Snowbeast (1977)

2 Beers

It’s big and overweight. It has weird hair. It’s white. It eats skiers and children and, no, it’s not Donald Trump. It is, in fact, the SNOWBEAST and, if you are moving at a high rate of speed down a mountain, chances are good that he will gobble your ass up in his mouth and grind your bones into powder.

Made for television and full of faded stars like Clint Walker, Sylvia Sidney, and Bo Svenson, there is an inherent silliness to much of Snowbeast. Picture it: Jaws in the snow! Holy Frozen Popsicles, Boils and Ghouls! Granted there’s no mechanical shark rising to the snow-covered hills of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, but the goofy insanity of skiers getting gobbled up by this hulking wooly man-beast means that chuckles are just around the corner.

Poor Gar Seberg (Svenson). He’s a washed-up former gold medal ski champion. His wife (Yvette Mimieux) could give two shits about him and, by coming to this ski resort to beg for a job from his former rival in winning her hand in marriage, Tony (Robert Logan), the grandson of the resort’s owner (Sidney), he’s hit a brand new low.

Thing is, with the 50th anniversary of the resort on the horizon and the uptick in guests, Tony already has his hands full. That’s compounded early on in this cheeky flick when one guest is practically run over by the Yeti. That’s just the beginning, though. There will be more. With missing skiers being reported over and over, yeah, he’s more than willing to help Gar out. Not even Sheriff Paraday (Walker) knows what’s up and, thinking it’s just a bear, goes on the wrong kind of hunt.

Are they murders or are they animal attacks? Or is all just one BIG avalanche? People don’t know. Who cares, though? It’s carnival time and, even if that big ugly lug is peeking through the high school gym window, there’s a sweet, sweet festival to be had. That’s the attitude before all the screaming and shouting begins. The people on the hills just want to cut loose.  

Turns out that big hairy beast is pretty damn frightening. Soon, when it is spotted looking in on the partiers, there are teenagers running every which way and, alas, the Snow Queen’s crown is trampled underfoot. What the hell kind of celebration is this?! And then the Snow Queen’s Carriage loses its driver?! C’mon, man! We came here to dance!

And so begins the trek into one of the weirdest and tamest monster flicks to roll out of the late 1970s. Written by Joseph Stefano (of The Outer Limits fame) and directed by Herb Wallerstein (verteran of several classic sitcoms), Snowbeast is all about the hunt for a killer beast of mythological proportions. There’s a fierce debate raging between the four final members of the hunting party and if they don’t tear each other apart with hidden desires, then the beast surely will.

Issued on blu-ray thanks to Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia label, this B-movie horror flick is cheesy entertainment that is certain to tickle some monster hunters out there. The attacks – filmed mainly with POV shots, complete with grunts and growls – are tame in this relatively bloodless affair, but that only adds to the overall silliness of it all.

Travel back in time when both men and beast were hairy and feast: the 1970s. Snowbeast, newly remastered and restored with a NEW HD 16x9 transfer, is now available on blu-ray.

Blu-ray Specifications:

Released on 1080p (with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1) by Retromedia, Snowbeast isn’t exactly the best looking upgrade to grace your television sets. I bet you won’t mind either. There is, in some certain location shoots, a heavy layer of grain. Now, this doesn’t bother me. I like grain. Grain works, but if you are expecting a low budget knockoff to look better some number of years AFTER its release date, then you will be disappointed. This isn’t a restoration. It simply is what it is. Interiors are good, but details aren’t as graphic as they could be. Black levels are good, but never impressive. Some of the effects shots, while dated, are pretty solid with good execution. The sound and its soundtrack are supplied with a rather basic LPCM 2.0.

Commentary:

The interesting commentary on this film is presented by Fred Olen Ray and David Decoteau.

Special Features:

Fans of this flick get linear notes by Amanda Reyes, a new HD transfer of both versions: the television one (72 minutes) and the International version (88 minutes), which restores some of the violence and attacks censors had issues with.

International Version (88 min)

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