience out of the film, the endless skiing can only serve to then put them to sleep. To say that the numerous skiing shots slow the movie down is like saying Cyanide tends to make people drowsy.

Aside from those two big complaints, the only minor quibble I have with the film is the time it sets aside to explore the characters. The producers must have realized that even with all the Monster Cam and Skiing footage, they couldn’t pad the movie out to the required length, so they were going to have to buckle down and actually develop the characters somewhat. For the most part, the fleeting tidbits we get about the characters are just enough to smooth out the rough edges and give them something of a motivation behind their actions. However, the movie falls flat when it tries to have these people cope with the various pressures they are dealing with, be they emotional or secular in nature. Then it seems like we just don’t know enough about these people to care about their personal demons. The interaction between Tony and Ellen is particularly painful, as it seems too forced and lifeless. I’ve see better chemistry between gasoline and an open flame. No wonder she chose to marry Gar. In the end, we just don’t care much about these folks, as it is the monster and its antics that we want to see.

As a "monster movie" this film is just adequate in my opinion. Others no doubt will call it boring beyond the ability for words to describe. The reason for either approach is the same – the monster is not seen enough. Sure, there is plenty of carnage and terror on display, and despite all the skiing the film does move at a decently brisk pace, but the monster spends too much time putting events in motion and then stepping away from those events to take a seat on the bench. Sure, death seems certain at the hands of the Yeti, but the film still lacks a sense of danger whenever the beast is heard or shown to be lurking nearby. Scares are non existent here, even for a film hearkening from the 70’s, when made for TV horror films were seemingly shown every week, with some competing with theatrical releases in the "chills" department. One can only assume that this was much more scary in its day, and its attempts at establishing an eerie and unsettling mood were more successful when it first aired.

This film was directed by Herb Wallerstein, who made a career directing for Television in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. One of his more notable credits is directing the final episode of the original Star Trek, "Turnabout Intruder." In Snowbeast, the TV origins are all too apparent. The directing is almost flat and by the numbers, showing little flair. The cliché-ridden script, coupled with the low budget doesn’t make things easier. Despite being set over a thousand miles form the coast and featuring an altogether different type of menace, the Jaws inspired cliches are almost too numerous to keep up with – a girl is killed early in the film, a small community dependent upon tourists for survival, certain people wanting to cover things up…even blaming the terror on an innocent animal.

There is one aspect to the film that rises slightly above the rest. When Tony tells Gar about the monster and his opinion that it needs killing, Gar replies, "Just because it doesn't look like you or me makes it a thing; and then it's all right to go out and kill it in cold blood, right?" It is at this brief moment that the film is more than just a carbon copy of nearly every monster-on-the-rampage film that preceded it. In all too many films, the characters are resolute in their single-minded determination to kill the monster. Here, someone actually stops to say that death should not necessarily be the first option. Sure, the beast may be dangerous, but perhaps some more time ought to be taken to understand the creature and to learn more about it. It obviously has a role in nature, so why must we be so damn steadfast in our rush to kill it? Just because it is unlike us is not a good enough reason to end its life. Alas, this Star Trek-like attitude, while refreshing, is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten. Soon after, all the characters are committed to seeing the beast die, and any moral quandaries that may arise from the murder of a possible sentient or semi-sentient lifeform are left by the wayside. From that point on, the monster is unquestionably evil and needs to be destroyed.

Still, for all the bitching I seem to be engaging in over this film, there is that elusive X factor, as I refer to it, that lends itself to my sense of appeal. Maybe its because as a kid I was fascinated with Bigfoot, reading all the books I could find on the subject and watching any TV show or film that boasted his appearance…even those documentary type shows that scared the crap outta me. One of the very first horror stories I ever wrote featured a BHM and a couple of my most vivid childhood nightmares had Bigfoot chasing after me. So I suppose on some basic, instinctual level, I still harbor a fear of Bigfoot type creatures and this film, having one such critter in it, demands my attention. Then again, I love damn near anything genre related and this movie certainly fits the bill.

On a side note, since this was a made for TV movie, there are obvious spots where the film breaks for commercial. I counted a total of five such breaks in a movie that was no doubt broadcast over a two-hour time slot. Compare this to a recent movie on the Scifi channel where I counted five commercial breaks in the first hour alone, before falling asleep (Scifi "original" movies suck, but you knew that).

 

Expect To See:
Forest Hijinks
Forest Hijnks - There is a lot of running around in the woods here, by both Humans and the Snowbeast. Sadly, I think half the Humans are lost.
Monsters
Monsters - One Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Yowie, BHM (Big Hairy Monster), Wampa wannabe or whatever else you want to call him. Don't expect much.
Snowy Hijinks
Snowy Hijinks - Boy, this film does not believe in skimping on the skiing footage. Be prepared, as the only time you’ll see more skiing is at the next Winter Olympics.
Violence
Violence - Several violent deaths, usually implied rather than seen. Some blatant Yeti impaling and shooting. One bloodied body drops from a loft. Several bloody patches in the snow.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 4
Animal deaths: 1
Yeti deaths: 1
Children scarred by sight of dead body: 1
Teens scarred by sight of dead mother: 1
People scarred by viewing this film: Undetermined
Spring-loaded dead bodies: 1
Number of Monster Cam shots: 50(!)
Percentage of film made up of people skiing: 10.7%
Number of shots fired from a six-chambered pistol: 8
Commercial breaks: 5

01 Min – Where is a good James Bond ski sequence when you need it?
06 Mins - Only 50 years?
16 Mins - Hitting on another guy’s wife…right in front of him!
23 Mins - This kid will be in therapy for the rest of his life.
35 Mins - Whatever made those tracks is a gimp.
49 Mins - What, coroners on the job without sandwiches to eat?
53 Mins - BOO!
61 Mins - Trigger an avalanche already, why don’t you!!
62 Mins - Somebody call PETA!
62 Mins - With special guest cameo by Jack Nicholson!
84 Mins - End credits. Lets go skiing!


Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time you hear the monster's roar, take a drink.

 

Images Click for larger image

"Alright, alright, alright!! I'll show you
where we hid your other carrot,
Frosty! Just let me back up!"



 
A rare look at the fabled cocaine
fields of South America.


"I'm sorry, Timmy...but that red hat
doesn't hide your hideous
horn mutation."

 
"I'm just here to sing
Silent Night. Honest!"

The band really had everyone on
their feet...and running
for the exit.

Where will you be when your
laxative kicks in?


 
"Remember to aim high guys. Not
doing that is what got
us all here in the first place."

 
"We are the three amigos!
We are the three amigos!
We are the three amigos!
And amigos forever we'll be!"


"Whoever said it doesn't get any
better than this wasn't
drinking this crap!"

The newest edition to the
Winter Olympics: Log Dancing.

"Hello ladies and gentlemen. My
name is Rworrkarfarg and I'm
here to ask you to
not buy Yeti fur."

"Don't come any closer! One more
step and I'll fir...er....this
isn't my rifle!"

 

Immortal Dialog

Heidi going nuts at the Patrol station.

Heidi: "I saw its footprints. I heard it. And it’s got Jennifer and all anybody’s doing around here is staring at me like I’m crazy!"

Shadow’s comment: No, they’re staring at you because you’re worse than crazy, you’re annoying and they want you to go away.


Tony trying to explain things to his grandmother.

Tony: "This wasn’t an animal! And it wasn’t Human, either."

Shadow’s comment: Way to narrow it down, Sherlock.

 

Keep In Mind
  • When your friend wants to leave the woods soon after finding odd tracks and hearing strange roars, it is best to not ignore them.
  • The Olympics need to incorporate more Yeti themed sports.
  • A Yeti’s biggest pet peeve are people who lay on the horn.
  • When a loved one goes missing, it is best to go looking for them yourself and not bother the authorities.
  • Skiing is a quick and efficient way to travel miles within minutes.
  • Holding up where the monster stores its food is an acceptable place to hide.
  • Bears make convenient scapegoats.
  • Skiing poles, when properly wielded, are deadlier then firearms.



This Film & Me

This film was first broadcast on the ABC television network on April the 28, 1977 and I vividly recall watching it…or at least part of it. For some reason I missed the climax of the film and had to be told about it the next day by my father. I don’t know if I fell asleep watching it or was ushered off to bed by mom before it was over. Checking the calendar shows that date to be a Thursday, so there is good evidence to think I was made to go to bed. However I don’t remember putting up any protest about having to go to bed (something I surely would have done), and despite being all of eight years old at the time, my mother was very accommodating when it came to my monster movie viewing habits, allowing me to stay up to catch the ending to a movie even on a school night (within reason of course). I caught the movie again a year or two later when the local ABC affiliate in San Francisco, channel seven, aired it for their "Three o’clock movie." It was after that viewing that several images got stuck in my head and remained there for…well…forever: The POV shots of Jennifer’s as well as Paraday’s demise, the monster attacking Betty Jo’s mom, and the idiotic way the menace was finally handled. I caught bits and pieces of the film another time or two before it vanished altogether with the beginning of the 80’s. I gave it the occasional thought over the years until I saw it on DVD last year and decided to revisit my childhood by buying it. I’m glad I did.

Shadow's rating: Five Tombstones



The Good

  • Cool Yeti suit
  • Great snowy locations
  • Good stalking scenes
  • Good atmosphere for a made-for-TV flick

The Bad

  • Yeti not on screen enough
  • TV movie = no blood and guts
  • Moron characters
  • Magic uphill skis
  • Not enough Yeti attacks

The Ugly

  • Too much damn skiing
  • Too much damn Monster Cam
  • Bad acting
  • Heidi - annoying as all hell
  • Unconvincing dead bear

 

 

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