Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
When Harry wrote about ABOMINABLE at the start of the week, he IM’d me and laughed at me, saying, “Ha, ha, I wrote about it first!” This week, though, it seems like lots of people have been writing about this little-film-that-could, as we were reminded in this e-mail earlier today:
Check out this new link that went up today. The ABC Nightline story is penning Ryan Schifrin as the "future of horror". What an honor! The story airs tomorrow night (Friday) April 21st on ABC.
Some more articles & interviews that have gone up in the past two days
"Abominable" on the big screen starts tomorrow. We'll be at the 9:45pm show with the cast and crew. Hope you can join us. To order tickets , click here!
I had a chance to see the film myself this week, and I thought it was low-key fun. I think it makes a lot of first-time-filmmaker mistakes (Ryan Schifrin never met a close-up he didn’t like, for example), but every time the film strikes a false note, it also manages to do something very right. In the end, I don’t want to act like a Grinch when we’re talking about a Bigfoot movie, and I’m willing to bet this is a great movie to see with a group of friends. I saw it alone, and this one almost demands group participation. But enough about my reaction... here’s the one and only Vern, who will be back a little later this morning with another review, as well:
Ladies and gentlemen of the internet,
The other day Harry recommended this tiny little bigfoot movie called ABOMINABLE, directed by the son of legendary film composer Lalo Schifrin. Alot of people probaly thought Harry was full of shit since they've never heard of this movie and it's not playing anywhere except one screen of one theater in Seattle and, according to legend, at Harry's house. I mean if such a movie really exists, how the hell has it gone on so long without once being spotted by a credible witness? Why is it always some crazy redhead in a Tigger costume from Texas?
Well I don't know if this helps, but I saw ABOMINABLE too. I swear it. It was playing in Seattle, not sure if it's continuing into the next week but it will be playing in L.A. next. I guess we got it here in Seattle because the Pacific Northwest is the natural habitat of the North American sasquatch. If you've lived in the Northwest before you know how it is. Everybody knows somebody that that knows somebody that says they knew sasquatch. Everybody says they have some aunt who was in a car pool with him or who remembers a guy in a cast asking for help at Lake Washington or something. Actually come to think of it I might be confusing sasquatch with Ted Bundy. But the point is, we get ABOMINABLE first for some reason.
Of course, the title does bring up an obvious question. Why would you come into Bigfoot Territory to show a movie about an Abominable Snowman? You think we don't got local pride? And more to the point, is the movie about an abominable snowman or is it about a bigfoot? We are clearly dealing with a brownish woodland creature, like a sasquatch. "The Abominable Snowman" or Yeti is a type of dude, possibly with white fur to camouflage him in the snow, who hangs out in the mountains in Tibet or on the Matterhorn in Disneyland or somewhere. So it seems like a pretty big scientific error on the part of the movie to be calling this guy abominable. But then a bigfoot expert on TV says that "The Flatwoods Monster" could not be a bigfoot because it's bigger and more vicious, more like a Yeti. And sure enough, when we start to get good looks at the monster's face later in the movie it clearly has the face of a Yeti.
Now this issue is not addressed in the movie at all but I would like to raise the possibility that perhaps this particular wood dwelling individual is of a mixed heritage. I mean obviously immigration is a pretty big topic here in the US right now, it is worth considering that a Yeti could come to our big beautiful melting pot and settle down with a nice sasquatch in some woods somewhere. And they could make some babies and maybe one of them would be kind of a dick who keeps going to the cabins and kidnapping girls or biting a dude's head off or something. Because he wasn't raised right. But regardless of that, he happens to have brown fur and a Yeti face and live in some woods in the US somewhere, not in the mountains of Asia. I think this is a possibility.
And it's going to become more and more common, in my opinion. Alot of these Yetis, they're gonna start noticing the way global warming is affecting their homes and they're gonna want to do something about it. And maybe some of them will go to the Shaolin temple or whatever temple is on their mountain, and they're gonna train and then they're gonna go find deadly ground in the countries where the pollution is happening, some oil refinery or smoggy factory somewhere, and they're gonna show 'em some Himalayan justice. And then afterwards some of them will probaly try to assimilate into human society while others will do what the ABOMINABLE monster's parents did, they will meet somebody in the woods. I guess it could've been a Vietnam War or Screamin' Jay Hawkins kind of thing, this Yeti got some poor sasquatch chick pregnant and took off, and the lack of a father figure is what screwed this guy up so bad that he uses the cabins as his own personal cookie jar.
So even the title alone gives you alot to think about. I also gotta point out that it takes balls to call a movie, especially a low budget movie like this, ABOMINABLE. Hack critics are, by definition, lazy unimaginative dickheads, and they love a movie that has the review written right there in the title. That's why you don't see movies with titles like HORRIBLE or THE UNWATCHABLE or A PIECE OF SHIT. It's asking for it. But this guy said fuck it, I'm calling my movie ABOMINABLE. What? Come get me, Gene Shalit, you mustachioed motherfucker. I fucking dare you.
By the way ABOMINABLE is the story of a guy returning to his cabin home for the first time 6 months after a mountain climbing accident killed his wife and paralyzed him. His asshole male nurse carries him up the stairs because the joint is not wheelchair accessible. So he's basically stuck in this place.
A couple things have changed since he's been gone. Number one, whoever used to rent the place next door has given it to 5 young girls hanging out together before one of them gets married. Number two, a sasquatch or yeti type of dude has moved into a nearby cave. This is 2006, obviously there is not a problem with a sasquatch living in the neighborhood. I got nothing against sasquatches and yetis. But this particular one is a real asshole. He likes to reach into windows and grab people, bite their throats or tear their guts or that type of shit. Things that good neighbors just don't do. It really doesn't matter that he's a yeti or sasquatch, if he was a human I don't think any of us would condone this type of behavior either.
So the story unfolds in a REAR WINDOW type manner with this guy played by Matt McCoy (LITTLE BIGFOOT) helplessly watching from the deck as one girl gets snatched, then trying to contact the neighbors and the police despite phone troubles, an uncooperative nurse and the girls thinking he's a pervert.
I enjoyed this movie on exactly the level you want to enjoy a bigfoot movie on. If you're expecting me to say this somehow transcends the genre, like it's the ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST of bigfoot pictures, well okay, I'll say it. But I won't mean it. If you are not the type of person who enjoys watching a dude in a monster suit grab people, you should probaly go do something else. But if that's your bag then I am here to tell you that this is worth your time. It doesn't deserve to be exiled to the Sci-Fi Channel where it will never be watched again. Believe me, I've tried to watch some of these straight to video sasquatch pictures, but I haven't been able to get even halfway through them, they're boring as shit. This is different.
It's also not a hipster movie at all. Except for one unfortunate part where a character says "Eat this, ass monkey!" like he's supposed to be Ash or somebody, there's none of those telltale signs of the young movie buff trying to make a cult movie. Other than that little part it seems very straight forward and sincere. Also, the monster makes me laugh but in a very old fashioned way. They don't give him some kind of demonic face to try to make him look more vicious, he just looks like those old drawings of the Yetis. I liked the monster alot more than I expected to.
Somebody asked me if the monster was all CGI, and I said I don't know if there's any CGI in this movie at all. I didn't even think about it while I was watching it, but that's one example of how traditional this is. It's a dude in a suit with a big goofy yeti face. If it wasn't for the cell phones and the modern fonts on the credits, it could pass for a little known gem from the late '80s or so.
And one major bonus is that writer/director Ryan Schifrin got his dad to do the score. That's a good idea when your dad is the guy who did the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE theme. And BULLIT. And DIRTY HARRY. And most importantly if you ask me, ENTER THE DRAGON. That's a fuckin theme song right there. ABOMINABLE's not as funky but it's real good and it definitely sounds like Lalo. And that goes a long way toward turning this thing into a Real Movie. If it had some shitty Full Moon Video type keyboard score it might not pass as easily for a legitimate movie. This definitely adds a big dose of class to the proceedings.
Although it is what's popular right now, there is not a scene where the monster ties somebody up and tortures them, and there are no references to American Idol. This is a traditional monster movie where at first you don't see anything, you just hear it or maybe you see a glimpse of it running by or you see the victims from the monster's point of view. And then as the story continues you get a look at his glowing red eyes, and then later you see him standing there and eventually you see him very clearly and it's a good old fashioned goofy looking monster dude. One complaint, it could've been bigger. At one point I think they say he's 12 feet tall, but most of the time he looks closer to 7.
But just because he's not 12' doesn't mean it's not a movie the people should see. What's the deal with the "release" of this movie? I guess since it's low budget and it's about a yetisquatch and it has no stars in it, they figure nobody wants to see it. The biggest stars are Lance (SASQUATCH) Henriksen, who has a great little guest appearance in the middle and a hilarious scream when he dies, Jeffrey (hard to believe this is his first sasquatch movie) Combs who's in one more scene than Lance (and I almost didn't recognize him), and Dee Wallace Stone who's in one very short scene. Also the sheriff is Paul Gleason, aka Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson from DIE HARD. But most of the movie rests on Matt McCoy (some guy who looks a little like Norman Bates) and to a lesser extent on one of the young neighbor girls, Haley Joel (no relation). McCoy especially does a great job, he is actually pretty believable. That's important because amateur acting in the lead could've killed a movie like this.
It's not surprising that this type of movie doesn't make it in today's theatrical marketplace, but it's too bad. There used to be a day when all kinds of movies like this could be seen at drive-in double features and what not. It's not gonna change anybody's life, but neither is SOUL SURVIVORS and that was released in real theaters. You get so much more value out of this than a large percentage of the studio horror crap that costs so much more money and is so much more widely seen but does not have a part where a yeti is running around with an ax in his back.
Making it even sadder, they apparently didn't even make a print of this movie, because it's showing on one of those godforsaken digital projectors. The idea behind these horrible things is that even though they ruin movies by looking all muddy and randomly exploding the image into horizontal lines, and even though they make baby jesus cry, they are the future because they will make it more affordable for low budget movies like this to be distributed. Well, if it was playing in more than one theater that might seem like a better argument. These guys like Mark Cuban and whoever the other billionaire computer visionaries are, if they really believe the hype they need to fucking prove it. First they gotta live up to their promise by releasing alot more small movies and releasing them wider. And secondly they have to fulfill their duty, as the assholes who are pushing this bullshit on the world, to improve the technology so it doesn't look so shitty. Five or six years ago people were saying digital projection looked WAY BETTER than film, and they wondered why it wasn't catching on faster. Now it's only slightly caught on because whenever they show it, people notice that it doesn't look that hot. It's like they started selling airplanes before they figure out how to make them fly.
Anyway, digital or not, some studio should call this MURDERBALL 2 and put it in a wider release. This time, things get hairy. I think it could work. And I really want to see some sequels.
Anyway, I don't mean to hype it up too much, because it's not THE GODFATHER or THEY LIVE we're talking here. But I did think it was a fun movie so I want to throw my tremendous credibility and stature as a "noted internet film critic" (source: wikipedia) behind Harry's endorsement of this picture. For those of us who enjoy this sort of crap, it lives up to the opposite of the title.