WENDIGO aka FROSTBITER: WRATH OF THE WENDIGO (1995 release) Reviews and overview

  

‘Hell has frozen over!!’

Wendigo is an American supernatural comedy horror film. It was shot in 1988 but remained unreleased until it was picked up by Troma Entertainment and issued on VHS with the sleeve re-title Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo

Written, directed, photographed and co-edited by Tom Chaney – cinematographer on Mosquito and Legion of the Night aka Dead City (both 1995).

The movie stars Ron Asheton (guitarist with rock band The Stooges, also in The Carrier; Hellmaster and Mosquito), Lori Baker, Devlin Burton, John Bussard, Patrick Butler and Alan Madlane.

The movie owes a large debt to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films with its mix of horror and comedy. It features a torn Evil Dead II poster in much the same way The Evil Dead features a torn The Hills Have Eyes poster. The movie also utilises low-budget stop-motion effects.

Plot:

Two friends go hunting on Manitou Island in Northern Michigan. While wandering the woods, they accidentally break a sacred circle, releasing a terrible monster: the Wendigo.

The Wendigo goes on a terrible killing spree, leaving a gun-toting hero and his female love interest to destroy the monster…

Reviews:

” …there’s a lot of action, funny scenes, and blood to keep you happy. I liked the stop motion FX even though a bit cheesy and cheap looking. My only real complaint here was in the originality department since the evil entities attacking cabin in the woods routine has been done, and oh so much better. Still, Frostbiter stands on its own (sorta) and seemed kinda like a homage to Evil Dead‘s spirit.” Buried.com

“Seeing the zipper running up the monster’s back is a lot of the fun of B movies and Frostbiter has plenty of zippers showing. When some windows are supposed to explode, you can actually see the spark from the squib and when a woman starts to clean a cut on her face, the black eye she has disappears along with blood. These things, however, don’t take away from the fun of the movie and will actually make you chuckle good-naturedly.” Classic Horror

“This movie’s soundtrack is as far out there as it gets yet perfectly encapsulates everything about the film. You get some punk music, some good ol’ country a la Eaten Alive, you get soul, you get some sea shanties… […] This is a good companion piece to the nonsense that is Winterbeast. Both have some awesome stop motion, tons of random monsters, and some good bloodshed, though Frostbiter makes a little more sense than Winterbeast.” D Edward

“This movie is insane, and nothing I type here will do that insanity justice. Let’s start with the old man character, who is actually just some guy in an old man mask for no other reason than I guess there were no seniors willing to work in this mess? There’s killer monster puppets birthed from chili who attack while a theme song about chili plays on the soundtrack.” Digital Confederacy

“It doesn’t help either that almost everyone is giving a fairly sub-par performance that’s neither good nor bad but forgettable. Ron Asheton and Lori Baker are at least trying given the small amount of material they’re given to work with. Also, in between the scenes of monsters and gore, the film is padded out with tons of filler. These scenes ultimately lead to nothing and drag down the pacing of a fairly short film at under 90 minutes.” Film Nerd

Frostbiter is a blatant Evil Dead knockoff rescued only by funny and impressive zero budget special effects; particularly the stop motion animated chili creatures. Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies

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“A delightful Evil Dead rip-off that goes full-on Equinox style monster fest – this thing is stuffed with stop-motion monsters, miniatures and gooey gore. No build-up or suspense, but lots of farting puppets and rainbow coloured gel lighting. It deserves to be in the regular winter season rotation for horror fans in freezing climates.” Justin Decloux

Frostbiter is another one of those movies that I wanted to like–how can one not want to like a movie where a pot of extra-spicy chili turns into a bunch of flesh-eating of monsters? It starts like a fairly typical low-budget monster film, morphs into an Evil Dead-wannabe, but then disintegrates into a morass of bad writing, easily avoidable continuity gaffes, and pointless plot meandering.” Terror Titans

” …even though it feels woefully lame and packed with tacky effects it somehow manages to be watchably dopey and at times fun […] However at least we can dig an okay animated skeleton, the fact the cabin’s outside has completely blue windows (sound stage? I think so), a feeble-looking flying creature that bites a head-off, hammy acting, the monsters who pop-out of a pot of chili and a mostly inappropriate soundtrack that even manages to drown out the dialogue at times.” The Video Graveyard

“For the most part, it’s nothing new, but it is a motivated remix that gets the joke […] As for the portrayal of the mythical Wendigo, it’s less than traditional, taking from different versions of the myth when it best serves the trashy entertainment. If there is any trace of the original morals attached, it’s buried deep in cheese and rubber.” Video Religion

” …atrocious acting, inane storyline with no continuity, bloody but bad effects, stupid-to-inspired humor (but mostly stupid), shoddy production values, lots of padding, no tension and, as always at least for one scene, unappetizingly saggy breasts. Shot on an estimated budget of $25,000, Frostbiter looks and plays very much as if those involved siphoned off part of the budget for drugs…” A Wasted Life

Choice dialogue:

Tony [Tom Franks]: “I’m no stooge, pal, I had an encounter with a Bigfoot once.”

In Japan, the movie was released on VHS titled Shiryōnoharawata Sai Tsui Shō. Since the Japanese title of Evil Dead is Shiryōnoharawata, the distributors obviously tried to cash in on the success of Raimi’s trilogy. Also, the Japanese videocassette box puts the emphasis on a creature with a skull’s head, reminiscent of the original Evil Dead II poster.

Cast and characters:

Ron Asheton … Gary
Lori Baker … Sandy
Patrick Butler … Peter
Devlin Burton … Leo Phillipe
Tom Franks … Tony
Alan Madlane … Nick
John Bussard … Jerry
David Wogh … Dave
John Mietelka … Duke (as John ‘Duke’ Mietelka)
Bill Siemers … Lone Hunter
Matt Hale … Air Traffic Controller
Mike Missler … The Guardian
Vicki Howard … Evil Mom
Bret Julyk … The Weatherman
Scott Asheton … Tavern Person
Irina Dvorin … Miss October
Joel Hale … The Witch / Duke Davis
Arwolf Arwolf … The Guardian (voice)

Filming locations:

Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan

Technical details:

1 hour 24 minutes
Audio: Stereo
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1

Fun facts:

Scott Asheton, Ron’s brother and also a member of rock band The Stooges, has a small role as a “Tavern Person”.

Related:

THE EVIL DEAD (1981) Reviews and 4K UHD Groovy Collection details

WINTERBEAST (1986) Reviews and overview

Chili monsters clip:

Wendigo horror movies:

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