Retro-review: New on Special Edition BluRay/DVD from MVD Visual; help me out and pick it up on BluRay here on Amazon!
Directed by Ryan Schifrin
Written by Ryan Schifrin & James Morrison
Starring Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Christien Tinsley, Karin Anna Cheung, Jeffrey Combs, Natalie Compagno, Paul Gleason, Lance Henriksen, Tiffany Shepis, Michael Deak as the Abominable!
I had heard good things about Ryan Schifrin’s ABOMINABLE. The director/screenwriter/comic book writer wrote THE DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE and elaborated on the characters in a short last year called NO REST FOR THE WICKED, so he was a writer I was familiar with. Though most of the stuff you’d see on a Saturday afternoon on SyFy I wouldn’t wish on my least favorite uncle, ABOMINABLE proved that every now and then, those types of films can work.
Schifrin incorporates a few elements that elevate this film above the level of most Bigfoot films. Shades of REAR WINDOW come through as Matt McCoy, who replaced the Guttenberg when he left the POLICE ACADEMY movies, plays a writer in a secluded cabin in the woods. Because of an earlier accident, he is confined to a wheelchair and resorts to watching the world happen around him through a pair of binoculars. When he starts seeing a hairy beast roaming the woods around his cabin, he tries to convince folks he’s not crazy, but of course, they don’t believe him and finally think the crippled kook has lost his marbles.
Enter a quintet of buxom babes renting out the cabin next door, and Schifrin plays up the creepy voyeur vibe a lot with the women skeeved out when they see him toting around binoculars. And with Tiffany Shepis being one of the babes, I don’t blame McCoy for getting a little peepy tommy. This sets up some nice scenes filled with tension as McCoy serves as the audience, shouting out when he sees the creature looming in for the kill and can do nothing about it from his wheelchair. Schifrin does this just enough times to make it believable. One more scene of McCoy screaming with binocs up to his face would have teetered into parody, but it stops shy of that.
Schifrin has assembled a nice cast of genre greats. Jeffrey Combs and Lance Henricksen appear for a memorable scene in the woods facing off against the beast. Dee Wallace makes an appearance as a frantic Dee Wallace. And THE BREAKFAST CLUB’s Principal Vernon himself, Paul Gleason, plays a sheriff who doesn’t believe in Bigfoot with a level of arrogance and swagger the late great character actor did so well.
The best thing about this film is the monster itself. This full body suit and articulated head makeup/costume is fantastic. Bigfoot’s mouth extends like a serpent’s and is filled with crooked dirty teeth. Even the eyes are set further apart, giving it an otherworldly look, though I couldn’t help but think of Big Enos Pat McCormick from SMOKEY & THE BANDIT fame every time I saw the beast. The film stands out as one of the best looking practical effects Bigfoots I’ve ever seen.
There’s a lot to like with ABOMINABLE. It’s got lots of gore, as Bigfoot likes to tear out peoples’ throats with his teeth and swallow heads whole. There’s Tiffany Shepis in a shower scene, of course, and a sophisticated take on the Bigfoot story that harkens back to a Hitchcockian classic. With all this going for it, ABOMINABLE is anything but.
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