May 29th, 2013: Shriek of the Mutilated

 Shriek of the Mutilated

What It’s About: Dr. Prell (Alan Brock) recruits a team of graduate students to travel to attempt to capture a Yeti (on an island in the northeastern part of North America, most likely upstate New York).  Prell’s previous expedition seven years earlier resulted in the death of the entire team except for one survivor (Tom Grail), who is now an alcoholic and who warns the prospective students not to go (apparently tenure covers the easily preventable deaths of graduate students).  Predictably, no one listens, and soon they are off to capture the Yeti…

Why Watch it Today?: Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest today in 1953.  Hillary’s claims of seeing giant footprints which might belong to the local legendary creature, the Yeti, set off a minor Yeti craze in the 1950s and lead to a series of expeditions to find the creatures.  Hillary’s own expedition failed to find definitive proof of the Yeti in 1960.  Today’s film was not in the first wave of films inspired by the 1950s Yeti expeditions (which include the positively dreadful 1954 quicky The Snow Creature from W. Lee Wilder (Billy Wilder’s less talented younger brother) and Hammer Studios’ 1957The Abominable Snowman), but instead sought to make a cheap buck off of 1970s enthusiasm for Cryptids of all types by marrying a Yeti movie with the grindhouse gore (which was cut out of every print of it I’ve seen) you’ve come to expect from the dynamic duo of Michael and Robeta Findlay.  The result is a delightful slice of so-bad-it’s-good entertainment with some twist and turns almost worthy of a Scooby-Doo episode, delightful lapses of logic and basic science, horrific mid decade fashions and Dr. Prell, who is sort of what John Carpenter would be if he decided that he needed more ascots in his life.  While I know of only one good Yeti movie (the aforementioned Hammer film), Shriek of the Mutilated is one of the most deliciously campy (with the only other contender to that title being last year’s Yeti:  Giant of the 20th Century ).  Thank you Sir Hillary.

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