Sunday, February 12, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Abominable Snowman (1957)

A few thoughts: Hammer produced some of the finest horror films of the '50s and '60s, from Dracula to The Mummy and of course Frankenstein. But before all of that, they released a couple science fiction horror movies and this underrated gem. Playing out as more of a survival adventure movie than straight-up horror, this movie is far more intelligent and reserved than you might expect from a late '50s movie about yeti killing people in the Himalayas. It starts off slow, develops the characters well, and does an excellent job at establishing the brutally harsh setting. What particularly impressed me about this movie is how reserved it was in the third act. A lesser film would have shamelessly exploited the monsters and approached everything from a simple "giant monster eats the people and then the people run and scream" perspective, but this one is entirely more psychological and thoughtful than that. Peter Cushing is terrific, as always, though Forrest Tucker is a definite highlight. This might not be the very best movie Hammer ever produced, but it's pretty close and sadly very difficult to find a physical copy of on a region 1 player.

Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the early survival genre as well as Hammer appeciators. As great as the movie is, it does have a somewhat limited audience.

My grade: A-

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