The Snow Creature
Half man! Half monster!
Year of Release: 1954
Running Time: 71 minutes (1:11)
Director: W. Lee Wilder
Paul Langton ... Dr. Frank Parrish
Leslie Denison ... Peter Wells
Teru Shimada ... Subra
Rollin Moriyama ... Leva
William Phipps ... Lieutenant Dunbar
Lock Martin ... Yeti (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
A botanical expedition to the Himalayas comes across a Yeti den and is able to capture one alive. When they arrive back in Los Angeles, the creature is held by customs officials debating whether it is a man or beast, allowing the Yeti to take advantage of the confusion and escape into the city.
The Snow Creature, remindin' us that there's no reason to do a castin' call for real Sherpas when you've got perfectly good Japanese P.O.W.s just waitin' in the wings for their shot at cinematic immortality. Seems kinda cruel to me though, I mean, haven't these people suffered enough? Between the nuclear strike capabilities of everybody who remembers 'em goin' out an makin' jackasses of themselves in the big one, an serious levels of untreated psychological trauma stemmin' from various Godzilla attacks over the years, is it really necessary to force these poor people into a movie that starts with an openin' narration by a man so boring he makes Ben Stein look like Gary Busey? I think the descendants of these guys might have a case against United Artists cause I'm pretty sure that havin' been in this movie is a violation of the Geneva convention.
An speakin' of P.O.W.s, Shankles' been pretty P.O.'d the last few days after bein' put under house arrest on account of this cougar runnin' around town turnin' people's pets into unsightly piles of Spam casserole. Cleave Furguson's pretty P.O.'d about the situation too cause apparently it found its way into his taxidermy shop an violated the mount he was workin' on for Aesop Marlin an ate the styrofoam necks out of a coupla Pronghorns that were only a set of eyeball marbles short of completion. Now the goll durn thing won't go back into the hills cause it thinks Aesop's mounted trophy's gonna poop out a batch of kittens, so I've been tryin' to litter train Shankles til somebody can splatter that cat with a .30-30 or the grille of a Datsun hatchback. Unfortunately, Shankles ain't havin' none of it. I'm sure that mosta you people're already familiar with how difficult it is to litter train a possum, but for those who've never tried; it's harder'n gettin' Courtney Love to put 'er top back on at a New Year's Eve party an can get almost as ugly. First time I put 'im in there an that litter started shiftin' under his feet he bolted an hid inside the dryer flex hose for about six hours til I finally coaxed 'im out with some old fish heads. So then I ditched the litter entirely an tried fillin' the box up with leaves an it seemed like this was gonna work cause he dove right in there like Larry Bird on a loose ball an started rearrangin' the pile like an interior decorator. But ultimately, this just made things worse cause now he's got a nest built between my Field an Stream bookshelf an the hot water heater an the whole thing just keeps expandin' like the list of reasons why Honey Boo Boo is gonna require years of intense psychological therapy now that he's learned how to unroll the toilet paper an use it to reinforce his compound. I'm afraid that if he keeps this up he's gonna overrun the entire bathroom an reduce me to usin' the outhouse again, an despite only havin' the indoor toilet for about 4 months, I was really lookin' forward to not needin' snow boots to take a dook once the white stuff starts flyin'. But at least one good thing came out of it, cause now he's so concerned that Apollo's gonna destroy his fort if he gets more'n about five feet from it that he's taken to usin' the toilet so he won't hafta get too far outside of his perimeter. I can see now that I'm gonna need a cougar tag cause I ain't puttin' up with this much longer, specially since he's got the fish-head farts an you pert'near need a snorkel an oxygen tank just to shave in the mornin'. Dead serious here, if anybody ever walks in there with a lit cigarette the entire house is gonna go up like a Montana meth lab an apparently somebody let this information slip to my insurance company who just tripled the rate on my home owner's insurance for bein' a "willful liability." Like I can just stuff a pair of salad tongs in that rat's nest an pull 'im outta there or somethin'. These guys clearly have no experience in dealin' with spirited animals.
I'll think of somethin' I guess; if things get much worse I suppose I can always wait til he's asleep an try gettin' a pallet jack under that heap. But gettin' back on track, this movie's gotta be about the best Yeti loose in the sewers flick of 1954, with perhaps the most shagadelic shag carpet creature since Robot Monster the year before. Suffice to say, when the Yeti hits the town to chase some skirt, I pull out my notebook like a North Korean peasant waitin' for Kim Jong Un to say somethin' brilliant, an once it was all over this's what I'd come up with. First, Yeti wives've gotta be about the coolest wives around, cause they'll stand by their manbeast even after they sneak down to Sherpa town to scoop up Nepalese babes for a fuzzy frolic. I guess Mormons allow that too, but then you'd have to be a Mormon. Second, the Yeti is a "crude and primitive" creature, subsisting far beneath his morally superior human counterpart who has evolved the cognitive abilities necessary to threaten their employees with death if their orders are disobeyed. An third, if you're gonna go outta your way to include a shot of a guy's watch to illustrate just how early in the mornin' it is, it may be worthwhile to remove the clock in the previous shot that's nowhere near synchronous. But those small potatoes aside, this one featured a scene that shook my core belief system like surgically altered hooters in a strip club. I'd never bought into the gun grabbin' liberal propaganda they've been pushin' all these years, claimin' that you're more likely to kill a family member than an intruder if you happen to own a double barreled self defense system, which is just stuff they say hopin' we'll give our machetes an 12 gauge pumps over to the cops for safe keepin' since they're perfectly on the level an would never dream of usin' excessive force against anybody. Wasn't buyin' that crapola for a second, but after viewin' this movie I must confess, I'm kinda rattled. See, you've got this Yeti, an he's in his cave tryin' to protect his home from these Sherpanese schmucks an when he goes to pull the cave wall down on top of 'em it ends up fallin' on HIM, knockin' 'im out like Ray Rice's wife an killin' his entire family while the triumphant trespassers stand victorious over his concussed carcass. This yeti had a home defense plan all laid out, in advance, for just such an occasion an he still inadvertently destroyed his wife an kids tryin' to protect 'em. This's scary stuff right here, no joke. I mean, what good is havin' self protection if you're almost certain to have it backfire like John Candy's Mercury Marquis in Uncle Buck? I'm seriously considerin' donatin' my self protection protocols to the Guns for Toys program to see if I can't get me a train set or a Space Invaders cartridge for my Atari, cause this whole certain death thing's startin' to seem a little counterproductive.
The movie begins with this Monday mornin' quarterback of a narrator talkin' bout a botched expedition in search of new plant species in the Himalayas that only ended up locatin' the most important zoological discovery of the century. So after a few more minutes of a piss-poor attempt to achieve a documentary style feel, we meet up with our hero (Parrish) who's landed in Nepal an is presently pickin' out some slaves from a Sherpa temp agency cause they're cheaper'n buyin' yaks, an once he gets his photographer (Wells) an guide (Subra) squared away he an his serfs hit the turf. But first, Subra hasta say goodbye to his wife an explain to 'er that if anything happens to him she belongs to his brother an then we listen to Parrish prattle on with more Dragnet-esque voice overs about how he an Wells kept up with the Sherpas easily due in no small part to the fact that they were carryin' all the goddamned supplies, til they find a place to setup camp. Then Parrish tells Wells to quit drinkin' in front of the Sherpas cause he knew this Indian guy back home that had a serious drinkin' problem an has deduced that all people of similar ethnic backgrounds have that affliction, plus the U.S. ambassador to Nepal'll be P.O.'d if they violate the prime directive an leave the place lookin' like the Firewater Lounge in Chief Fleeceacracka's Resort and Casino. Meanwhile, back in the Sherpanese village of Chillycooch, Chewbacca shows up an asks where da hairless women at an sneaks up on Subra's wife while she's out choppin' firewood before carryin' 'er off like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. Fortunately, Subra's brother was hidin' inside with his shriveled up tail tucked between his legs, an he rallies some vigilantes so they can go tell Subra that if they don't do somethin' quick his wife's gonna get Sascrotched. Of course, Parrish an Wells don't believe it an Parrish starts givin' Wells this look like he told 'em what'd happen if he shared his booze with the crew. So Subra hasta wait til everybody's asleep an take the shells outta Parrish's gun an the next mornin' he stages a coup to overthrow Parrishta, who threatens to shoot anybody that puts his mission to discover hitherto unknown species of Twatblossoms in jeopardy. This is almost funny enough that Subra's able to forget about his kidnapped wife for a moment since the great white dopes don't realize their guns're emptier'n a stomach at a North Korean labor camp. So Subra tells 'em to move their pasty white butts an everybody stumbles around the slopes like a drunken snowboarder with an inner ear infection for awhile til they find a place to make camp, only once they settle in, Parrish starts tryin' to radio down to Chillycooch about Subra takin' over his little field trip, an Subra hasta put a .30-06 cartridge into the transmitter an steal Wells' scotch.
Parrish can feel his dick shrinkin' by the minute an it's got nothin' to do with the sub-zero temperatures, so he's still wide awake when he hears a noise outside the tent an goes to see what it is, but somehow misses the 8' menace of Shag Harbor an heads back inside. The next mornin' the Sherpas find tracks around Parrish's tent an after a brief inspection to make sure it wasn't just Andre the Giant lookin' for a bar, they follow the tracks til it starts gettin' dark an Subra hasta blow his Ricola horn to get everybody workin' on their Occupy Chillycooch tent village. Unfortunately after everybody goes to sleep, the Grinch who stole Swiss Miss shows up again an takes out this Sherpa with an enlarged prostate after he gets up to take a leak for the 6th time that night, an Subra just decides to leave 'im there since the place already has more corpses layin' around than Jeffrey Dahmer's freezer, an nobody really thinks much about it when only half the crew comes back from these expeditions anyway. So they head out again in the mornin', only this time Lon Chaney Jr. starts kickin' iceballs down on top of 'em an they hafta hide in a cave til the snowball shellin' ceases, an by that point they decide to just call it a day an park it like a 1973 AMC Hornet with a blown head gasket. Then Parrish starts suckin' up to Subra, tellin' 'im he'd be the most famous Sherpanese yak herder in the history of Chillycooch if they could capture Yeti Mercury alive, an Subra says he just wants the hairy horndog dead. His wife, dead. His kids, dead. His pet goldfish "Fluffy" an all the ants in his ant farm, DEAD. Cept the next mornin' the guy in the dreadlock smock gets P.O.'d when he can't whitewash the Sherpas no more an heads into the cave after 'em, an when Subra tries committin' furrycide Parrish grabs the gun an the Yeti ends up tearin' at the walls an bringin' down the house on 'imself. Unfortunately, all he's managed to do is scramble his brains an crush his dependents to death, leavin' Parrish an Wells free to reestablish dominance over the Sherpas an make 'em haul The Abominable Froman back to civilization before makin' 'em tell the police what terrible thralls they've been. Eventually, once Parrish's certain he's about to become an international bigshot, he decides to forgive the impoverished man who wanted nothing more than to rescue his wife an drop the charges before cratin' Gigantopissedecus up in a walk in fridge an headin' for home.
Thankfully, the plane manages to avoid a transfer in Atlanta that'd almost certainly result in the fridge monster bein' lost in transit, only when Parrish goes to claim his luggage monkey, immigration's waitin' an they wanna see that dirty frostback's papers or they're deportin' his ass back to the frozen northeast. So then they've gotta get this primatologist to come see how many chromosomes King Hong's got, but he can't make it for a coupla hours cause he's busy tryin' to chisel the Minnesota Iceman outta his ice block, so Parrish hasta wait it out in the airport bar with the American Airlines pilots. Then, once the guy finally shows up, they argue about a buncha technical jargon while Harry Manderson busts outta the fridge an beats the tar outta the baggage handler, an by the time they figure out what happened, Harry's already checked with every airline in the terminal for a nonstop flight to Kathmandu an gotten so P.O.'d about every single one of 'em havin' a layover in O'Hare that he ends up bludgeonin' this broad to death in an alley. So the police release a bulletin tellin' everybody to stay indoors due to the rampagin' Yeti on the loose, cept this one guy who's real insistent about gettin' his hooker outta the house before his wife gets home doesn't get the memo about Homo ewrecktus checkin' out the local action, an inadvertently puts his mistress into harm's way, til she runs into a pharmacy an loses big stanky. Can't hardly blame 'im, guys just didn't go into drug stores that late at night in the 50s unless they wanted to be branded sinners by the local clergy. So once the dame escapes the grasp of Harry Palms, she informs the police, who send a buncha guys over to the pharmacy to investigate an pick up their cocaine prescriptions, only by that point the Yeti's already headed over to this meat packin' plant for some din-din an gotten all the FDA inspectors royally P.O.'d at 'im for not wearin' a hair net. Not surprisingly, the cops're more confused than an Alzheimer's patient at a family reunion an they can't figure out how Biggie Mauls keeps findin' available cabs at this time of night, cause he's seemingly all over the city like stank on a drunk tank toilet. Then it finally hits Parrish like a derpvalanche on Black Friday, an he tells the Lieutenant that the skunky monkey's usin' the sewers to sneak around without bein' seen, an so they talk to the grand poopbah of waste management an get some blueprints an decide they'd better head down there an ask the C.H.U.D.s if they've seen anything weird skulkin' around. Gonna cut it off here, but anybody sick enough to wanna see the endin' can do so on Youtube on account of this one bein' in the public domain.
Alrighty, well, there aren't really all that many Bigfoot movies when you get right down to it, at least not compared to a lot of the other sub-genres. Maybe two or three dozen tops, and this one drags like the ass of a pitbull with worms for a few reasons, but probably most notably because it's the first one ever made. And when it's not boring the livin' crap outta you with pompous narration or a seemingly endless supply of real time travel sequences, it does a pretty decent job of gettin' you pissed off at it, what with all the American exceptionalism. Don't get me wrong, national pride is fine, but the reasoning behind why the main character doesn't want his photographer sharing his booze with the Sherpas is due to a painfully obvious stereotype with native peoples from his own country. Why else would it be a problem for him to share liquor with the crew? Course that's actually one of the more subtle instances. Also included in the narration I mentioned earlier, when the douche is talkin' about how easy it was for him and his fellow westerner to keep up with the Sherpas, there was this magnificent bit of dialog: "Wells and I kept up with the Sherpas, who were much like human mules under the weight of our supplies." Yeah, I get that it was a different time, but that's pretty shitty even for the 50s. As if that isn't enough, then you've got the scene where Parrish threatens to shoot anybody who doesn't obey his orders, because the lives of these primitive peons are evidently so irrelevant that he feels it's no big deal to kill anybody that dares to go on a rescue mission in the middle of his little tulip pickin' expedition. Keep in mind that this guy is the protagonist. He's the one we're supposed to root for and become endeared to, as he threatens to murder the hired help, whom he apparently feels he owns to such a degree that it's his right to eliminate them for a less than satisfactory job performance. I can get over the fact that all the Sherpas are played by Japanese actors because this sorta thing happened so frequently at the time, in movies of just about any genre/budget and probably had a lot more to do with the fact that in 1954 it's not like you were gonna be able to do a casting call for authentic Nepalese actors and find enough people to fill the parts. Still, it's silly to watch now, and when you hear a guy who's supposed to be Nepalese pick up a phone and say "Moshi Moshi," it's kinda telling just how much research went into the script. But I think the thing that's probably the kidney stone on the shit sundae here, and the thing that really cements just how little the people of this foreign country matter when there's fame and fortune to be had by a westerner, is the fact that once the Yeti is captured and brought back to town the plot point regarding the lead Sherpa's wife being kidnapped is completely forgotten. She never gets rescued, and she's never mentioned again. That's pretty goddamned cold, and while it could just as easily be incompetence on the part of the writers (there's certainly evidence to support that theory), when you bundle it with all those other things, I'm not so sure that's all it is.
Guess there's nothin' left to do but shave this beast an see if he's hung proportionately. If so he could have a promising career in furry porn, at least. The plot is fairly dull, and despite being the first Yeti movie, there were certainly a lot of other titles that utilized this same story of stumbling upon a monster in the wilds of wherever the studio could afford to shoot. Though not exactly the same type of creature, most famously would probably be The Thing from Another World from 1951 and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in 1953, both of which also discover their monster in a pretty frosty region of the planet. So really this plot hasn't been fresh since King Kong or even The Lost World before it, though that doesn't really bother me much. Though bringing a large hairy primate back to civilization only to have it escape and go on a rampage is pretty... yeah. The acting is alright, though it's about on par with an episode of Perry Mason in terms of charismatic performances. That may actually be unfair to Perry Mason now that I think about it. The only character that's even remotely interesting (including the Yeti) is the head Sherpa whom we all hope against hope will just gun down Paul Langton's character for bein' a colossal douchenozzle. Course he doesn't, and everybody else in the movie reminds me of Joe Friday from Dragnet, so while I wouldn't say anybody gave a poor performance, nobody does anything to give this movie any kind of excitement, nor do they inspire much enthusiasm in the viewing audience. Here's who matters and why: Paul Langton (Invisible Invaders, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, The Incredible Shrinking Man), Leslie Denison (The Black Castle, The Son of Dr. Jekyll, The Return of the Vampire, Invisible Agent), Teru Shimada (The War of the Worlds 1953, Revolt of the Zombies), Rollin Moriyama (20 Million Miles to Earth), Robert Kino (Night of the Creeps, Ghost Warrior), Darlene Fields (I Married a Monster from Outer Space, 20 Million Miles to Earth), George Douglas (The Couch, The Colossus of New York, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), Robert Bice (It! The Terror from Beyond Space, Space Monster X-7), William Phipps (The Evil of Frankenstein, The War of the Worlds 1953, Invaders from Mars, Five), Jack Daly (The Couch, Return of the Fly, Killers from Space, Phantom from Space, The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951), Rusty Wescoatt (Tarantula, Atom Man vs. Superman, Batman and Robin 1949, Superman 1948), Lock Martin (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Invaders from Mars, The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951. Paul Langton may be at least remembered slightly more fondly as Leslie Harrington on Peyton Place, and Teru Shimada would probably be better known for the role of Mr. Osato in You Only Live Twice.
The special effects, whew, I thought I smelled somethin'. I'm afraid we've got a shag carpet Yeti on our hands. Because he's on screen so infrequently it's not that debilitating, like, say, the monster from Zaat. But he looks like he massacred a whole slug of those P.O.'d rodents from The Killer Shrews and fashioned himself a fur coat out of 'em. They also recycle the same shot of the Yeti walking out of the shadows, and then reversing it to show him retreating back into them. That shot must get used around eight times, it's pitiful. And of course as old as this one is, and taking place outside of the science fiction genre, there aren't any other special effects to mention. Movies of this era (less science fiction titles) just didn't rely much on special effects. I'll give them this though, it's believed (though unconfirmed) that they hired the guy who played the giant robot Gort in the original Day the Earth Stood Still, so the guy in the suit was over seven and a half feet tall and looks every inch of it when he's standin' next to the rest of the cast. Gives it a little something that most of these Bigfoot flicks lack, even if the rest of it isn't so great. The shooting locations are alright, though I'm not sure where the outdoor scenes that were supposed to be set in Nepal were actually shot. It could be mostly stock footage of Mount Everest expeditions for all I know, though the Yeti's cave was pretty clearly the Bronson Caves in L.A., which is one of the most popular filming sites in the history of cinema. The rest was probably around the L.A. area as well, given that the budget was pretty skimpy. The snowy regions are definitely the better of the two settings, though the sewer sequences at the end of the movie were also effective, if a little derivative of Them!. Otherwise, the rest of the locations are adequate but not particularly memorable or important to the story. The soundtrack's about like that green crap they stick on the plate next to your steak. It's there for the duration, but is so irrelevant it pretty well goes unnoticed. Everything about it is just so detached from anything happening in the movie that you wonder if the composer really had much of an idea what he was writing a score for. It's so neutral, generic, and unengrossing that you start to question whether the movie might be better off without it. Kinda reminded me of something you'd hear in an episode of Lassie. I get that at least for the first half they're going for a staunchly "just the facts" documentary feel, but you really only even get that about a quarter of the time, the rest is just haphazard musical mayhem. It does start to get its shit together a bit in the second act where they're in the city, but even when it's somewhat appropriate it's pretty uninspired and drab. Overall, this one's pretty stinky, and not one I'd recommend to fans of "so bad it's good" flicks cause its pretty well steeped in boredom. I can probably only safely recommend this one to people who wanna see every Bigfoot movie ever made, so if that's not you, forget it.