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Retromedia presents
Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature (1954, 1977)

"For over 200 years, there have been reports of giant, man-like creatures roaming the vast mountainous region of the Pacific Northwest and Canada."
- Chuck Evans (George Lauris) from Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 30, 2005

Stars: Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan, Leslie Denson, Teru Shimada, Robert Hinton, George Lauris, Paul Langton
Other Stars: Steve Boergadine, Clint Walker, Sylvia Sidney, Jim Bradford, Ken Kenzle, Joe Morello
Director: Ed Ragozzino, Herb Wallerstein, W. Lee Wilder

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 04h:10m:03s
Release Date: June 14, 2005
UPC: 014381113426
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C+C+B- D-

DVD Review

My personal mission to find the definitive Bigfoot (or do you call him Sasquatch?) horror film continues, and with this Retromedia triple feature of feeble attempts my quest still goes on. If you were a gambler, this collection of Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot, The Snow Creature, and Snow Beast would seem to play the odds that at least one of them would offer something above par, though in the end none do. However, each of the three films have their own quirky and unique elements of attraction that make them contenders in the "nice try" category, so at least the journey had something partially worthwhile.

Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot (1977)
01h:35m:22s
Directed by Ed Ragozzino

For his stab at the genre, Ed Ragozzino adopts the fake documentary approach, a format that seems to fit the obvious low-budget constraints he was under. The first ten minutes or so almost seem authentic as a doc, with some voiceover narration, random headlines, footage from the infamous Patterson film, and pseudo-scientific explanations about the reality of Sasquatch. But then the stock character introductions come for the expedition into "the hidden valleys of Bigfoot" in Northern British Columbia. There's the bumbling cook, the crotchety old-timer, the Indian guide, the cynical photographer, etc., all of whom spend 90 minutes stiffly reciting lines that are meant to sound conversational, but never do. The payoff of a film like this is the creature appearance, and here it's a disappointment, almost a nonentity. Ragozzino instead opts for a couple of shadowy long-shots, including one played over what may be the only Sasquatch ballad I've ever heard.

The Snow Creature(1954)
01h:10m:41s
Directed by W. Lee Wilder

Maybe it's my love of 1950s sci-fi/horror, but W. Lee Wilder (Killers from Space) dishes out the most atmospheric of three films on this disc, a black-and-white journey to the Himalayas for the purposes of a botanical expedition, led by the intrepid Dr. Frank Parrish (Paul Langton). The beastie here is Yeti, aka The Abominable Snowman, so technically this isn't a Sasquatch film at all, and with not so vague similarities to King Kong, a captured "snow creature" ends up back in the States, only to wreak havoc when it escapes into some underground drainage tunnels. Wilder offers up a man in a patchy, matted fur suit as the title creature, spending most of its time in shadow, and in some shots looking a bit like Lon Chaney Jr. from The Wolf Man. The Himalaya sequences feature a lot of time-filling walking, walking, and more walking, but the cheesy backlot mountain set has that old-school low rent charm, and the drain tunnel climax makes some stylish good use of shadow and light.

Snow Beast (1977)
01h:25m:41s
Directed by Herb Wallerstein

Snow Beast had the potential for greatness just based on the B-grade cast (Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Clint Walker, Sylvia Sidney) and that it was written by Joe Stefano—he wrote the Psycho screenplay for Hitchcock. Helmed by diverse television director Herb Wallerstein (I Dream of Jeannie, The Six Million Dollar Man, Quincy), this made-for-TV stab at Sasquatch has the best-looking creature of the three films on this disc—though still very Yeti looking, if you ask me. The story is set at the Rill Ski Lodge in Colorado, where the annual Winter Carnival is about to begin, when a couple of brutal murders seem to indicate something dangerous is lurking in them thar woods. Crusty lodge owner Carrie Rill (Sylvia Sidney) will have none of this talk of canceling the carnival—which includes the coronation of the Snow Queen—despite the protests of her adult grandson Tony (Robert Logan). The Jaws parallels are obvious, but the made-for-TV limitations minimize any potential for gory goodness (with plenty of fade-to-red transitions for commercial breaks), and what's left is a sappy subplot about Svenson and Mimieaux as a couple with marital problems. The beast, though, does get to do a nice attack on the Snow Queen festivities, capped by Sidney's unintentionally hilarious screams of "the crown, the crown."

These are hardly good, but each offer a little something enjoyably odd if you happen to like low-grade B-movies. My search, however, continues.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - n/a
Original Aspect Ratioyesyes
Anamorphicnoyes


Image Transfer Review: Sasquatch The Legend of Bigfoot is presented in a fair nonamorphic 1.85:1 transfer, though the print suffers from that late 1970s color fade. There is quite a bit of grain throughout, with minimal print defects overall. Snow Creature is in 1.33:1, and a disclaimer at the start mentions this print was put together from a couple of different sources. The quality is marginal, but not altogether awful for a 1950s cheapie, with the presence of nicks, sprocket holes and a brief moment of recurring vertical lines. Snow Beast, also presented in fullframe, sports the brightest, cleanest colors (at least compared to Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot), and image quality and detail is consistently solid. No major print flaws here, and of the three, this one looks the best.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: All three films have been issued in mono, and dialogue is clear for each. No significant hiss issues (there is some during Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot), and the presentation is minimal, but sufficient.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 29 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras on this two-sided disc, with Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot (11 chapters) on one side, Snow Creature and Snow Beast (both with nine chapters each) on the flipside.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Retromedia defies the odds and has difficulty coming up with one great Sasquatch title on this triple bill. The 1954 Snow Creature, though technically a Yeti film, ends up being the best of the lot, a typically hackneyed but nostalgic piece of '50s horror more memorable for the funny dialogue than anything else.

 


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