Year of Release: 1967
Also Known As: La morte viene dal pianeta Aytin
Genre: Science Fiction
Running Time: 90 minutes (1:30)
Director: Antonio Margheriti
Giacomo Rossi Stuart ... Cmdr. Rod Jackson
Goffredo Unger ... Capt. Frank Pulasky
Ombretta Colli ... Lisa Nielson
Wilbert Bradley ... Sharu
Renato Baldini ... Lt. Jim Harris
Halina Zalewska ... Lt. Teri Sanchez
Enzo Fiermonte ... General Norton
Furio Meniconi ... Igrun
Giuliano Raffaelli ... Snow Devil
Fortunato Arena ... Snow Devil (uncredited)
Pasquale Fasciano ... Snow Devil (uncredited)
Big, hairy, and very scary. When a Himalayan weather station is smashed to smithereens by creatures who leave super-sized footprints, suspicion falls on Abominable Snowmen. A heroic expedition braves snow-whipped precipices and discovers the dreaded humanoids. But wait - these are extraterrestrial yetis who zipped in from outer space to conquer Earth by melting the polar ice caps with high-energy proton fields. Will mankind be global-warmed into surrender?
Snow Devils, remindin' us that your shaving kit will be confiscated at the border should you attempt to smuggle Occam's razor into Italy.
And speakin' of needless complications, I dunno about you, but I've just about had my fill of government overreach in this country. A guy spends his whole life tryna do the right thing; tryna stand up for mom, apple pie, liberty and justice for everybody who can afford a high-powered legal team - then, along comes some hotshot deputy fresh outta the police academy levyin' charges of public intoxication against your dog. And as mosta you prolly already know - when this kinda thing happens your options are pretty limited.
You can try goin' to the press for equal time and if you're lucky, *maybe* they'll print your rebuttal two weeks later on Page 9 between the annual snowpack projections and the opinion piece about COVID vaccines bein' a liberal plot to increase estrogen levels in the population in an attempt to reduce domestic violence and bolster apron sales, but by that point everyone's already absorbed the bullstuff as fact and moved on to the latest public scandal involvin' homosexual beef imports from California.
I'll tell ya one goll durn thing, though, I intend to fight these fraudulent accusations. And my personal attorney, Cletus Rubenstein, has assured me that our defense is not only airtight but that we may be justified in filing a countersuit for slander against the police department. 'Course before we can do that we gotta get the truth out to the American people before Apollo's convicted in the court of public opinion and sentenced to 90 days of compulsory companionship to bitter old cranks runnin' out the clock at Mom and Poop's Senility Acres Hospice Care. Normally I wouldn't ask this, but for Apollo's sake, I'd like to request a moment of your time to set the record straight.
So, it's Sunday mornin', right? Billy Hilliard, Apollo, and myself're out at the Grime Time, mindin' our own business, plowin' snow, settin' out kibble for Chief Security Feline, Gnash Bridges, and rousin' the nekkid couple who passed out post-port-a-pottamus aardvarkus in the outhouse after excessive consumption of concession stand libations and prolonged exposure to curdled KY jelly. In other words, Sunday. No big deal - we get the lot in shape for the next screenin', shoo the frost fetishists off to church, and we're about to head home to sit on the stove until we've regained feelin' in our hinders only we can't find Apollo anywhere.
Now, under normal circumstances I would never reveal the private details of Apollo's personal life 'cause that's just playin' into the hands of the puparazzi and we've already got serious problems in this country where it concerns an animal's right to anonymity, but given the circumstances of the situation, I feel I have no choice. We finally found 'im about 40 minutes later with his... um... snausage stuck to the cattle guard, and needless to say, we were pretty concerned and more than a little confused.
"Apollo, buddy, you know I'd never kink shame ya, but'cher pecker's stuck to a piece of angle iron right now, so any insight you can offer would be appreciated," I said as supportively as I could manage.
Apollo just looked up at us like a toddler that'd found his goldfish floatin' belly up in its bowl and whimpered.
"Alright, we'll talk about it later. Help me pull 'im off there and we'll have Tetnis inspect 'im for any signs of frostbite and/or metal fetishism. We can't have Apsuo: The Iron Dog runnin' around town freakin' out the old ladies," I instructed.
"You mo'rah, aih'n you feen A Chrivmaff Fhory? You gon' rip hif dick off!" Billy growled alarmedly.
"Why'v hif dong even expov'd? Nuffin' here for 'im to hump," Billy pondered.
"Skunky ain't had a dog for 20 years and there's nobody out here for at least 5 miles... wait. Oh, I get it now - I'll bet it was that SKANKY coyote that's been hangin' around sniffin' the grease fumes! Prolly seduced 'im and left 'im out here like he was no better'n Walt Disney's head," I grumbled.
Billy just kinda nodded and scratched his chin, obviously impressed by Apollo's conquest.
"We'll deal with that gold-diggin' bitch later. Right now we need to get 'im loose. I'll stay with 'im - you run over to Skunky's and bring back a pitcher of warm water," I suggested.
"Ain't home," Billy reminded me.
"Right. The 22% off sale at the gun shop. Thanks, Obama!" I yelled in the general direction of Chicago.
"Ya know, evenfuwy he'ow haffa piff. Prowy be warm enough to geh 'im off 'ere," Billy reasoned.
"Yeah, if his rocketeer don't end up freezer burnt and snap off like a Slim Jim under Randy Savage-related stress," I acknowledged.
I could see the situation was becoming dire from the way Apollo was tryin' to shield his junk from the wind with a tail he hadn't had for seven years, and so I felt I had no choice but to take drastic action.
"Alright, this isn't gonna be a popular decision, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Go grab the case of emergency Pole Cat outta the projection booth. We're gonna hafta induce pee-pee here," I told 'im.
"I won' do ih," Billy refused.
"Okay. Then you look him in the eye and explain why he's gonna spend the rest of his life lickin' a nasty scar and sittin' on the couch watchin' The Ellen Degeneres Show!" hollered.
Apollo looked at Billy and whined like an old man who got picked last for shuffleboard at the senior center.
"Fine! I'll do ih! Gahdamn dog," Billy muttered as he headed for the booth.
"Hey, I've seen some of the stuff you've stuck your pole to! Give the guy a break!" I yelled after 'im.
Concern for Apollo's dignity prevents me from sayin' anything more, but I want the record to show that, while he may have been slightly tipsy when Deputy Dahl showed up to inquire about the screenin' schedule, Apollo was A) on private property and therefore not publicly intoxicated, and B) only licked a .077 on the breathalyzer. He only had two beers and he knows his limit. I hope this clears up any misconceptions going around about the incident, and under the advice of counsel, I have nothing more to say on this subject.
'Sides, I think we've all been rubbed a little too raw at one point or another, and in my experience, the best thing you can do is curl up with a little ice and chill, so as soon as I got home I helped Apollo up on the hide-a-bed, opened up a tub of Rocky Road, and put on this movie about intergalactic space yetis tryna conquer Nepal. It's actually a pretty solid choice when you're laid up recoverin' from frostbite of the dingus, 'cause nothin' makes any sense and you don't feel like you're really missin' anything if you hafta look away from the screen to compulsively lick yourself for five straight minutes. 'Course if you're of the human persuasion, you may think The Snow Devils is the worst thing to come out of Italy since Catholicism, but I pride myself on my ability to look for the good in everything unless it's been a real lousy day, and to prove it ain't all bad I've selected a few of its finer points to share in the hope that they raise your cinematic consciousness. Or, if that's too much to ask - to help increase tolerance of titles that merely cause acid reflux instead of permanent brain damage. First, it's possible to be so irresistible to women that a highway safety uniform becomes necessary to ensure your personal safety while on shore leave at a tropical locale. Second, when visiting space station Gamma 1, remember to pack an oxygen tank, as it lacks both shuttle service and an understanding of irony. And third, installing globes throughout your Earth-adjacent space station is a fiscally responsible alternative to glass windows.
The movie begins at a top-secret Accuweather installation deep in the Himalayas where all the weathermen who refuse to get COVID vaccines are sent to ensure meteorological herd immunity. Frozen toilet tanks and unauthorized incursions by Edmund Hillary groupies are a constant nuisance, but nothing in the crew's training could prepare them for the day when their station came under attack by irate, rock-toting tourists, incensed by the inaccuracy of the forecast predicting sunny skies that ruined their tour of the Monkey Temple. Or so the Sherpas would have us believe. Next thing, we're inside a space station disguised as a pressure release valve, where General Benito Norton phones in and orders this babe in a gold sequin pantsuit (Lt. Sanchez) to locate Commander Jackson and recall 'im from vacation 'cause he won't answer his phone when he can see it's the boss callin'. So Sanchez phones every Go-Go Lounge in San Francisco until she finally finds Jackson and explains that the polar ice caps're meltin' and that he's got a responsibility to fix it 'cause he refuses to give up his '48 Packard even though it only gets 500 yards to the gallon and triggers PTSD episodes in Korean War veterans every time it backfires. Jackson wears his hair like Sam Malone and always has this look on his face like he just cut one and knows nobody can prove it was him, so we know the Earth is in good hands. Once Jackson arrives at B.O.R.A.D. headquarters, General Norton shows 'im surveillance B-roll footage of the attack on their science station and a casting of a giant footprint before explainin' about the legendary snowmen alleged to live in the area and their hostility towards invasive species that install weather stations in the middle of their best snowboard run.
Then Jackson and his balding wingman (Pulasky) go clubbin' at The Buddha Belly in Kathmandu to watch their kung fu Sherpa warrior guide (Sharu) dance like Pazuzu just possessed his pelvic region and grab a coupla Big Yaks with ancient Tibetan secret sauce, 'cept while that's goin' on a rogue Yogi blows up their helicopter to protest the Vietnam War and the heat becomes so intense that Sharu's able to run around shirtless till all the Nepalese women start swoonin' and stickin' dowries down his drawers. 'Course now they hafta get up the mountain the old fashioned way, so they start hoofin' it toward their deposed depot only to find out along the way that one of the missing scientist's girlfriends (Lisa) snuck into the convoy by posing as an indigenous porter and Jackson's so P.O.'d that he makes out with 'er just enough to ruin 'er for every other man. Then alla Sharu's mercenary bellhops turn chicken in the night and Jackson decides that all the supply crates they were haulin' were probably just for show and that the four of 'em'll continue on anyway even though their strength in numbers was prolly the only thing preventin' 'em from bein' turned into Snowmanwich. After awhile they hafta stop off at Snarlsbad Cavern to wait out a storm and damned if the place ain't burstin' at the seams with Abominable Snowmandrills wearin' cleavage-enhancing one-piece swimsuits who rough 'em up and take 'em to meet the prime primate who reveals that they're actually aliens and that they're meltin' the ice caps so they can refreeze the world's oceans after all the water resettles and win the bid for the 1968 Intergalactic Olympic Winter Games.
Then Boss Bonzo locks 'em up with Lisa's boyfriend (Harris) who they've kept alive in case they need somebody to go on a Chiquita run to the 7-Eleven, but fortunately, somebody installed ventilation shafts inside the granite of the apes, and once they make it to Honkey Kong's chemical laboratory they brew up some deadly NyQuil vapor and vent it throughout the facility till the place looks like nap time at the Rogaine testing grounds. It ain't Bedtime for Bonzo just yet though 'cause the main monkey's made of sterner simian stuff, but the patented effervescent formula wreaks so much havoc on his tear ducts that he accidentally blows up most of the facility's relay equipment with a BBQ lighter until Jackson manages to ascend the catwalk and monkey flip 'im onto the electrical grid. Jackson's had it with this hit-and-run gorilla warfare bullstuff, so he and Pulasky fly out to the space station so they'll have a better view of any diabolical monkey business that may crop up back on Earth. Then one of the egghead scienticians locates the source of the space heater on Jupiter and so Jackson and Pulasky hafta blast their way through some honey oat clusters before they get soggy in the Milky Way, only when they reach the big red hiney and move in for the kill they find out that the Andromedable Snowmen have a shield disruptor that causes human vessels to go apeshit and they end up havin' to fall back and put their heads together till they can come up with a plan that'll fix the Tang-addled orangs but good. I'm not gonna claim it's brilliant, but if you've stuck with it this long and have a lotta time on your hands it might be worth checkin' out the endin' to see how our insipid heroes deal with this little dilemma.
Alrighty, well, it took a buncha wise old Buddhists hundreds of years to construct the myth of the yeti, and the Italians about three weeks to desecrate it, so everything seems to be in order here. This's one of those flicks where, if you just read the plot synopsis and don't know anything else about it, you'd assume it was made three years ago by Troma and be very disappointed to find out otherwise. I'm not exactly sure what happened here, but it seems like this movie musta been pitched as a standard Abominable Snowman clone to take advantage of an American trend that was popular at the time, only some well-intentioned personal assistant brought way too much Chianti to the pitch meeting and next thing ya know we've got Invaders from Mars Do Nepal. Science Fiction, for whatever reason, was a genre Italy didn't venture into much during the glory days of Italian cinema (with the exception of the post-apocalypse subgenre), and I've got to assume that was a cultural thing because they were the masters of taking a concept that was popular in America and churning out a dozen clones in less time than it takes us to parallel park. It's not that their limited efforts were especially terrible (after all, there's usually an Alien from the Deep, or Starcrash for every Hercules Against the Moon Men, or Eyes Behind the Stars), they just didn't involve themselves with the science fiction genre much in general. Maybe they figured the market was already too saturated by all the low budget American bombs being released at the time, maybe the more prolific Italian directors didn't care for the material, but whatever the reason, you could breeze through the entire Italian Science Fiction library in about three days, given the time and a complete disregard for your own wellbeing. Unfortunately, the downside of Italian films is that all the dialogue gets dubbed in later, which means you'll never really know whether the acting was any good, and as we all know, pitiful acting is essential for any bad movie looking to become notorious. The movie's right there in terms of absurd plot and lame special effects, but to reach the big leagues of bad cinema and rub shoulders with the likes of Robot Monster, the acting must be undirected, awkward, and delivered by someone with no formal training, and dubbing invariably destroys an inadequate actor's time to shine. I'm not gonna lie to ya - it's depressin' to see a flick's potential for cinematic infamy lost due to a quirk of the production process, but unfortunately, that's what we're lookin' at here.
In any event, we'll overlook the fact that they were only a few terrible actors and a deathly serious soundtrack away from achieving bad movie immortality for the time being, and call this Cinemascopes Monkey Trial to order. The plot is absurd even by the standards of folks who genuinely believe there's a snowbound simian roamin' the Himalayas, and one need not even dwell on the fact that the crux of the story is based upon the notion that yetis are extraterrestrials bent on changing the Earth's climate to make it hospitable to their physiology. There's an old rule to filmmaking (and writing, for that matter) that basically says - if the premise of your story is hard to swallow, it is essential that its other aspects be grounded in reality. Apparently these guys weren't familiar with that statute, 'cause we've got extraterrestrials who are both capable of interstellar travel, but who require Earth-based technology to accomplish their goal of making our planet habitable for them. As they launch attacks on us from their base on Jupiter. Some folks might say, well, heck, we hadn't even been to the moon yet - if that's all they got wrong why not cut 'em some slack? Well, for starters - no they don't get any slack. No slack for you. But if you'd prefer somethin' terrestrial to pick at, the humans create a vaporous chemical cloud from ether designed to knock out all the apemen in their super villain mountain retreat, only ether's real real flammable and Boss Bonso's firin' his flare gun in every conceivable direction without ever turnin' 'imself into baked Alaska in direct contrast to what we all learned watchin' Mr. Wizard. Yes, all this nonsense is very entertaining and scores it points on the entertainment scale, but from an analytical perspective, this script woulda better served mankind had it been shredded and used to safely package wine bottles being shipped C.O.D. to Greenwich Village.
The acting, were we able to accurately assess it, appears competent enough - though the dubbing sucks up any tension or atmosphere the actors may be creating and blows it right out the airlock. The one guy that deserves credit for eliciting a little emotion from the audience is Wilbert Bradley who hams it up as the Sherpa guide despite the handicap of bein' born in Jackson, Mississippi, and bein' about as Asian as a package of Ramen noodles. The rest of the cast, their powers combined, appear to be in imminent danger of spawning a negative charisma vortex that could conceivably pull the entire production into an alternate dimension where Full House is considered funny and Michael Bay is appreciated for the riveting inter-personal relationships between his characters. To summarize - these performances aren't quite on par with the acting in a low budget science fiction flick from Britain, where theater patrons have been declared legally dead due to prolonged exposure to Joe Friday-esque stoicism, but they're close. Major props to the guy who spit out the line "super ee-on drive" during post-production dubbing and got away with it, though.
Here's who matters and why: Giacomo Rossi Stuart (Kill Baby Kill, The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave, The Hell's Gate, War of the Robots, The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, Death Smiles on a Murderer, Something Creeping in the Dark, The Weekend Murders, The Last Man on Earth, War Between the Planets, Caltiki the Immortal Monster, The Day the Sky Exploded), Ombretta Colli (War Between the Planets, The Blancheville Monster), Halina Zalewska (War Between the Planets, An Angel for Satan, The Long Hair of Death), Enzo Fiermonte (The War of the Planets), Furio Meniconi (Deep Red, Vulcan Son of Jupiter, Il bacio di una morta, The Giant of Metropolis), Goffredo Unger (Hercules Against the Moon Men, War Between the Planets, The Wax Mask, Demons, Devil Fish, Exterminators of the Year 3000, Panic 1982, Cannibal Apocalypse, The French Sex Murders, 2019: After the Fall of New York, The War of the Planets), Isarco Ravaioli (Mania, The Hanging Woman, La verita secondo Satana, Satanik, The War of the Planets, Vulcan Son of Jupiter, The Vampire and the Ballerina), Renato Montalbano (The War of the Planets, The Monster of the Opera), Piero Pastore (War Between the Planets), Giuliano Faffaelli (Blood and Black Lace, War Between the Planets, The Long Hair of Death), Franco Ressel (Panic 1982, Star Odyssey, Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eyes, Eye in the Labyrinth, War Between the Planets, Blood and Black Lace, The Evil Eye), Nino Vingelli (Black Belly of the Tarantula, War Between the Planets), Fortunato Arena (House of Lost Souls), John Bartha (Cannibal Ferox, Mission Stardust, Eyeball, Don't Torture a Duckling, Night of the Devils, War Between the Planets, The War of the Planets), Nestore Cavaricci (Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, SS Camp 5: Women's Hell, Eyeball, Spasmo, The Red Queen Kills Even Times, The Dead Are Alive!, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, War Between the Planets, The War of the Planets), Maria Pia Conte (Spasmo, The Hanging Woman, War Between the Planets), Vera Dolen (War Between the Planets), Andrea Esterhazy (The House of Exorcism, Spirits of the Dead), Pasquale Fasciano (Vulcan Son of Jupiter), Alfonso Giganti (Stagefright 1987, The Exterminators of the Year 3000, Hell of the Living Dead, Dr. Jekyll Likes Them Hot, Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Satanik, The Wild, Wild Planet).
The special effects are pretty pitiful, and I kinda feel bad sayin' that 'cause it's clear that serious work went into a few of the miniatures, but that's the situation. Some of the models are almost as good as the ones used in bigger budget Toho flicks, but no matter their quality, there's never any mistaking them for anything but what they are. The yeti costumes are hysterical, and credit where credit's due - the one-piece swimsuits are so out of place and bizarre that it really draws attention away from the mediocre makeup jobs on the creatures. Just to clarify, they do wear pants, but... look, just Google it. It's kinda like what you'd expect an old lady to put on her pet Wookie before she takes it out for walkies durin' a snowstorm. You've also got all the usual stuff like black and white stock footage inserted into a color film and visible strings on the actors and models, but I don't want the surviving rights owners filing assault charges against me so I think it's best we move on.
The sets are similar in design to those of better known '60s space operas like Star Trek and Lost in Space, though somewhat inferior in construction. They've plainly borrowed ideas from those shows, with machines, elevators, sliding doors, and even cars that appear to mimic vehicles from cartoons like The Jetsons, and while I have no serious objection to this, it does speak to how seriously the production was taken. The vast majority of the film utilizes sets, but there is a little outdoor footage of the expedition trekking across a pretty weak mountain range that can't begin to approximate the Alps, let alone the Himalayas. They did at least get their butts out there when there was still a little snow on the ground though, so I'll give 'em credit for leavin' the studio long enough to learn the value of a decent boot liner. That said, nothing about the film's aesthetic contributes anything atmospherically, and every frame closely approximates the production values of a stage play put on by a community theater in Lincoln, Nebraska. Though that assessment might be unfair to Lincoln, Nebraska.
The soundtrack is the best thing about the flick, and it's the only aspect that even begins to establish anything even remotely resembling a serious tone. Admittedly, the composer inserts a bit of that semi-racist, stereotypical Asian sound that seems to come standard in movies of this era, as well as some incredibly incongruent (if very catchy) '60s sounds that would be better suited for a Roger Corman acid flick, but the organ music isn't bad and the piano, in conjunction with timpani drum and xylophone are somewhat effective in establishing a foreboding tone. The composer, Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, composed soundtracks for over 200 films over the course of 30 years, including Lost Continent, Gorgo, The Castle of the Living Dead, and Queens of Evil, and while it may not be the most memorable piece of music he ever contributed to a film, he did his part for a movie that probably wasn't worthy of his talents.
Overall, it may not be fair to compare The Snow Devils to other flicks in the Snowman genre because it's not a traditional Bigfoot movie, but it definitely fails as an alien invasion flick despite what seems like a promising premise going in. Not nearly enough yeti action, not quite ridiculous enough to stand out as a cinematic abomination, and surprisingly dull when you get right down to it, but if you're hellbent on findin' an extraterrestrial yeti title to satisfy some sorta twisted fetish, forget this crapola and check out Terror in the Midnight Sun.