This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Abominable Snowman


A group of adventurers man an expedition to the Himalayas in search of the mythical Abominable Snowman (aka Yeti). Among them are a scientist, a trapper, another guy, a Himalayan local and Tom Friend; the leader of the expedition who has plans to exploit the yeti for his own personal gain. But things soon spiral out of control when misfortune strikes the team.

The Abominable Snowman is a 1957 Hammer production. It stars Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing and Maureen Connell. It was directed by Val Guest. The story and screenplay are by Nigel Kneale. It's also known as The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.

First thing, this is directed by Val Guest the guy who directed the first two Quatermass films, and it's also written by Nigel Kneale the guy who written the Quatermass saga. So this seems to already be off to a good start.

Tom Friend, is it just me or is that a really stupid name? He better not turn out to be a baddie with a name like that.

Now that's interesting. The scientist's theory; the yeti isn't a missing link, but a parallel evolution. During evolution there was a stage at which a creature's evolution split and went in 2 directions; one becoming apes and chimpanzees, the other becoming man. But the theory of the yeti is that the creature in fact evolved in a 3rd direction and became the yeti.

Ah shit! Our first glimpse of the yeti. A big hairy hand reaching inside the tent and grabbing a gun.

They managed to kill themselves an abominable snowman. I say “an” because there's more than one, and they know one of their own has been killed as they howl in the distance. Shit is going down.

Oh shit! A guy (I think in a trance) climbed to the edge of a cliff in all the snow with no climbing gear and jumped off, smacking off a rock as he hit the ground. Dead instantly, eesh.

Friend ironically isn't much of a friend at all. He's so determined to bring back a living yeti that he'll sacrifice the members of his own exhibition to do so. He used one man as bait and gave him a gun filled with blanks so he wouldn't be able to kill the yeti when trying to defend himself. He should have been called Tom Bastard, or Tom Twat.

Wow! I am so disappointingly underwhelmed by the appearance of the abominable snowman. It looks like a hobo with a beard. A big beard. I suppose it was a twist I never saw coming, the yeti looking like a hobo.

You know what? I don't know what just happened. Peter Cushing's Dr Rollason is the last surviving member of the expedition, and he sees the yeti in the flesh. Next thing he's found out in the snow unconscious. Then he's brought back to the local village where he tells the Buddhist people that he didn't find what he was looking for because it doesn't exist. I'm not sure whether he was lying for whatever reason or whether he was traumatised by the yeti so much that he lost his memory. I have literally no idea. That's the ending, so if anyone can shed some light on that for me I would very much appreciate it.

I've been wanting to see The Abominable Snowman for a long time. I wasn't necessarily disappointed, it just wasn't as good as I had expected, especially when it was written by the guy who wrote the Quatermass saga and directed by the guy who directed the first 2 Quatermass films. I can't comment on Quatermass 2 as I haven't seen it yet, but as for The Quatermass Xperiment, I remember watching it nearly 10 years ago and loving it. As for The Abominable Snowman, it is pretty good it's just a bit of a slow burner, which fair enough it's building up the tension but we don't even see our first glimpse of the yeti until 49 minutes in and seen as the film is 86 minutes long that's quite far in. I was also disappointed by the appearance of the yeti, the first glimpse of it was brilliant, just a huge hairy arm. But the actual yeti itself just looking like a hobo was not what I expected. I expected something a bit more monstery, hell I would have settled for the one from Monsters, Inc. The ending confused me, but maybe I missed something I don't know but it's worth another look because it is actually pretty good. There's also some beautifully filmed shots from atop the Himalayas. All in all, it's not bad. It's worth a look to see one of the early black and white Hammer horrors. If you watch it and you can shed some light on the ending I'm confused about then please comment and let me know.

The Abominable Snowman 3/5

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