On April 28, 1977, Snowbeast premiered, on NBC, playing off the infamous footage by Roger Patterson’s encounter with a Bigfoot, 10-years earlier in 1967, and using that along with the creature seen for over 100-years in the Colorado and the Pacific Northwest hence a yeti beast. Unknown to many actually two versions exist of this production the original ran 72-minutes and a longer version at 88-minutes. What’s more interesting, that this script was actually penned by Joseph Stefano, who wrote Psycho (1960) and then directed by Herb Wallerstein, an assistant director on the famous b-movie The Tingler (1959), however most of his career was spent in the general television episodes mode. Nevertheless, a tv-movie, Snowbeast actually enjoyed a rebirth on both DVD from Frolic Pictures in 2018 and then again the same year on Blu-ray from Retromedia Entertainment, and one last caveat remade in 2011 as Snow Beast.
The Colorado Ski Resort run by Mrs. Carrie Rill (Sylvia Sidney (Damien: Omen II )), created long ago a corny but fun 50th Anniversary of the Snow Queen ceremony, a small-town beauty pageant that’s going to crown Betty Jo Blodgett (Jacquie Botts, her only film credit), in a few days to open the next season. Meanwhile, teenagers Heidi (Annie McEnroe (Howling II )) and Jennifer (Kathy Christopher (Beasts )) enjoying the peaceful solitude on the Northern Slope, when they spot unusual large footprints in the snow, one of them frighten skis off and the other local girl skier exits the set very early.
Any doom-gloom reports is the last thing anyone in town needs, as (tell me if you heard this before) the town survives off the tourist dollars, yep the same argument in Jaws (1975). Carrie Rill’s grandson, Tony (Robert Logan), informed by his assistant Buster Smith (Thomas Babson), that a skier is missing perhaps killed, something no one wants to hear about, especially now. Tony and his team set off to conduct the search, he finds girl’s shredded and blood-smeared jacket, the posts signs to close that area and later informed Sheriff Cole Paraday (Clint Walker (Scream of the Wolf )). Then a subplot opens up, with a long lost love interest of Tony returns Ellen (Yvette Mimieux) who married a close friend of his Gar Seberg (Bo Svenson (Deep Space )), who won a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics and champion marksman, (wow, just in the nick of time, shocking). Quickly the body count starts to increase, with POV killing; not by much, but all starts to alarm locals and tourists, while Ellen confides in Tony about some lustful thoughts about him, and awkward tensions with Gar. This subplot creates a wonderful amount of padding, and later shows the rekindling of the marriage, how very nice. By the third act, after some chaos filled moments, the Sherriff and our loyal trio set out to hunt the Snowbeast they all come to believe strongly in, resulting in thinking the creature pushed over a pile of logs (located in the middle of nowhere) and knocking over their RV. This action denies physics and logic, why are the logs there, why park directly in sight of them, and then logs ending up inside the RV, trapping the sheriff. Of course, the finishing of the movie, follows normal horror clichés, any viewers of the genre come to expect, but then again it’s a time waster of a made for television movie.
There’s one scene in which the Snowbeast attacks a town hall during the snow queen ceremony, this actually came about because censors and producers thought the original attack sequence was far too graphic, violent and scary for audiences of the small screen to enjoy. In addition, no on-screen violence, the option to fade to a red screen when the beasts met a screaming victim, aided in proper commercial breaks for the marketing aspects, as cliffhanger moments. The final 20-minutes feel very hurried (and a slight letdown), never presenting a full screen shot of the monster, though perhaps beast, experience filmmakers know if they don’t the right budget or scary enough creature best to keep it from the viewers.
Simply stated this is another made-for-television movie, lost in the vast bastion of the 1970s, but still a horror movie, which continues to build off of Grizzly (1976) and Jaws thereby falling into the subgenres of Bigfoot and nature running amok (better known as environmental horror nowadays). In either case this is hit or miss in terms of whether to watch, short on runtime, one could do a lot worst, just remember the era, and the limitations of budget and censors. If you’ll still unsure of the movie it costs nothing to see it as it’s in the public domain, not ready then why not just visit the actually slopes to find your own Snowbeast it’s at Crested Butte Ski Resort – 12 Snowmass Road, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA.
- An unknown terror stalks a ski resort!
- The legendary creature is half man… half animal… and a cold blooded killer!
IMDb Rating: 4.8/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10
Full Movie Here: