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The Abominable Snowman (1957)
Director: Val Guest

review by Steven Hampton

Another DVD release from Anchor Bay's 'Hammer Collection' that's certainly an uncharacteristic offering from the famous British studio's heyday. A monster hunt set in high Himalayan mountain valleys instead of their favourite locale - a European castle, and very much happening in the present - well, the 1950s - rather than in Hammer's typical costume period gothic mode. However, I must also say that this film's search for the legendary yeti is still recognisably a Hammer production in its tone and approach to the material, as there are a number of decidedly horrific moments in its tightly constructed adventure, based on Nigel Kneale's TV play.
   Peter Cushing plays the scientist challenged and bullied into joining American braggart Forrest Tucker's insanely commercial mission to capture a live specimen of the beast fabled by local people as a secret deity. Tucker's downfall looks assured when his determination to repeat the plot of King Kong is revealed. Even when his climbing colleagues are injured in accidents and blizzard conditions, Tucker's obsession makes him blind to the ethical concerns Cushing tries vainly to impress upon him, not to mention the old myths and mysteries surrounding the greater significance of a possible yeti race.
   Cushing listens intently to a weather forecast even though their radio has been smashed, while Tucker can hear his dead and buried friend calling for help. Are these aural hallucinations caused by acute stresses of the failing expedition and the survivors' terrible guilt over their companions' deaths, or could they actually be induced by telepathic control of the giant 'snowmen' as both lesson in humility and psychic threat to leave the area? The ambiguity here is one of this film's most fascinating elements, bringing a welcome science fictional aspect to an otherwise standard creature feature.
previously published online, VideoVista #20
The Abominable Snowman
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