There’s No Beast Like Snowbeast!
By Bob Blaschuk
When making a monster movie like Snowbeast there is a very difficult story decision you have to make very early on in writing. You need to decide whether your film is going to be monster filled right from the beginning, letting your audience see and experience your creature in all its glory, or not showing said beasty until the perfect time, letting the fear and anticipation build until finding that one glorious moment of reveal.
Sure, there are probably infinite other writing options too, but they are no fun so I am pretending they don’t exist. Snowbeast went the more subdued route. They wanted to show the audience only what they had too, letting you wonder about the beast. Is it a yeti, a snow leopard, maybe even Yukon Cornelious? They would deftly show us an arm, or quick shot of the creature in the distance, to try to maximize the anticipation for the full reveal of beast.
But it seems the writers of Snowbeast decided they would go a bit too full-on into the idea of not showing the monster, making one big mistake in the execution of that idea. They forgot to write the scene where you actually see the monster in all its glory. Mind you, there is also the chance that the snowbeast itself looked so inherently stupid they decided against showing his weird rubbery face for us to laugh at. Which in my humble opinion is a poor choice. I will say it right here and now for all to read. I want to see your stupid monster face!!!!!
Sorry about that, I’ll reign it in.
Snowbeast really amounts to the daytime soap version of a monster movie. Which, I guess as an actual made for TV movie it kind of is. A super angry Yeti attacks a ski resort in Colorado during the annual Snow Queen Festival in which the people of a small town worship a young woman’s ability to wear very tight one-piece snow suits. The only defense the resort has against this rampaging ninja of a beast is 1968 Olympic gold medalist Bo Svenson’s character… I think his name was Greg, or Garb, Maybe Garg????
Anyways, Glarg, and his friend/ski resort owner/guy who wants to sleep with his wife, Tony, must stop the beast before it is too late. Too late being after the Snow-squatch has eaten all the tourists? I am not sure the movie doesn’t really have any stakes. But, like any good action hero pairing, they spend most of their time meandering about the wilderness or frolicking in a heated pool in their speedos.
There is also a lot of time spent driving, explaining what a yeti is too Sylvia Sydney, eating, skiing, fawning over Bo’s wife, looking for work, band practice, car maintenance, and trying on technicolor snowsuits. As you might have caught on there is very little Snowbeast hunting in that list. In fact, they don’t even bother hunting it at all until late in the film when, like a forgotten child the Yeti-beast wanders into town, and smashes a window to get their attention. When that doesn’t work he then takes a small step up the crime ladder and proceeds to murder the snow queens mom.
Murder may be too strong a word for it.
You see as a made for TV movie, there are very little gore, and horror effects in the film at all, except for maybe the large Bo Svenson sized brightly colored ski suits. So, when I say that he murdered someone, I meant more that the Snowbeast rubbed blood on the side of a jeep, dripped some into the snow, or just plain forgot to add blood to his victim all together.
I don’t personally need tons of gore, and dead bodies to make a movie good, but I do think in a film about a killer Yeti that rampages through a ski resort it would be more than appropriate to add the odd splash of blood, or even show a dead body, to make the Snowbeast seem less like a pushover.
Snowbeast is not without its fun moments though. There may even be enough of them to make this worth watching. I doubt it, but other people are more patient than I am. I did get a fair amount of chuckles out of the number of seasoned skiers who would just fall on their faces for no reason. They would ski along, and poof, down they go. Only one of them was actually being chased by the Snow-yeti-beast-squatch during their tumble, or since we didn’t see the beast during that chase, the cameraman.
My favorite example of this is after seemingly fifteen minutes of watching a trained snow patrol member (ski style, not band) ski his way around the scenery, he just slips on his skis, falls flat on his face and slides silently off a cliff. Just like that, no real reason, he just trips on his own skis, or maybe some snow, or an air molecule, and whoosh, off the cliff he goes. Now he gets lucky and does catch himself on a rock, or branch. He might have even lived through this ordeal of stupidity if it wasn’t for the Yeti showing up and giving him a swift punch in the head.
Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down, damn.
While Snowbeast is kind of fun, it does bring up a couple things to remember about making a monster film. First, no matter what you think, you should at least show your monster once, in its full glory. Think about it, you made a whole movie about a killer creature, the least you can do, is show the audience a single good long shot of the beast. I also feel if you’re making a TV monster movie, you should use a sliding scale to determine the ratio of gore to beast reveal. The less gore, the more monster, and vice versa.
Second, your monster movie should probably be about the monster. When you have a Yeti apparently killing people in your movie, I do not need to know the inner workings of a ski resort in Colorado, no matter how colorful you make the ski suits or how good the snow queen/Bo Svenson looks in them.
So, if you are in the market for a goreless, monsterless, made for TV movie from the seventies, then Snowbeast is your jam. If you want to watch a good film, you can skip this one.