The Abominable Snowman (1957)
Madness in the Mountains
High up in the Himalayas at an old monastery, scientist John Rollason (Peter Cushing), his wife Helen (Maureen Connell) and his assistant Peter (Richard Wattis) await the arrival of American Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker). Despite objections from Helen and warnings of the Lhama (Arnold Marlé), John and Tom head out on an expedition to track down the fabled Yeti. But as their expedition commences their guide, a young Scotsman by the name of McNee (Michael Brill), begins to be affected as they get closer to where they believe the Yeti to be whilst scientist John finds himself at odds with Tom when he discovers his plans to catch the Yeti to take him back home to use in a show.
There is a lot to like about "The Abominable Snowman" starting with the movie's look as director Val Guest and his crew have done a nice job of weaving actual footage of climbers on mountains, the Pyrenees standing in for the Himalayas, with the studio shots. At times this is done so effectively that you would believe they had shipped their actors to the Himalayas to make the movie. And on the subject of look Guest takes the right decision to hide the Yeti, allowing our own imagination to fuel the fear.
There is also the acting and in many ways the contrast between Cushing and Tucker's acting styles fitting with their characters. As scientist Rollason, Cushing gives us a more measured, at times reserved performance whilst as Tom Friend, the American looking at the Yeti as a commercial opportunity, Tucker is more like a bull in a china shop, spitting out his dialogue with aggression.
But the trouble with "The Abominable Snowman" is for it to work it needs to get you gripped in order to capture your imagination of what horror the Yeti may be, but it is slow going. The slowness, especially during the build up as it tries to build up the contrasting characters and their conflicts is frankly hard work especially for those looking for more excitement. In fairness it builds till we get more excitement but for many the slowness of the start will lessen the impact when things get exciting. There is a reason for this slowness as "The Abominable Snowman" wants to be more than just a horror movie and explore the look at the conflict between man when it comes to commercialisation which if that is not your thing only adds to the movies slowness.
What this all boils down to is that "The Abominable Snowman" is not for everyone as it isn't just some simple horror movie as it takes its time to set up a human conflict. Even though it didn't do it for me there is still something impressive about it especially when it comes to the movie's look.
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