While i teased a Shriek Of The Mutilated review in the Snowbeast’s one…. i’m gonna keep teasing it a bit more, i’m not yet ready to rewatch and talk about that “fine specimen”, but i’m willing to keep the “yeti train” goin’, so let’s defrost a Peter Cushing film from the old Hammer catalogue with their 1957’s “The Abominable Snowman”, itself derived from their BBC series “The Creature”.
The plot sees antropologist John Rollason (Peter Cushing) and a scientist friend of his going to Tibet and being welcomed in a buddist monastery. The head monk questions them and he’s not convinced by John claiming to be there in order to study the local flora, and as soon as an american climber by the name of Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker) joins them, the actual reason for their travel becomes clear: they plan to climb the mountains in a quest for the legendary snowman, the yeti.
John is moved by his logical and professional curiosity, while Tom has actually been contracted to do “a King Kong” on the yeti, i guess “apenapping” it’s an american inherited trait or something.
Speaking of which, this steam from an old deal between Hammer and Robert L. Lippert, Hammer had to basically “take” a given american star actir in the cast of the movie and in return Lippert would be have distributing rights for the film in the United States. In this case we have western expert (also remembered for his F Troop character) Forrest Tucker, here playing… the arrogant, greedy and lying american asshole, basically. XD
While it’s not a completely forgotten part of Hammer’s old output, this is definitely one of the minor ones and it hails from their early era, so you might have seen the poster-promotional artwork if you’re into “retro horror” but most likely didn’t actually watch it.
My opinion on the movie since last time i saw it (as i reviewed it years ago for the first iteration of a horror column in italian) actually improved, i still think it’s a bit slow moving and not too much happens in it, which i think it’s partly due to this not being a big project for Hammer, hence it being filmed in black and white, being bloodless and having very few special effects for the yetis themselves, as they’re often heard shrieking off screen, or just partially seen for most of the movie.
On the flipside, the film does have a decent atmosphere, the yeti suits and props do actually look good for the time (a bit silly in one instance, but not badly made), and the ending does leave with an interesting variation on the nature of the yetis themselves, one i really haven’t seen done before or since, which makes the many dialogues about evolution and antropology spoken by Cushing actually amount to something.
Acting is decent but not even Cushing it’s bringing his all, and the characters actually fare worse, being pretty one-note, with John being the ethical patron saint, Tom being the “evil destroyer asshole american”, and so on. There’s just not much to these characters to make me proper care about most of them, with the exception of Tom’s wife and the Dalai Lama, even if he’s played by german actor Arnold Marlè, as he also played the same character in the aforementioned series The Creature.
But then again, it’s a late 50’s UK production set in Tibet, so yeah, it’s not particularly sensitive or respectful, nor it goes out of its way to be offensive, so really whatever.
Overall, it’s a decent flick and it’s enjoyable watch even today, the script – and pretty much – and as time passes by it will kinda inevitably get better, at least when talking about yeti movies.
Not that anyone actually makes even new crappy movies about the “yeti” per se, his american cousin “sasquatch” it’s getting all the attention, at least enough to be featured in Mark Polonia movies like “Bigfoot VS Zombies” or having a MCU-like appearance in turds like “Trump VS The Illuminati” or “Bigfoot VS The Illuminati”, hard to tell which is supposed to be first as both came out the same day in 2020.
But then again, the next year he would fight the Megalodon, so…