It’s still january, it’s still cold as hell (proper Dante Alighieri hell), so it’s time to shovel up and unearth a yeti movie from the motherland, with the forgotten Yeti: Il Gigante Del 20° Secolo from director Gianfranco Parolini (credited as Frank Kramer), often called just “Yeti”, “Big Foot” (yeah, that helps a lot, thanks) or with a direct – and accurate – translation of the title in english, as Yeti: The Giant Of The 20th Centhury,
Italian-canadian kaiju yeti-xploitation, can’t go wrong with that!
Yeah, digging this gem out to also celebrate the new trailer for Godzilla VS King Kong !
The plot sees Professor Wasserman (because Pissmensch was too juvenile) being asked by industry magnate Morgan Hennicut to lead an expedition in Newfoundland, as to study the giant yeti creature they found there, frozen in a block of ice. Unknown to the professor, the magnate plans use the yeti as the symbol of his multinational industry, because no one remembers what happened in King Kong, even in the italian DeLaurentis movies, so the yeti falls in love with a girl because she accidentally touched his nipple – no joke – and goes on a confused stroll through the city, he’s doesn’t actually go on a rampage until the end, and it does so because it’s enraged.
Though, it depends on what cut of the movie you watch, i found a copy of it on Youtube in its original italian language, but it’s the 96 minutes cut (which IMBD lists as the UK cut), the original italian cut is almost 2 hours, but it’s harder to find, it hasn’t been re-released, not even for the italian market on a cheap DVD with no extra, and i wasn’t able to find any info on what has been cut.
If i were to guess, i’d say most of it was people going to Newfoundland, climbing the mountain and some scenes building up the reveal of the ice-incased yeti, because the 96 minutes version abruptly cuts from the magnate greenlighting stuff to everyone (including the press) waiting for them to unthaw the beast with flamethrowers.
It just feels something is missing, it’s so abrupt.
Still, even at 96 minutes, it feels a touch long, not too much, i guess because it’s an italian movie so there has to be a chrime thriller sub-plot about people wanting to kill the Yeti to damage the magnate’s public image…or something, it’s not handled very well and it’s not clear why they do it anyway. I guess it makes more sense than it going into cannibal movie territory, and one could be forgiven in thinking so, since it’s a trashy italian film and Antonella Interlenghi (playing the magnate’s granddaughter) does look like the kind of actress that happened to star in Cannibal Ferox.
But get your mind out of that nastyness, because Yeti The Giant Of The 20th Centhury it’s a silly, ridiculous uber-trashy romp that’s honestly almost a “family picture”, since there’s also a bit of Lassie in it…. when the aforementioned chrime thriller sub-plot doesn’t appear for some grim shit like kidnapping. Then again, this is the only movie i saw where they frame a yeti for murder, or where a yeti/sasquatch chokes an evil goon to death… by using just the foot fingers. XD
To say nothing of the giant nipple prop to show the yeti’s nipple getting hard. And the yeti itself (played by Mimmo Crao, who also played Thaddeus in 1977’s Jesus Of Nazareth) looks more like a Woodstock werewolf hippie, even more since he doesn’t have fur all over the face. He goes from making “bedroom eyes” to Antonella Interlenghi’s character to treat her and the lil brother character like they’re family, saving the little dude like he’s Gamera or giving them raw fish to eat and then using the fishbone of a giant trout to comb her air. He’s not exactly evil, more confused as hell to being unfrozen and then brought into a world he doesn’t recognize at all.
He’s goofy to look at, absolutely, it doesn’t help that the special effects are often not up to snuff by any means, so he often changes size depending on the photography or plot convenience, and he’s just projected on a green screen, looking a bit too transparent. I will say that at times the effects (including giant feet props for scale) turn out decently and the composition convincing enough, which is kinda surprising.
Also, you gotta love the soundtrack, with aggressive – but funky – use of disco music (it is an italian movie made in 70s, after all) and the “Yeti theme”, which is surprisingly good, in a weird way, as it almost seems like a spoof of Carmina Burana’s O’ Fortuna. My only gripe is that it’s often used so aggressively and at random it almost feel like an assault, but the compositions are way better than one would expect for a King Kong rip-off about a giant yeti-cavemen.
If anything, it doesn’t really take long to get the yeti out of the ice (even more in the 96 minutes version, i would guess), it starts off fast but it also manages to remain fun all the way through, there’s plenty of weird, insane or stand-out moments, like the yeti climbing down a building and destroying every frigging window on his way down, just to save his one-sided love interest, or some amazing lines like “Look out, he’s got a tree!”. Bit of sad ending, though.
Characters are mostly dumb but in a fun way, acting from the (mostly) italo-canadian cast (which also includes Tom Kendall and John Stacy) goes from bad to decent, and despite being indeed primo trash, it’s far from the worst – or the stupider – of the King Kong rip-offs. I mean, this one is still incredibly ridiculous, cheap and dumb, but it’s actually pretty darn fun to watch as well, so i do recommend searching for it if you want a good time with some high class vintage cinema trash.