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W. Lee Wilder, older and far less talented brother of Billy Wilder;
still he did make some memorable contributions to the b-movie genre.
Has anyone who has seen KILLERS FROM SPACE ever forgotten it? Ditto
PHANTOM FROM SPACE with its invisible alien? He even tackled to
Abominable Snowman sub genre, alas with predictable results. This time
the Yeti kidnaps the wife of a native guide and he (Teru Shimada) and
his fellow Sherpas order the expedition leader (Leslie Dennison) to
track the creature . . . or else. This would be a great plot device but
it is not long before everyone forgets the main reason they are way up
on the mountains and turns their attention to capturing the Yeti alive!
This Yeti is a tall skinny fellow whose "fur" looks like mismatched fur coats sewn together rather hastily. He is even a family man, we get a brief look at his mate and young child (so why did he kidnap the woman? To use her as a nanny perhaps?).
Okay this would be a pretty dull movie if the Yeti was not captured. Oh wait! This IS a pretty dull movie! Um . . . it would be an even duller movie if the Yeti were not captured, is that better? And of course he has to escape . . . I mean who wants to spend the second half of the movie watching him in a cage? He gets away because his entry into the U S of A is held up while Customs officials (get this!) determine his immigration status! Which means when he escapes the cops start hunting him because A. he is a dangerous monster on the loose and B. he is an illegal immigrant!
Mr. Wilder stretched his low budget by repeating the shot of the Snowman walking up a dark street 3 times. There are also seemingly endless shots of policemen running all over the place while searching for him.
KILLERS FROM SPACE is a lot more fun than SNOW CREATURE, hey don't take my word for it, see them both and then decide for yourself.
Oh and if you were wondering whatever happened to Myles Wilder who wrote the scripts for many of W. Lee's movies; he later went on to write scripts for Saturday morning cartoon shows like "Funky Phantom" and "Hong Kong Phooey".
This film really isn't all that bad. The photography is moody and atmospheric. The music is sometimes quite good. Director W.Lee Wilder occasionally shows some visual flair. The cast is at worst adequate. The snowman is another story. It it simply a very tall man wrapped in what looks like rabbit fur. Granted, director W. Lee Wilder tries to keep the snowman hidden in the shadows most of the time. But when he is seen full view it looks amazingly unconvincing. Had this film not employed such a poor snowman costume, it probably would have been regarded as a slightly better than average low budget early fifties monster picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watch this movie closely (if you dare), and you will see certain of the
same fairly long sequences repeated only a few minutes apart (such as
when they are walking up the mountain and when they are searching the
city sewers near the end), not including the ridiculous loop of the
snow creature of which various short segments play now and then, both
in forward and reverse, from start to finish (amazing how well he can
walk backwards). Seriously, near the end, it is so awkward when you see
random bits of the loop right close together which literally made a
friend and I groan out of discomfort, almost as if the editor was
trying to drive the viewer mad, especially when it sometimes freezes
for a moment as if the projector just stopped, before the next scene
The snow creature looks much like a man/poodle hybrid! It's true!
There are some really horrible elements of this movie, which are a mix of incoherence and that of the ludicrous:
1. I'm not quite sure what happens when they capture the snow creature. It seems he is trying to bring down the cave ceiling to kill the intruders, but his female and baby snow creature are killed instead and he knocks HIMSELF out to add insult to injury! (Or maybe it was some sort of suicidal act?) If he already had a female, then why did he kidnap the woman, and why did they give up the search for her so quickly?
2. The part where an inspector from the US Customs Service wants to know if the creature is a man or a beast after they arrive is ludicrous, and jaw-droppingly silly. That part alone makes the movie a joke.
3. I may be wrong on this, but why would the sewers be so much cooler, (even cold) for the snow creature to prefer being down there? Wouldn't they be a lot warmer? I know in most other movies, even if it is cold in the city, you see steam rising from the manholes. I am nitpicking perhaps, but I CAN see him hiding down there just because it is cave-like.
All of the ridiculous technical points, even as to why a botanist is freezing in heaps of snow and strong winds (maybe it was solely for the botanist-becomes-Yeti-hunter plot twist) and the shooting of the "radio machine" (and the exchanging of the booze and the radio in their respective containers to hide the damaged radio for fixing later) make this just a bit "too much" to enjoy.
1/10. I mean, they have got to be kidding. Like my friend's father used to say, "I know a poodle when I see one!"
Silly, preposterous cheapie from Billy Wilder's incowpetant kid brother, W. Lee Wilder("Killers from Space", "Phantom from Space", "Manfish"). A churlish failed botanist & a drunk photographer lead a group of Japanese actors trying to pass as Tibetans into some poorly designed fake Himalayan sets; a tall shaggy fellow steals one of the "Sherpas" wives, and a merry chase ensues with the "legendary Yeti" to retrieve the wife & bring the Big Hairy Guy back to the States. Once in Los Angeles a debate brews over wether the walking rug is a human monster or mutant DuPont Stainmaster, and therefore cargo. The carpet then escapes, haunts the sewers of L.A., and is given the Final Treatment by the cops. Slow, stodgy, and dumb as a box of Himalayan rocks, this early ABSM(Abominable Snowman)stinker features the single worst snowman costume ever - it's obviously a huge shaggy rug, with a square hole cut out of the face so the "actor" stuffed inside can see/breathe. The poor unfortunate inside can barely moove around, and we even get to see him/her slip on the icy rocks that are supposed to pass for the Himalayans. Wilder's threadbare technique of using the same shots and scenes over and over again to shave moolah off the the film's production costs serve as further hilarity - one shot, of the "snowman" stepping out of the shadows, is shown and reversed over and over and over, some 20 or 30 times. Like a brief glimpse into future Coleman Francis moovies, actors spend much of the non-Himalayan time smoking and/or drinking coffee. You will remember Paul Langton, who plays Botanist Frank Parrish, from such stinkers as "IT:The Terror from Beyond Space", "The Cosmic Man", and "Invisible Invaders", although he may best be remembered for 1957's "The Incredible Shrinking Man", which was actually a pretty good flick. Lock Martin("Invaders from Mars", "The Day the Earth Stood Still", "The Incredible Shrinking Man") reportedly was the poor soul stuffed inside the shaggy rug, a very tall actor known as 50's tv host "The Gentle Giant" and for playing Gort, the robot in "The Day the Earth Stood Still" - kind of a Richard Kiel of the 50's. As for "Snow Creature", well its typical W. Lee Wilder, and that means slow, cheap, and dumb. The MooCow suggests viewing the W. Lee Wilder trilogy ("Snow Beast", "Killers from Space", "Phantom from Space")with yer stinky moovie buddies, and let the silliness ensue. ;=8)
***SPOILERS*** Outrageously campy film about the "Yeti" or "Abominable
Snowman" of the Himilayias with the creature looking like a giant Gabby
Hayes or Jed Clampet of the "Beverly Hillbillies". The creature goes
around in a tight fur-lined jumpsuit tip toeing through the tulips as
if trying not to wake up anyone in the movie or in the audience who may
have fallen asleep watching. The creature was found by Dr. Frank
Parrish's, Paul Langton, expedition that began in the town of Sherka at
the foot of the mighty Himilayian Mountains.
Dr. Perrish was going up the snow capped mountains to study plants and flowers, Dr. Parrish is a botanist, only to have his expedition taken over by a mutiny lead by his Sherka guide Subra, Teru Shimada, who's woman was kidnapped by a local Yeti in order to get her back. This leads to the expedition finding a cave high up on the mountain range where the Yeti and his family lives.
Finding himself surrounded the Yeti starts a violent cave-in by pulling rocks out of their place killing his mate and offspring and knocking himself out . The Yeti ends up being captured by Dr. Parrish and his Sherka mountain climbers; and who said that Yati's are supposed to be smart.
Brought back some 10,000 miles to L.A the local authorities are more interested in the Yeti's immigration status then it's value to science. As their bickering with Dr. Parrish it escapes from an ice-box that it was caged in and goes out killing people on the streets of L.A. You would think that such a major find on Dr. Parrish's part would draw the attention of the entire scientific and anthropological world but in the movie that didn't even raise a stir in those two communities. With almost nobody showing up at the L.A airport to see the "Find of the Century". The local as well as world media also seemed to be out to lunch or reporting on the latest gossip news, from TV and Movieland, to bother reporting about this historic find.
On the loose and in the sewers, it felt more like home for the Yeti there, it terrorizes the city with the police hot on it's tail. Cornered in the sewer system the cops shoot, I don't know if they killed it or not, the Yeti and with that the movie ends.
Campy and unintentionally funny film thats worth a look for bad movie fans who won't be disappointed and may even get a few good laughs out of it. The Yeti is so ridicules that every time you see it come on the screen you just can't help cracking up. the Yeti in the film "The Snow Creature"is about as scary as the Three Stooges and almost as funny.
Some of the Himalayan scenes are interesting. There is a conflict as to who is running the show. It's typical of Westerners to try to run roughshod over their "inferiors." Anyway, the Yeti is out there and if we bring him (or her) back, we can make a bundle. Everything works out pretty well and they order his refrigerated box. The problem is the customs guys don't know whether he's human or not. In most respects he is. He lives in a family setting. He has tools. He walks upright and is built pretty much like most homo sapiens. What are his rights? Nobody says anything about just barging into his domain and killing off his family. So, like every good monster movie (or bad one), the "guy" gets loose in the city and wastes a couple of people. What should he do? He's trying to survive. While there are issues that keep this interesting, it doesn't sustain itself very well. There are unanswered questions that are forgotten as soon as the Yeti escapes from his box. A film with some courage might have gone beyond what it does, but money or talent got in the way. The monster looks pretty much like a man with a beard (we never get a good look at him in daylight). Pretty poor with a few perks.
Most viewers and reviewers can't think of bad enough things to say about this film, and some of their barbs are justified: the film does take too long to get going, and the title creature (when he finally appears) is not an inspired creation. However, the film does offer certain rewards to patient viewers. The black & white photography is much better than one would expect, particularly the clever use of light and shadow during the film's second half. The use of the soundtrack shows imagination also. Case in point: the scene where the creature pays a late night visit to a cold storage warehouse, and is glimpsed briefly moving between the hanging sides of beef. There's no screaming or loud background music, only faint street sounds. Somehow, the silence of this scene makes it much more unsettling than it would have been otherwise.
I suppose you should approach this stuff with an open mind, but I have difficulty doing that. Those words written, my expectations for this were, quite frankly, pretty low. I knew that it was a 1954, low-budget production. Therefore, I was prepared to tolerate the cheap old costumes and over-abundance of no-action dialogue. I wanted to subject myself to this fillage of time. Sure, some of the responses were totally unrealistic. But, looking past all the negatives, I still found some pros that, in my opinion, offset the anticipated cons. Some of that dialogue, to me, actually represented a try. Maybe I give it a (barely) passing grade because even this simpleton could follow the extremely UNcomplex plot: Scientist captures living snow creature in Himalayas and is able to return it to LA, where it escapes. Perhaps I would feel ripped off if I spent too much money to purchase a tape of this movie. But having seen it on satellite TV - which I think of as a more-INdirect flow of my dollars - my concern was mostly for my time, which I did not find totally wasted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first part of this movie starts off like a "Wonderful World of
Nature" type travelogue then quickly descends into awfulness.
A plant-hunting expedition sets out to explore the Himalayas. After trekking for two gruelling, tedious days they set up base camp. That night the head guide's wife is taken from his home village by a Yeti. Villagers cover the ground the expedition took two days to cover that same night - in the dark. Anyone think these scientists hired the wrong guides? The head guide takes the white scientists' guns and they trek endlessly around the mountains, past the same bunches of rocks time and time again. Yep - they hired the wrong guy. Eventually they find a cave. Inside they find a huge Muppet - sorry, Yeti family. The male Yeti, suddenly surprised in his own home by gun wielding Sherpas, decides to remodel the cave and causes a rockfall which knocks him unconscious and kills his mate and child. In the confusion the white guys get the guns back and, now that the natural order is restored, force the 'natives' to abandon the search for the Guide's wife (who, for all they know is somewhere in the cave, they just found her necklace after all) and cart the drugged Yeti back to Civilisation "Where he belongs." Back in town the scientists decide not to press charges against the Sherpas (Thank you, B'wana! Me glad not to be in gaol for trying to rescue my wife) and are allowed to take the Yeti away without even filling out any forms. Hello white people, please abuse our countrymen, abandon our women to die on mountainsides, and steal our national treasures. It's a pleasure to be abused by you, thank you. Do come again. Bring tanks next time.
The Yeti is shipped to LA via a long series of stock shots.
The head scientist arrives and is reunited with his wife, then gets into a dispute with the local immigration people about whether the Yeti is a man or an animal. As they debate the matter in a series of master-shots the Yeti escapes. The police are soon on the scene in the shape of a Lt. Dunbar an man who's screen presence is enhanced by the actor having an uncanny ability that enables him to actually upstage himself! Several times he needlessly turns his back to the audience before delivering lines and then occasionally, as a bonus, waits for other people to get between him and the camera before speaking. Maybe he was expecting there to be other takes - everything is shot in one wide take there are no other angles in any scene, or maybe he realised he was in a real stinker and was trying to hide, either way it is a genius performance.
The police search for the escaped Snow Man Beast Muppet thing using a variety of stock shots, sequences lifted from other movies, and sticking three push pins into the smallest map of L.A the producers could find.
All to no avail, the Yeti appears to be moving round the city with impunity. How is he getting about? Our scientist looks out of the window and sees a street sweeper sweeping garbage into a drain. Hmmmm. He wonders, Didn't he remember something about all rampaging monsters due to be let loose in the LA area being issued with maps of the storm drains a while back? The police wander around the storm drains (or to be more precise our leads and three extras in uniforms, wander around three or four yards of storm drain shot from at least, oh I'd say - two different angles). Endlessly they wander up and down the same three bits of drain hoping the audience don't notice because it is so dark. Suddenly they trap the Muppet in a net - and shoot it dead.
Stupid denouement - The End
This film was made so cheaply it hurts. The Mountain sequences alternate long tedious climbing sequences (shot without sound) followed by night-time sequences, for the most part in small tents, in which the story, such as it is, is progressed. The shots of the Snow beast looming into the camera and then retreating are repeated so often, and towards the end, so randomly, that it looks like the thing is doing the Hokey-Pokey. The same alley way is shot from the same angle over and over again and is the setting for the best, weird shot of the whole thing. A slow pan left to right of the empty alley, a scream, the camera stops and pans BACK across the still empty alley before revealing an altercation in a doorway we've never seen before.
On the positive side it is only 71 minutes long.
This film lacks just about everything. A good story, a cool monster, a decent actor--all are absent from this baby! It is really a test of endurance to see if you can get through it. I picked it up because A. It was cheap and 2. it had a snow monster! Snow monsters are my personal favorite, which is tragic considering that nobody makes movies about them. In fact, the best screen Yeti yet is the Wampa from Empire Strikes Back . .. and it wasn't even a Yeti! The special effects are so terrible that the cornball director used the same exact shot of the monster over and over and over again. Nevertheless, three scenes stand out in my mind: 1. An attack on a female victim in a black alley 2. The monster seen weaving in and out of cattle carcasses in a meat plant 3. Coolest of all, this scene shows the monster trying to break out of the container that brought him to the US from the so-called Himilayas. Check out Wilder's Phantom from Space for a better time.
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