Snowbeast (American, 1977): Fuzzy terror on the slopes!

Has anyone seen a Snowbeast around here?

Has anyone seen a Snowbeast around here?

This 1977 made-for-television film owes much to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws – it’s basically the same movie, transplanted to a Colorado ski resort. All the key elements you’d expect are present: mysterious (and somewhat bloody for television) deaths, an otherwise credible eyewitness that no one believes, and dubious townsfolk who seem more concerned about the possible financial impact of the killings than they are about finding the cause of the deaths. Still, Snowbeast manages to develop into an enjoyable film: the script is well-written, the acting is above average, and the cinematography is quite good overall. The filmmakers wisely avoid showing us too much of the eponymous Snowbeast, but I wasn’t distracted by any obviously evasive camerawork. There’s also a heartwarming (though not unexpected) subplot resolved at the end of the film, when the resident has-been sports hero regains his self-confidence and reunites with his estranged wife.

Memorable visuals: If I weren’t the thoughtful, mature reviewer everyone knows me to be, I’d say “Yvette Mimieux in a snug, blue snowsuit,” and leave it at that. Though I’m sure the filmmakers saw the lovely Ms. Mimieux as an audience draw (what we might refer to as “fan service” today), her character is handled thoughtfully for the most part. She plays a much more meaningful role in this film than the average female character in the genre.

The film has an abundance (some might say an over-abundance) of well-shot footage showing various characters skiing and snowmobiling across beautiful wintry landscapes. The scene where we see the Snowbeast’s face for the first time (about half way through the film) is one to remember, too.

Sci-fi cred: Very little. My DVD copy of Snowbeast presents it as a sci-fi film, but it’s much more of a thriller in the “man-eating monster” vein – or an extended re-enactment vignette from an episode of Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of…

Is it worth 39¢: Sure. I’d watch this one again of my own free will.

Find it here: Snowbeast is in the public domain. I found it on one of  Mill Creek Entertainment’s 50-movie sets – a great value for your entertainment dollar!

Or watch it here on YouTube.

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