Before Peter Cushing had his career with Hammer permanently entwined with Van Helsing and Frankenstein, there was The Abominable Snowman. Peter Cushing plays Dr John Rollason, a guest at the Rong-ruk monastery, along with his wife and his assistant. When a second expedition arrives at the monastery, led by the steel jaw American that is Forrest Tucker, Cushing’s Rollason gets caught up in their mission to track down the eponymous mythical creature.
There is much to enjoy in this romp in the mountains. Whether it be Cushing’s quaint Britishness clashing with the might of Tucker’s yank, the claustrophobic nature of the cave where our heroes find themselves trapped, or the impossibly long fingers ripping their way through the tent of a distressed mountaineer. It whips along at such a pace, it’s impossible not to get caught up in it all. Despite the suggestion otherwise, The Abominable Snowman isn’t really about the monster at all. It’s about human nature and interaction. It’s the classic ‘Who’s the real monster?’ affair. And it’s great to see Maureen Connell going all Lara Croft as she puts together her expedition to track down her missing husband.
There’s something cozy about films like this. Something akin to being wrapped in a cotton blanket with a large brandy and telling ghost stories by the fire. It’s comforting. For the entirety of its short running time, you’re genuinely transported to a different time and place and left. Left to soak it all up before your attention is caught by the latest PG-13 ‘horror’ advertised on YouTube. These films are the reason why Hammer was and is so popular. We just hope this isn’t all forgotten when production starts on the remake.