Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Abominable Snowman (1957)

"Perhaps we're the savages!"

So, an early Hammer film based on Nigel Kneale's lost TV drama The Creature: bound to be good, right? Well, actually no. It's a shame this film is the only version that exists because there are times you can almost see through to Kneale's original, intelligent vision. Alas, The Creature was never recorded and not even Philip Morris can find it now.

Peter Cushing is good. That hardly needs to be said. But the film is... dull. It can't quite commit to Kneale's pessimism about the human condition (apparently the yeti, with their wise faces, are superior hominids waiting for us to cop it in a nuclear holocaust, which is nice) but it doesn't really have the thrills and scares to cut it as the more lowbrow fare it's being pitched as: the amount of screen time the yeti has is shocking.

It's interesting to see Tibet being portrayed in a film dated before the invasion of communist China in 1959 , however vaguely racist this portrayal may be. It's interesting to see a Hammer horror (although said institution was just evolving in 1957) in monochrome. It's interesting to see a clear influence on a Doctor Who story set in a similar environment but without a Great Intelligence. But this film ain't half full. Eminently missable.

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