Cast & Crew
A killer beast on the rampage terrorizes a ski resort during a winter carnival. Yvette Mimieux and Sylvia Sidney replaced Donna Mills and Gloria Swanson respectively.
Michael J London
Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature on DVD
Let's start with the faux-documentary, Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot which vows to find the real Sasquatch in the course of a bucolic trek into the Canadian wilderness led by a naturalist (George Lauris) and some local hunters. Saddled with an imitation Wild Kingdom voice-over narration and the look of a home movie, this no-budget anomaly is memorable if only for its crude narrative techniques which seem archaic by current nature documentary standards: stock footage, boring close-ups of maps and amateur drawings, and, in one breathlessly exciting shot, a typewriter slowly keying crucial data. Night scenes are so dark you can barely distinguish the non-actors from the trees and the shaky point-of-view shots of the so-called Sasquatch are likely to give you motion sickness. In the course of the journey, the trackers recount some of their favorite Sasquatch stories which are re-enacted, including one which is credited to Teddy Roosevelt who told of a hunter having his neck snapped by a Sasquatch. Unfortunately, this act of violence happens off-screen so if you're looking for thrills, you'll have to be content with the scenes where a distant figure in a wooly suit throws rocks at the hunting party while emitting his trademark scream. The finale in particular where Sasquatch eludes capture once again might as well have been shot in a cave since it's impossible to tell what is happening but it does succeed as a cacophony of sound effects - gun shots, men shouting, panicked horses, snapping twigs, high pitched animal screams. If you make it this far you might as well stay through the closing credits where you'll be treated to a really lame country musak ballad. In the realm of Bigfoot movies, Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot has few admirers, if any, and can't compare to the camp pleasures of The Legend of Boggy Creek (1973), a charmingly inept docudrama about the gorilla-like creature that haunts Fouke, Arkansas. It was a surprise hit on the southern drive-in circuit and inspired two sequels.
Feature number two is The Snow Creature, produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder, Billy's older, less talented brother. While Billy was making classics like Stalag 17 (1953) and Sabrina (1954) in the early fifties, W. Lee was busy at work on his own masterpieces like Phantom from Space (1953) and Killers from Space (1954); the latter is justly famous for its zany aliens who had ping-pong balls for eyes. The Snow Creature has the distinction of being labeled "the first and possibly the worst abominable snowman film" by Michael Weldon in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film and he may be right. It begins in Tibet with a scientific expedition led by Dr. Frank Parrish (Paul Langton) and photographer Peter Wells (Leslie Denison) looking for the famous Yeti who promptly shows up during a snow storm and kidnaps the wife of a Sherpa. Instead of rushing to her rescue, Parrish and his cohort dismiss the frantic guide and go back to sleep. These are supposed to be the heroes??? Eventually, they make their way to a cave, avoiding an avalanche on the way, and engage in an intellectual conversation over the discovery of a skeleton: "This place gives me the creeps." "Yes, it's not the most pleasant in the world." Soon enough, they encounter a Yeti family in the cave but it all ends in disaster as the daddy Yeti throws a tantrum that brings down a clump of Styrofoam rocks, killing his family and knocking him unconscious. He is then transported back to Los Angeles in what looks like a combination refrigerator/telephone booth and is waylaid on the LAX tarmac while the scientists and U.S. immigration officials argue over the creature's classification - is it animal, vegetable or mineral? In a climax that recalls the film noir thriller He Walked by Night (1948) and Them! (1954, released the same year as The Snow Creature), the Yeti escapes into the Los Angeles sewer and is hunted down like a wild animal and shot. So much for scientific research and that expensive trip to Tibet! If nothing else, The Snow Creature works as a critique of macho arrogance and stupidity that is capped by the perfect fadeout - Dr. Parrish riding around in a LAPD squad car cracking corny jokes with his detective buddy while his wife gives birth to their son at the hospital alone.
The third feature on the disk, Snowbeast is as equally absurd as its companion features but at least it features some recognizable stars and some semi-effective special effects makeup. In a narrative that apes the events of Jaws (1975) but with a snowbound ski resort for a setting, the story gets right down to business with a female skier being attacked by the title creature. The owner of the swanky Rill Resort, played by Sylvia Sidney, tries to suppress news of the attack since ski season is in full swing but, of course, the pesky monster won't behave and just wants to kill, kill, kill. There's nothing benign or sympathetic about the Sasquatch depicted in this movie or even any attempt to connect him to the popular Bigfoot myths. Probably the most telling scene is when he interrupts the winter carnival, attacking and killing the elected snow queen's mother, and causing a riot in the gym. In the ensuing panic, the beauty contest winner loses her tiara and we see it trampled flat as Sylvia Sidney moans "The crown! The crown!" After all, what's more important, human life or a cheap tinsel prop? In between monster attacks is a dreary soap opera in which a former Olympic champion (Bo Svenson), out of work and in need of a job, tries to patch up his marriage with his long suffering wife (Yvette Mimieux). At least the climax is unconventional with Svenson dispatching the creature, not with bullets, but the sharp end of a ski pole. Of the three features, Snowbeast clearly wins the Best Monster costume; this Sasquatch is an ultra-fluffy dude with impressive fangs; it's much more impressive than the ratty, ape-like body suit on display in Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot or The Snow Creature's man-in-the-leotard-with-the-facial-fuzz. Snowbeast was originally made for television and it shows; several scenes end in a dramatic fade to black and you immediately expect a cut to the commercial. Sometimes you even long for one. Still, on its own tacky terms, Snowbeast delivers more guilty pleasures than the other two films.
The "Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature" comes with no extra features which is almost a relief. Who would want commentaries or "making of" featurettes on this trio of abominations? As for print quality, forget it. The colors look faded and the visual detail is soft, not sharp, in both Snowbeast and Sasquatch. The Snow Creature is in the worst sharp and marred by scratches, dirt, audio dropout and other minor defects but if you want perfection, go rent a Criterion disk. Retromedia makes no apologies for this triple feature and seen in the right circumstances - such as a drive-in where they were made to be shown along with a cooler full of Mickeys Big Mouths - the "Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature" could be a lot more fun than Ingmar Bergman's The Silence (1963) or Alain Resnais's Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959).
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by Jeff Stafford
Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature on DVD
Aired in United States April 28, 1977