Holy shit, it’s cold! M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here. Let’s continue the countdown fun with the Best Snow-Covered horror films for the chilly month of January. To be fair, I’m going to forgo repeating myself with Holiday horror films since we covered that last month.
The frigid air, the crunch of snow underfoot, and the contrast between red blood and pure white snow makes Snow-covered horror films one of my favorite sub-subgenre’s of horror. I’m going to count down the films that made me feel the chilliest while watching. As far as how I compiled this list? Well, there’s no real method to my special brand of madness. I’ll be counting down every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through January to my favorite snow-covered horror film of the year. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, overlooked, or simply haven’t seen yet, but that’s what the comments section below is all about.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own damn list…let’s go!
#14 – THE LAST WINTER – #14
Why is THE LAST WINTER #14? And why is there a #14 in a top 13 Countdown? Well, it’s because Larry Fessenden is awesome, that’s the long and short of it. I had 14, not the usual 13, picks for the best of the best in snow-covered horror, so sue me. Fessenden brings a fun ensemble cast, the bitter cold environment, and some frantic editing to immerse the viewer into the stark, dismal, and bitter cold. It’s a truly chilling and claustrophobic horror tale. You can find it here on DVD/BluRay!
THE LAST WINTER (2006)
Directed by Larry Fessenden
Written by Larry Fessenden
Starring Ron Perlman, James Le Gros, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Kevin Corrigan, Jamie Harrold, Pato Hoffmann, Joanne Shenandoah, Larry Fessenden, Oscar Miller, Hálfdán Theodórsson, Jack Fessenden, Halfdan Pedersen
I don’t mind a little social commentary in films as long as it has enough of a metaphor to not sound too preachy. THE LAST WINTER is definitely a film about climate change/global warming/global cooling/whatever they are calling it these days, but at least it delivers some solidly constructed scares and fun performances along with it.
A small crew of working class men and women are manning an outpost in the Northern Arctic, developing a new road for truckers to haul resources across the harsh terrain, but when environmentalist James Hoffman (James Le Gros) arrives, he realizes that the shift in temperatures has caused unnatural phenomenon to occur. Are the hallucinations and odd behavior of the crew, lead by manly man Ed Pollack (Ron Perlman), the result of ancient toxic gasses that are melting and seeping to the surface or is something more paranormal going on?
Fessenden takes a page from John Carpenter and fills this film where a group of people are stuck in the arctic with plenty of fantastic actors. Not only do Perlman and Le Gros great here as two sides of the same coin in terms of the argument about how the work they do affect the environment, but they also are fantastic fighting over the hand of sole hottie at the base Connie Britton. Add Kevin Corrigan as a cocky mechanic named Motor, Jamie Harrold as a neurotic scientist, Zach Gilford as a gung ho worker under the influence of outside forces, and Fessenden himself making an appearance, and you’ve got a really fantastic cast to see bounce off of one another in the snow. Lots of arguments and drama unfold and all of these actors carry it marvelously.
But as with Fessenden’s film WENDIGO, this film uses the supernatural in a much more metaphoric manner. In WENDIGO, ancient spirits were about the inner monster that resides in all of us and only comes out when cornered or threatened. In THE LAST WINTER, the ancient spirits signify the land itself which is lashing out against the crew for the destructive decisions they threaten to make. While those wanting a straight forward monster film are going to come up wanting, Fessenden makes these ambiguous forces convincingly scary as his camera soaks in the vast nothingness of the snow covered glaciers.
As with much of Fessenden’s films, his editing is frantic and is as much of a character as anything else. I could see where some might feel it’s a bit too much, but with the dulcet and serene surroundings of the arctic, some punchy editing was welcome. No, this isn’t as exciting as THE THING, but it’s got a phenomenal cast and soaks in the spooky atmosphere and smashes it into your face. THE LAST WINTER is a psychological and environmental nightmare and one of Fessenden’s most thematically and structurally successful films.
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THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#14 – THE LAST WINTER
M.L. Miller goes by many names—Ambush Bug, Mark L. Miller, hey you jerk over there! He’s an original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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