The Snow Devils

Starting with 1954's The Snow Creature, sci-fi/horror cinema presided over a courtship with the Yeti.  These icebound behemoths haven't been as prolific as their rustic, far-flung cousins on the silver screen (of course, I'm alluding to creatures of the Boggy Creek variety), but the ratio of gold to shit is the same, give or take.  For my money, you won't find a leaner Sasquatch picture than Hammer's The Abominable Snowman from 1957.  It was the last monster movie they cranked out before switching to color and petrifying audiences with baroque, yet kaleidoscopic Universal retreads.  Damn my luck.  I decided to review a different Yeti flick, the fourth (or first, depending on your sources) in a non-Yeti series directed by Anthony Margheriti.  Let me explain.

Margheriti - operating under the agnomen of Anthony Dawson - helmed a succession of science fiction potboilers called the Gamma-One Quadrilogy.  The other three productions all have a miscellany of alternate titles.  American film buffs know them as The War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Wild, Wild Planet.  Say you want to watch the whole "franchise," so to speak.  Go ahead.  Say it.  Which order should you watch them in?  From what I gather, each installment had disparate release dates in disparate countries.  The movies themselves don't offer many clues, as the storylines rarely intermingle.  To make matters more abstruse, evidence seems to indicate that all four chapters of the Gamma-One saga were mass-produced in 1964.  In theory, you could start anywhere without dawdling behind your throng.  Or something to that effect.

I picked The Snow Devils for a fascicle of personal reasons.  It sounded cool.  And hey, I dig Yeti reels.  There was a chance that I would get to see a host of miserable actors scuttling to and fro in furry suits.  How could I pass up such a roseate opportunity?  It saddens me to report that this is just a tawdry budget piece that can't live up to its poster.  My greatest fear was that the titular critters wouldn't amount to much, and that fear was realized.  Technically, they aren't abominable snowmen; they are alabaster aliens with bleached body hair.  Their plan for world domination?  To melt the polar caps and flood the globe's major cities.  Actually, that's a decent plan, and I'm curious as to whether or not the script was attempting to comment on the defeasance of our ozone.  Nah!

The Snow Devils is a shameless, unabashed product of the 60's.  The score is snappy (I broke out in intermittent intervals of go-go dancing...it was an involuntary reaction, I swear), and there is a prosperity of bikini-clad girlies.  The first 30 minutes are innocent fun.  However, that's where the fun ends.  The stakes are never very high, and the main characters never lose their cool.  Obstacles are subverted without breaking a sweat.  Hell, the snow devils are outwitted within ten minutes...in the second act.  If the protagonists aren't particularly worried about their predicament, why should I give a fuck?  I did enjoy the ragged, moribund special effects, but there are superior films with the same schlocky charm.

Apparently, the rest of the Gamma-One Quadrilogy is easier to digest.  That may be true, but I was born a ramblin' man.  I've got tapes to collect and blood capsules to squish.

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