Monday, March 08, 2010


The latest installment in my ongoing Festival of Bad Cinema was a little movie from 1977 called ‘Snowbeast’. Or as I like to call it, 'Jaws... on Ice!'

It's the 50th anniversary of the Rill Lodge ski resort in Colorado, and they're gearing up to crown the annual Snow Queen. However all is not well. An attractive blonde has gone missing on the slopes, leaving behind her unattractive friend to explain that they were attacked by a huge, hideous creature. And Ron Perlman wasn’t even in this film, so nobody knows what it was.

Why did it attack one and leave the other? I'm working on the theory that the hot actress was too expensive to provide more than a cameo, whereas the ugly actress would work long hours for beer and attention.

The ski patrol is sent out to look for the missing woman. One of them doesn't return. It looks as if there's some sort of abominable snowman lurking in the mountains.

Sheriff Paraday - variously referred to as Sheriff Parody and, from certain angles, Sheriff Bryan Ferry.

The sheriff doesn't want to upset the festivities with a lot of fuss and bother about marauding sasquatches. He claims it’s all the work of a mere bear, or possibly some sort of Ron Perlman copycat. Eventually it falls to ex-champion skier Gar Seberg and his lavender snowsuit-clad wife Ellen to hunt the snowbeast down and destroy it.

Goals for today: hunt snowbeast and pop into Starbucks for a caramel macchiato.

Yetis and Bigfeet were something of a fad in the late ‘70s, and Jaws had been astonishingly popular two years earlier, so it was only a matter of time before someone mated the two and produced this bouncing little made-for-TV movie.

Sadly it seems that someone drank during the pregnancy. And smoked. And punched themselves repeatedly in the stomach. The budget was so low that they couldn't afford an entire Bigfoot costume (having to rely instead on glimpses of a flokati rug, a hairy glove and a mask that's never seen for longer than half a second), and the made-for-TV status meant that they couldn't show any blood, guts, or anything even approaching acts of violence. Frankly there's more hardcore action in an amateur theatre production of 'Anne of Green Gables'.

Oh good job. You’ve killed an extra wrapped in a flokati rug with a ski pole.

To get around this lack of both funds and viscera, the makers of ‘Snowbeast’ came up with the idea of shooting the pivotal man-versus-sasquatch scenes from the perspective of the sasquatch. It was a clever idea, but unfortunately they rather overused it, giving the audience the impression that the terrorising was being performed not by Bigfoot but by some rogue cameraman rampaging across the Colorado snowfields. Maybe he got left behind while filming 'Lassie: The Painted Hills' and turned feral?

Tell my wife… I died… wrecking Yvette Mimieux’s career…

In the end the yeti - or Hank the cameraman, whichever it was - is left dying and broken at the bottom of a ravine. Another triumph for network television, shamelessly derivative scripts, and actors who would soon be left to cool their heels in guest appearances on ‘The Love Boat’.


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