Winter is upon us. Gone are the halcyon days of summer. Gone are the robust, crisp bountiful days of fall. Now is the time of year that I shelve my childish concerns about coming face to face with Bigfoot and start spending my time fretting about something real. Of course, I speak of the dreaded Yeti!!!
Bigfoot, as smelly and giant sized as he may be, is a walk in Yosemite National Park when compared with his frosty albino cousin. The Bigfoot I know, and secretly love, is a wilting violet for the most part. He slinks through the forest and wants nothing more than to be left alone with his thought(s). Much like the senselessly demonized great white shark, he only gets violent when modern man gets all up in his grill. Yeti, on the other hand, has no reservations about screaming and howling in your face like he’s auditioning for an APHEX TWIN video. Yeti is looking for trouble.
Yeti, a.k.a The Abominable Snowman, has had several films made depicting his fascinating lifestyle. Unfortunately, as is the case with the Bigfoot canon, most Yeti films tend to disappoint his ravenous fan base. (I would count SNOWBEAST among his few successes just as NIGHT OF THE DEMON is Bigfoot’s ultimate ode). SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED, which basically shares the exact same plot as NIGHT OF THE DEMON (a teacher takes his students to an isolated place to investigate a monster who picks them all off one by one), gives us zero new information about the mysterious creature, unless you count the assertion that the beast wears tennis shoes.
The biggest problem (out of literally a zillion) with SHRIEK is that our pal Yeti doesn’t look so hot. He’s not scary period. This particular incarnation of the monster has been described as looking like everything from a department store Santa wearing a fur coat to a high school sports mascot gone berserk. I myself can only think of a large-scale version of HONK the fuzzy alien from THE FAR OUT SPACE NUTS. (Side note about HONK: HONK was portrayed brilliantly by PATTY MALONEY who was also little Lumpy in THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL and Twiki’s girlfriend Tina on BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY– take that LINDA HUNT!)
As dopey as the sometimes-frolicking monster is, he’s partially camouflaged by the fact that everything and everybody else in the movie is pretty cruddy too. There’s really not one moment of normal human behavior to be found anywhere. Suffice to say, I love, love, love, SHREIK OF THE MUTILATED. Directed by MICHAEL FINDLAY who was responsible for the crap-fest SNUFF, and written by the genius that penned INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS, SHREIK offers something much more valuable than quality, it’s actually fun to watch. If you enjoy early JOHN WATERS or any HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS then this is absolutely your bag and a must see. Unfortunately, in real life director FINDLAY had one of those dreaded freak decapitation by helicopter blade things happen to him so we’ll never know what other hilarious trash he had in his noggin’.
*One sad thing I have to report is that although a current DVD does have all of SHRIEK‘s blood and gore finally at our disposal, due to freakin’ lame copyright crap that ruins everything, the song “Popcorn” which garnished the film’s original version is M.I.A. You might not think that it would make a difference but it does, “Popcorn” has no substitute!!!!
There’s actually a nifty moog CD that features that song. My friend played it once and when I heard it I said “Why are you playing the soundtrack to Shriek of the Mutliated?” I had NO idea it was an actual hit song!
This movie is an endurance test for me. I enjoy it in bits but have a hard time watching the whole thing in one go. Plus, I don’t remember exactly, but I think the ending is a bit of a cheat, isn’t it?