The Abominable Snowman (1957)

December 24, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’ve blogged about the great Peter Cushing recently in The Beast Must Die (1974) close the end of his film career, but recently went back to check out The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas (1957) an early horror film for Cushing, and yet an underrated classic and a film that actually plays more like a thoughtful mystery.

Sure, there’s a body falling from a height that’s so obviously a dummy it isn’t funny. And sure, we’re talking about some actors climbing around sets and fake snow, but the studio work blends very well with some impressive location work, particularly as it’s all in black and white. Cushing co-stars with Forrest Tucker, and the two actors have roles that contrast quite nicely. Cushing is the utterly thoughtful naturalist and preservationist, and Tucker the showman who just wants to shoot a few and bring them home.  In other words, the two represent the best and worst sides of our nature. Wisely, the film waits, and then waits even longer to show us the face of a Snowman, while Cushing gets lines like this, looking at the body of one of them: “This isn’t the face of a savage thing… there’s gentleness.  Suppose they’re not just a pitiable remnant waiting to die out.  Waiting, yes… but waiting for us to go.”

Wait a sec, a fifties horror flick that suggests some of the low-key biodiversity out there might outlive us, and it’s only our egocentricity that allows us to think we’re more important?  I was impressed.  Sadly, the film is out of print on DVD, and as I’ve moaned before, there’s no Peter Cushing collection to speak of.  But try to track this one down, if you can, because it’s well worth it. I was able to see it through, in Canada.

Watch the flying dummy here.


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