The Abominable Snowman is a 1957 British horror film directed by Val Guest for Hammer Film Productions. It is based on a 1955 BBC television play, The Creature, written by Nigel Kneale (The Quatermass Xperiment and sequels), who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for the film.
The movie stars Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, Maureen Connell, Richard Wattis, Robert Brown.
Doctor John Rollason (Peter Cushing), his wife, Helen (Maureen Connell), and assistant, Peter Fox (Richard Wattis), are guests of the Lama (Arnold Marlé) of the monastery of Rong-buk while on a botanical expedition to the Himalayas.
A second expedition, led by Doctor Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker) arrives at the monastery in search of the legendary Yeti or Abominable Snowman.
Despite the objections of his wife and the Lama, Rollason decides to join Friend’s expedition. Whereas Rollason is motivated by scientific curiosity to learn more about the creature, Friend seeks fame and fortune and wants to capture a live Yeti and present it to the world’s press…
“For once an engaging monster is neither bombed, roasted nor electrocuted. For this welcome courtesy, as well as its thrills and its nonsense I salute The Abominable Snowman.” The Sunday Times, 1957
“an intelligent but commonplace adventure thriller with the Yeti little more than background figures… a little too ponderous and hence unexciting” Bill Warren, Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties. Volume I: 1950–1957
“A gripping essay in the macabre, tensely directed by Val Guest and spoiled only by some very obvious studio mountains: Hammer at its most subtle.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
” …the film conveys a taut, paranoid atmosphere; set largely in wide-open spaces, it’s remarkably claustrophobic in scale.” Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story. The Authorised History of Hammer Films
“The story’s modest albeit effective narrative conflicts transferred well from the small to larger screen. Kneale and Guest intelligently kept the focus of the filmic adaptation not on the special effects the larger budget allowed, but on creating a chilling atmosphere and foreboding sense of dread.” David Coleman, The Bigfoot Filmography
” … combined with excellent performances and convincing production design, easily make it the best of a quartet of films about the Yeti produced in the Fifties (the inferior others are The Snow Creature, Man Beast and Half Human).” Gary A. Smith, Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976
“A thin horror film with intelligent scripting: more philosophising and characterisation than suspense. The briefly glimpsed Yeti are disappointing creations.” Leslie Halliwell, Halliwell’s Film Guide
“Time has been kind to the Abominable Snowman; whatever the individual contributions of Kneale and Guest, the collaboration resulted in an intelligent, atmospheric adventure that looks increasingly like one of Hammer’s finest productions. As for the Yeti, people are still looking.” Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems by Julian Upton (editor), Headpress, UK, 2011
Scream Factory released The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas on Blu-ray on December 10th 2019. Special features:
Audio commentary with film historian Ted Newsom (new)
Audio commentary with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale
Interview with author/film historian Jonathan Rigby (new)
Trailers from Hell with commentary by filmmaker Joe Dante
World of Hammer: Peter Cushing
US: Anchor Bay released a widescreen anamorphic DVD in 2000.
UK: Icon Home Entertainment DVD in a 16×9 2.35:1 widescreen transfer from the original Regalscope, renamed “Hammerscope” by the company.
Rollason: “It isn’t what’s out there that’s dangerous, so much as what’s in us.”
Cast and characters:
Forrest Tucker … Tom Friend
Peter Cushing … Doctor Rollason
Maureen Connell … Helen Rollason
Richard Wattis … Peter Fox
Robert Brown … Ed. Shelley
Michael Brill … McNee
Wolfe Morris … Kusang
Arnold Marlé … Lhama (as Arnold Marle)
Anthony Chinn … Majordomo (as Anthony Chin)
Jack Easton … Yeti (uncredited)
Fred Johnson … Yeti (uncredited)
Joe Powell … Yeti (uncredited)
John Rae … Yeti-eyes (uncredited)
Audio: Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1