“There is no Yeti.”
While Hammer is known primarily for their classic Universal Monster adaptations and their later “blood and bosom” horror, every once in awhile they would release a film that was completely different. Much like Scream of Fear, 1957’s The Abominable Snowman took horror in a completely different and unexpected direction. To be quite honest it is a refreshing break from the standard Hammer films that we all know and love.
In the film, Peter Cushing stars as Dr. John Rollason, a botanist doing a study with his wife, Helen (Maureen Connell), and his friend and colleague, Peter Fox (Richard Wattis). They are studying in the Himalayas as guests of a local monastery headed up by a friendly Lama (Arnold Marle). Another group arrives that is in search of the legendary Yeti. Rollason agrees to go with the small expedition made up of Dr. Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker), Ed Shelley (Robert Brown), Andrew McNee (Michael Brill), and their guide, Kusang (Wolfe Morris), despite the protestations of Helen, Peter, and the Lama. As the group ascends the mountain they face off against another expedition of locals trying to stop them from reaching their destination. They manage to set up camp and things go south quickly. McNee is injured and there’s a visit from an unexpected creature. Then the members of the party begin to experience paranoia and hear strange sounds. Ultimately the viewer has to decide what is real and what is only a figment of the group’s imaginations. Will the expedition succeed in finding the elusive Yeti or will they all suffer a brutal fate? Watch The Abominable Snowman to find out!
The film is very different from other Hammer films. There’s no gore, very little violence, and almost all of the horror comes as a result of the internal struggles of the expedition. This is a very character driven film and it relies on the performances of Cushing, Tucker, and the rest of the cast to put fear and doubt into the viewer’s heart. We only get brief glimpses of the Yeti creatures and the actual payoff shot of the creature triggers an almost sympathetic emotion instead of terror. It’s done that way intentionally and it works in the film.
This was a very good Hammer production. It allows the actors to flex their chops and while it may not have any jump scares, gore, or an insane amount of violence, it works well for what it is, a film about whether or not man is the true villain. I’m a huge fan of Bigfoot and Yeti films, but almost all of them feature the beast as a man-eating monster. This film points the finger at man, not the beast.
Give The Abominable Snowman a shot. It’s a different type of Hammer film and it’s worth watching. Oh, and I thought long and hard about posting a photo of the creatures from the film, but would much rather you see them for yourself in the movie. Thanks for reading my post. See you tomorrow!