Thursday, August 8, 2013

#1,088. Snowbeast (1977)

Directed By: Herb Wallerstein

Starring: Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan

Tag line: "An unknown terror stalks a ski resort!"

Trivia: While shooting on location in the Colorado mountains the temperatures would rarely rise above five degrees during the day and would drop well below zero during the evening

Next up is Snowbeast, a 1977 made-for-television movie about a creature that takes its frustrations out on a nearby ski resort.

The Rill Lodge is in the midst of preparing for its annual Winter Carnival when news arrives that a few vacationers have been mauled to death by an unknown animal. As it turns out, the “animal” in question is a yeti-like creature that spends the majority of its time searching for prey, which it finds in abundance on the nearby ski slopes. Tony (Robert Logan), whose family owns the lodge, teams up with good pal and former skiing champion Gar Seberg (Bo Svenson), Gar’s estranged wife Ellen (Yvette Mimeux), and the local sheriff (Clint Walker) to hunt down and destroy the beast, thus ensuring that the financially-lucrative carnival will go off without a hitch.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Snowbeast, which, on the surface, looks like it'll provide a “so-bad-it’s-good” experience (what with it being a low-budget made-for-TV monster film). But I have to say, I really enjoy this neat little movie, which has a few things going for it, including the filmmaker’s decision to keep the monster under wraps most of the time (and it’s a good thing, too, considering how cheesy it looks when we do catch a glimpse of it). By way of some well-executed POV shots, where we’re looking through the creature’s eyes, and a handful of truly suspenseful moments, Snowbeast manages to get your pulse racing. Most effective of all, however, is the snowbeast’s roar, which we sometimes hear echoing in the distance, as if it were warning everyone in the area that it was on its way. This damn roar creeped me out the first time I saw the movie (which, admittedly, was more than a few years ago), and it’s a big reason why I still like it to this day.

Sure, it has its problems; aside from Robert Logan’s poor performance as Tony, there’s a chaotic scene set inside a school auditorium that’s more funny than frightening. But in the end, Snowbeast is still a lot better than you first think it’s going to be.

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