View Full Version : The Abominable Snowman (Hammer)

05-11-2003, 03:53 PM
Before my week away from HorrorDVD I promised to write a mini-review of the Hammer classic, The Abominable Snowman (AS). Or rather, in the version I saw, Yeti Der Schneemensch – yeah that’s right, I have a German version.

As I have said before, I think Hammer have simply licensed their movies out to various companies. In the US AB released these films, in the UK a reissue is currently underway. In Germany, this film is one of four just released, with new Hammer’s coming out monthly. I’d lay money on the transfers for each of these releases being exactly the same.

This is my second time through AS, and frankly, it needs at least one more run through. I was better prepared second time around, and a third might well work wonders. You see, this is a rather strange film, and certainly not what I thought I was going to get from Hammer.

The main issue here, and it’s not a bad thing if you’re prepared, is that this is not a monster film. If you come from the Gorgon, Reptile, Quatermass, Dracula or Frankenstein side of Hammer films, then you might well be expecting a climbing party being attacked by Yeti’s. But – you just don’t get it here. You see, this is less a film about Yeti’s as it is a psychological film about mankind. That is not to say some deaths do not occur, they do. But it’s just not a monster film in any way.

Oh sure, there are Yeti’s in it – but they don’t show up until an hour of the film has passed. Even then, you only get to see hands and arms. Actually, you never get to see the Yeti full on. The best you get is a pair of eyes and a nose. Weird huh?

This one stars Peter Cushing in an early role (he never looked much different, to be honest) and Forrest Tucker, whom I always enjoy. Tucker plays the hunter who is after the Yeti specimen to make money, Cushing plays the scientist trying to find a Yeti for the betterment of mankind. Obvious clashes abound, and other characters bring a mix into it.

The storyline itself is rather deceiving. You see, sure they’re looking for Yetis, but the point is they each portray a different facet of mankind. As I have said, this is a psychological film, it is really about how mankind treats other humans, other species. It is about a race of man (yes man) who waits patiently in the mountains for mankind to kill himself off, so they can take over what has been left behind. Rather than a race of wild animals hiding out, we have old seers. It is about a wise species who is more evolved than our own, hiding out for the right time. That’s nothing like I would have imagined a film called “The Abominable Snowman” would have been like, and certainly not from Hammer!

This film is about the quest of man – two kinds of men – for knowledge. It is a film about the destiny of man, and how destiny cannot be ignored (one guy in the party is a lousy climber, but he feels that his destiny is to meet the Yeti). It is a film about the lengths a man will go to get what he wants, even if it means forgoing the lives of others. It is a story of self-enlightenment and facing your fears. It is NOT a film about killer Yeti’s, seeking out innocent climbers.

The DVD is from Anolis. Film 2.35.1. Mono 2.0. 86 minutes. Extras include an audio commentary, trailer and picture gallery.

The transfers is really nice, no complaints at all. The sound is good too. There are times when the characters seem to talk too fast for me to keep up (sounds strange, but true) but nothing to ruin the film.

Soundstage work mixed in with healthy doses of stock footage (actually they apparently filmed a lot from a helicopter) makes this one look gorgeous – lots of nice scenery here.

All in all, this is perhaps a unique entry into the Hammer cannon. It does not sit comfortably within the Hammer collection, because the message and direction are quite different from everything else I have seen. It is, therefore, a rather special film. I don’t know that I have ever seen anything quite like it – not in this genre.

As long as you know, going in, that this is not a monster flick, you’ll likely enjoy it. Hammer fans can have a great time knowing that the studio they thought they knew can still catch them off guard. It is certainly worth grabbing. I recommend it. Glad I own it anyway. I suspect this one will get many spins in the years to come.

Midnight Buddha
05-11-2003, 05:23 PM
Have you listened to the commentary on it yet, if so how is it?. It`s getting released this month in the uk as you said and i`d really like to get a copy. Seen it on the tv years ago and it always stuck with me.

05-11-2003, 06:12 PM
Sorry, I put the commentary on at about four in the morning, and no surprise, I feel asleep :) I would not blame the commentary for that - it was late, and I was three movies into the night.

The UK version probably has the 24 page booklet which my copy is missing. Definately worth getting, if you keep my words in mind.

05-12-2003, 08:21 PM
Glad you enjoyed it, It has always been a favourite of mine:)

The commentary, I thought was very informative by Nigel Kneale and Val Guest, allthough they both recorded the commentary track seperately.

I thought the sound was great, and another bonus factor is that the movie was 16x9 enhanced .

Didn't your copy have the World of Hammer TV Show Episode on it? (Peter Cushing)


05-19-2003, 10:47 PM
God, I hate those World of Hammer Shows. Unwatchable propoganda. I'd rather they just give me all the trailers.