|Hammer Files: The Abominable Snowman|
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, September 7, 2014 Share
Hammer didn't immediately follow up their smash hit Curse of Frankenstein with another gothic horror but instead a modern science fiction mystery with horror over tones. 1957's The Abominable Snowman, based on Nigel Kneale's TV play The Creature, was probably not what Hammer's newfound fans of bloodstained gothic horror were expecting but it is still a film that holds up to this day long after Hammer's early gore is now tame. Some of this is no doubt due to the talent of the original TV plays writer Nigel Kneale.
Kneale was hot off the fame that Hammer's adaption of his earlier TV serial The Quatermass Experiment had brought him and he brought all his high brow sci-fi ideas to the pot with this film. Kneale's script let's us believe that the Yetis are going to kill and maim the expedition but instead turns it around on the viewer by the end by allowing you to reflect on the situations and showing the humans as reckless and basically responsible for their own deaths. The Yeti are revealed to be highly intelligent creatures that are simply waiting for mankind to destroy itself at which point they will then occupy the earth.
Once again Peter Cushing brings his amazing talent to the screen. This time playing the role of Dr. Rollason, a role he was quite familiar with as he played the same character in the TV serial version The Creature, using his talent of portraying smart sympathetic scientists of action. A far cry from the calculated evil of his Victor Frankenstein and a true testament to his ability as an actor. The Yetis themselves are kept mostly in the dark and shown only in low lit glimpses, a brilliant decision of producer Val Guest's part. The scene were they reveal themselves to Cushing is memorable.
When I first saw The Abominable Snowmen I must admit to being let down as I was super excited and expected some major Yeti murder sprees.Even on first viewing I was in awe of the handeld documentary feel of the film and it's remsemblance at times to John Carpenter's The Thing and slightly to Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness. And as time went on I realized what I got instead was a well-crafted, sci-fi mood piece that would remind you of the mid-forties style of sci-fi being written by Ray Bradbury. It missed the Bigfoot film craze by several years but perhaps that's best as it is far above all those films. A non-traditional Hammer film that shows Hammer still working out its place in the world of horror and a perfect example of their early creativity that some would say waned later on.
"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2014 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.
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