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Stacie Ponder – Yeti and Snowbeast Give the Abominable Snowman His Day

Yeti and Snowbeast Give the Abominable Snowman His Day” width=”560″/>

At the risk of sounding like Fox Mulder, I gotta say: I want to believe. I want to believe in werewolves and Bigfoot and vampires and the chupacabra and every other creature you’re apt to find in a cryptozoology guidebook. I mean, isn’t life just more interesting if there’s the possibility of coming across the Loch Ness Monster the next time you’re vacationing at Loch Ness? I think so.

One monster I’ve always had a soft spot for is the Yeti (or the Abominable Snowman, whatever you want to call him); that winter-flavored Bigfoot has always been one of my faves. Imagine my glee when two made-for-TV Sasquatch flicks I’d never seen before came into my life recently: A screener of Yeti (2008; out on DVD this week) arrived in the mail and I found a VHS copy of Snowbeast (1977) in an out of the way bookstore. This is not only a sign that things are really going my way in the new year, but also that now is the time to compare and contrast the ’70s against the ’00s Abominalicious-style. Let’s see how the two movies stack up:

YETI (2008)
Director: Paul Ziller
Tagline: Surviving the crash was only the beginning…
Get the snowball rolling:
A couple of explorers and a freaked-out Sherpa wander into the Yeti’s
cave way back in 1972. Sure, it’s of no consequence later on, but still.
Then what?
In the here and now, the World’s Oldest College Football Team are en
route from “State College” to Japan for a big bowl game when their
horribly-rendered CGI plane crashes in the Himalayas during a
horribly-rendered CGI thunderstorm. Things go from bad to worse when it
becomes apparent that their plane has landed smack in the middle of
Yeti Country.
Typical dialogue: “I don’t care if it’s a bear or The Thing, I’m gonna shoot it right in its FACE!”
Stock footage usage? Yep, there’s a stock footage avalanche. Still, it’s better than a horribly-rendered CGI avalanche.
How sassy is the Sasquatch? Basically, the rules for showing the Yeti in Yeti
were thus: If the monster was standing and going “Rarr!” it was a dude
in a costume, looking like the cracked-out grampa of Harry from Harry and the Hendersons .
If the monster actually, you know, moved (generally leaping distances
wide enough to make Superman jealous), then it was rendered in CGI —
very, very obvious CGI. Unfortunately for The World’s Oldest College
Football Team, they ran afoul of a sociopathic Yeti that kills not only
for food, but also for pleasure and revenge. He eventually drags the
team’s female manager (Carly Pope) back to his lair for snuggle time
and to subsequently, I assume, make her his Snow Mistress.
How bloody is the bloodshed?
Surprisingly, there’s quite a bit of gore in this movie. There are
rubbery severed limbs galore, a fresh-from-the-chest beating heart, and
ample amounts of the red stuff thrown around.
What’s Yeti got that Snowbeast doesn’t? Letter jackets, booby traps

SNOWBEAST (1977)
Director: Herb Wallerstein
Tagline: The legendary creature is half-man… half-animal …and all cold-blooded killer!
Get the snowball rolling:
A couple of lady skiers run afoul of the Snowbeast, despite the
“nothing could ever go wrong on such a beautiful sunny day!” ’70s
soundtrack. One of them survives.
Then what? Unfortunately,
the Snowbeast attack occurs just as the Rill Lodge Winter Carnival is
about to get underway. Following the template established by Jaws ,
the head honchos refuse to cancel the festivities — it’s too
financially important, you see. The Snowbeast doesn’t mind, as more
skiers means more food. Enter B-movie mainstay Bo Svenson as Gar, the
Olympic ski champion and Yvette Mimieux as Ellen, his plucky reporter
wife, to get to the bottom of the abominable shenanigans.
Typical dialogue:
“Just because it doesn’t look like you or me makes it a thing — and
then it’s alright to go out and kill it in cold blood, right?”
Stock footage usage? Why yes, during a flashback to one of Gar’s victorious ski races.
How sassy is the Sasquatch?
He makes an attempt to get his kill on during the Snow Queen crowning
ceremony, but other than that the Snowbeast — a dude in a fur suit —
is pretty reclusive. He’s rarely shown for more than a second or two so
we never really get a good look at the costume; in fact, most of the
killings and action sequences are viewed through fabulous YetiVision,
which culminates in a freeze frame that fades to red.
How bloody is the bloodshed? There’s some blood on the snow and some blood on a hand and that’s about it.
What’s Snowbeast got that Yeti ain’t? Sideburns, character development

While they’re both fairly enjoyable (if largely terrible) movies, I’d have to give the edge here to Yeti, if only for the carnage. Snowbeast
shows very little in terms of monster and victim, but it makes up for
it with ample gratuitous footage of people skiing, if you can really
call that “making up for it.” In my dreams, Snowbeast and Yeti
fall in love and have some sort of Abominababy that features the acting
abilities, character development, and slight tension of the former
along with the action and comical violence of the latter… and there
won’t be a lick of horribly-rendered CGI in sight. I want to believe!

A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.

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