The Snow Creature (1954) – By Matt Singer

If you were making a movie entitled The Snow Creature you’d probably want to shoot a lot of footage of the Creature that you could use throughout your picture in a variety of scenes. Director W. Lee Wilder (Billy’s brother) took the opposite approach and decided to use a single shot of his Creature for nearly every one of the monster’s appearances, regardless of its location or motivation.

The full, uncut shot (which I only caught once) features the “Yeti,” a big guy in a fuzzy outfit that resembles wall insulation, stepping out of total darkness and advancing slowly towards the camera while still mostly cloaked in shadows. Ever the thrifty filmmaker, Wilder deploys freeze frames and even reverses the footage to use this single shot in dozens of ways. If the Creature is spying on someone, he walks out of the darkness and freezes (literally, the film visibly stops). If he is being chased by police, he starts from the paused position, then the film is played in reverse as he steps backwards into the shadows to suggest he is retreating. Unless you’re the Memento guy, these are not hard to spot.

This poor Creature is captured by Dr. Frank Parrish, a botanist who is trying to study plant life in the Himalayas. Regrettably, one of his sherpa’s women is abducted by what they believe is a yeti or abominable snow creature. The sherpas force Parrish to help them search for it against his will, but when they find and disable it, he is able to grab a gun and force them to help him carry the creature back to civilization. There, the Creature escapes its refrigerator like “cell” and makes for the sewers and some low-level carnage.

In general The Snow Creature is a very unskilled piece of moviemaking, and if you enjoy laughing at B-movie blunders, you’ll find plenty to chuckle at. The film opens with Parrish, in voiceover describing his journey to the Himalayas. “The first days were uneventful, monotonous, tedious,” he says as we watch some very uneventful, monotonous, and tedious stock footage. He adds, “The first leg of the expedition took me to Bombay, India.” Unfortunately the filmmaker’s couldn’t find any stock footage of Bombay, so they used Egyptian footage instead, so a plane flies over the Sphinx right as Parrish says “India.” Okay so you didn’t have any shots of India; couldn’t you have picked something that was a little less obviously not India?

The Creature is not convincing and, as a result, never seen clearly, particularly in that shot Wilder used over and over again (Drinking game fans, take note). The Snow Creature is a lot like that one shot: repetitive, underwhelming, and unsatisfying.