From time to time I enjoy listening to various podcasts about the Disney theme parks. I love going to Walt Disney World, but I don’t get to go very often. Seven years passed between my last two visits…so when I’m there, I just soak it all in. So it does bug me a bit when so many of these podcasts, produced by supposed Disney fans, spend so much time complaining about things. One of the frequent complaints I’ve heard has to do with the Yeti that pops out during the Expedition Everest ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “It doesn’t move right anymore,” they’ll say…to which I respond, “get a life, will ya!” But, for all those who want to complain about Yeti’s, allow me to suggest a far worse alternative…1954’s “The Snow Creature.”
The film focuses on botanist Frank Parrish (Paul Langton), who is leading an expedition to study plant life high in the Himalayas. He is joined by a photographer, Peter Wells (Leslie Denison), and a group of Sherpas. Ok, we’ve got our first problem right here. I’m no scientist, but I do live where there are mountains and know that once you get high enough, the plant life gets a bit scarce. So I’m thinkin’ there’s not gonna be a whole lot of vegetation to study or take pictures of. Just sayin’.
Anyway, after climbing a bit, the group makes camp. That night, back in the village, the wife of Subra (Teru Shimada), one of the guides, is attacked by a strange creature. When word reaches Subra, he knows instantly it is a Yeti. Parrish isn’t convinced and refuses to allow Subra and the others to go off in search of the creature. But, that night, Subra steals Parrish and Wells’ ammunition. Now they have no choice but to follow Subra and the others on the hunt.
When giant footprints are spotted near the camp, Parrish begins to think there may be something to all this Yeti talk. They narrowly escape an avalanche caused by the creature and eventually take shelter in a cave. There they encounter the creature, and his family, first hand. In his anger, the creature ends up causing a cave-in, killing the other creatures and knocking himself unconscious. So, of course, our botanist/photographer combo rig up a stretcher to bring the creature back.
Parrish manages to get himself a refrigerator type contraption to bring the creature stateside. Upon arrival in the US, they run into some immigration issues. See, the creature is an abominable snow “man” but has no passport. I’m not making this up. Soon that doesn’t matter as the creature escapes and starts living it up in Los Angeles. It doesn’t take long for the creature too start attacking women in dark alleys. Now it’s up to Parrish and Lt. Dunbar (Bill Phipps) to find the creature before he attacks again.
“The Snow Creature” borrows heavily from one of the greatest films of all time, “King Kong.” Both have expeditions that stumble upon a creature, both creatures are fascinated by women, and both creatures are brought to the US, only to escape. But this is a far cry from the “8th wonder of the world.” The scenes in the himalayas are a bit silly with considerable gaps in the logic of the whole thing. I mean, how does a botanist have the resources with him to drug and bind a huge creature to a crudely made stretcher for a multi-day journey down the mountain?
Most of the creature’s rampage through LA is pretty blah as well. The Yeti spends most of his time lurking in shadows, occasionally stepping forward a tad so we can see his silhouette, then stepping back again. There are no crowds of people running and screaming as the beast lumbers down the street. Meanwhile, the pursuit of the creature is yawn inducing, to say the least. Parrish and Dunbar spend almost the whole time sticking thumbtacks into a map rather than, oh…I don’t know, going out and actually looking for the beast! Only the final sequence, with the beast being chased through the sewers, manages a small shred of excitement.
Some B-movie fans will probably have a lot of fun with this overall cheap production. There are even some sequences where footage used just moments earlier appears to have been reused. If you don’t enjoy bad movies, this abominable snowman flick will be just plain abominable.