Review Date: January 26, 2001
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 5/22/2000
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
In 1955, Peter Cushing starred in the BBC television drama, The Abominable Snowman
, based on a story by Nigel Kneale...two years later, he would reprise his role in the Hammer film.....
Dr. John Rollason (Peter Cushing
), a botanist is on a Himalayan expedition with his wife Helen and an assistant. Using a monastery for their work, they have been helped in their endeavors by the Lhama. Now, the Lhama is aware that a second expedition will soon be joining them, led by Tom Friend, an adventurer who has only one thing on his mind. Rollason is also aware of this second expedition and it's mission. Friend and his group plan on locating the half-beast, half-human monster known as the Yeti. Helen is furious when she realizes that her husband has plans of joining the expedition. Helen denies the existence of the beast, but Friend produces a flask in which a huge human tooth is encased, the tooth of a Yeti, Friend claims. The Lhama explains that the flask was stolen from the monastery several years earlier, but his explanation does little to sway Rollason from believing in the existence of the Yeti and his belief in these beasts is solidified even more when the Lhama implies that a race of "Super intelligent Beings will take over the world, when humanity has destroyed itself.".
Friend, Rollason and three others set off to climb the mountain and finally bring back proof that these beasts really exist. After an arduous climb, the party of men finally see proof of their existence...footprints, but disaster soon strikes when one of the party is injured and later dies in a fall and a second member of the party flees in terror, heading back to the monastery. Despite the tragedy, Friend is determined to continue on, especially when the third man that remains in the party shoots one of the beasts......almost eleven feet high, but with a wise and gentle expression, even in death.
From this point on, the men know they are living on borrowed time, as the remaining Yeti seem bent on revenge for the death of one of their own......
Hammer Studios hit the nail-on-the-head with this film. It's a roller-coaster ride of thrills and tension and it literally can leave you sitting on the edge of your seat. I've yet to see a Hammer film that was made from a story by Nigel Kneale to be a disappointment, Kneale simply wrote some of the best sci-fi/horror stories to be adapted for films. Director Val Guest kept the film moving along at a very nice pace and his direction seemed to allow the tension to build to an almost white-knuckle high experience. The pairing of Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker (Tom Friend) worked nicely for this film. Tucker seemed to embody the callous American adventurer and Cushing, as always, brought a sense of regalness to his characterization of John Rollason.
Anchor Bay presents The Abominable Snowman
letterboxed at 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 anamorphic enhanced. The film is B&W, but the gray scale enjoys very nice contrast with blacks coming across deep and whites looking very bright. Artifacts and pixelation is very minimal to almost non-existent. Overall a very nice offering for a film of this age.
The sound for this disc may be the only weak spot. Dolby Digital 2.0 is the offering here and although it appears that the soundtrack was cleaned up for this release, there are occasional problems with muffled dialogue, but nothing that would distract the viewer from enjoying the film. The musical score by Humphrey Searle is wonderful; it captures the essence of the film with it's haunting and almost over-powering sounds, it really adds to the eeriness of the film.
Anchor Bay has given Hammer fans yet another episode of "Worlds of Hammer" with this disc, this time entitled, "Peter Cushing". The disc also boasts a theatrical trailer, but the main supplement to this disc is the commentary with Director Val Guest and writer, Nigel Kneale. I love the commentaries that have been offered for some of these Hammer discs and this is no exception. It's wonderful to sit back and listen as these two men discuss the various aspects of the story and then the film.
Being the huge fan I am of Hammer films, I doubt you'll ever hear me talk bad of a film, but I always attempt to offer an unbiased view of these films. I think any fan of sci-fi/horror films would find something in this film to enjoy. It's fast paced, eerie, well acted, well written and the direction leaves little to complain about! This film was released the same year as Hammer's, Curse of Frankenstein
, so I feel this film is often overlooked, but one that should be given every opportunity to entertain, because I'd almost guarantee, any classic horror fan will walk away having been entertained after viewing this film.
Movie – A-
Image Quality – A-
Sound – B-
Supplements – A
- Running Time - 1 hour 31 minutes
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono 2.0
- Audio Commentary with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale
- "World of Hammer" episode entitled "Peter Cushing"
- Theatrical Trailer