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A hulking Bo Svenson in a bowl cut, is somehow more sinister than the ineffectual creature in Snowbeast, a 1977 horror show of a film that takes a minimalist approach to…well…everything.
These are some of the weakest special/practical effects you’ll ever see. Promise.
As skiers prepare for a tepid winter carnival in Colorado, billed as “an orgy of fun and games,” a banner descriptor belied by the sad-sack school gymnasium, hanging balloons and marching band that belts out Rule Britannia, one of their ranks goes missing.
Eyewitness accounts of a large hairy creature, neither human nor known beast, are met with skepticism…If horror films rewarded such queries with core competencies, they’d be 35 minutes long instead of 90.
The ski resort is owned by granny matriarch Carrie Rill, who instructs her grandson Tony to bury the tale, because it’s bad for business dontcha know?
Local strapping Sheriff Paraday obliges, saying the missing skiers were killed by a bear, rather than a fantastical Yeti creature roaming the backwoods, which looks like someone in a mink coat moving their arm into the frame. [Editor’s note: Interestingly, six years earlier, the actor who played the sheriff, Clint Walker — best known for Pancho Villa, The Dirty Dozen and the Western, Cheyenne — narrowly escaped death in a skiing accident at Mammoth Mountain, California. Walker fell off a chair lift, and was pierced through the heart with a ski pole].
But don’t expect anything death-defying here, as far as scares are concerned.
At the resort, as it happens, is former ski champ Gar Seberg (Svenson), who gets wind of the cover up and heads up into the mountains to look for his missing missus.
Snowbeast is notable for little other than a gregarious Svenson attempting (at times), a southern accent.
There’s also a bizarre subplot where the chalet matriarch’s grandson makes a very transparent play for Svenson’s wife. And right in front of him too!
Wacky (and unintentionally hilarious) made-for-TV fare.
** (out of 5)