Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bad Movie Theatre: Clint and Bo vs. a Skier-eating "Snowbeast"

As Will Shakespeare might have said: "We come not to criticize bad movies, but to appreciate them for providing a contrast to good movies." Lest we not forget, the line between intentional and unintentional humor can be a fine one. With these insights in mind, we introduce Bad Movie Theatre, a new occasional feature at the Cafe.

Bo Svenson--not to be confused with Bo Derek.
Before discussing Snowbeast, I want to clarify that the "Clint" and "Bo" of this post's title do not refer to Eastwood and Derek. Alas, we are talking about Clint Walker and Bo Svenson. The confusion is understandable: Both Clint's are tall (though Walker towers four inches above Eastwood) and both Bo's are blonde (Svenson is a guy, Derek is not).  For the record, Bo Svenson is fourteen inches taller than Bo Derek and that's if the latter's height is rounded up. Yes, our Clint and Bo are both 6' 6"--which is good if you're fighting an equally tall carnivorous Bigfoot.

Yvette Mimieux, who has little to do.
Bo Svenson plays Gar Seberg (no relation to Jean), a former Olympic skiing gold medalist making a promotional appearance at the 50th Winter Carnival at Rill Lodge. Gar and his wife Ellen (a dark-haired Yvette Mimieux) have a rocky marriage, mostly because of Gar's mid-life crisis. She wants him to ask lodge manager Tony (Robert Logan) for a job. Tony, incidentally, still has a thing for Ellen, who jilted him for Gar years earlier.

As if the big celebration and his former flame weren't enough, Tony has to deal with the mutilated corpse of a skier found near the slopes. The scene where he informs his preoccupied grandmother (Sylvia Sidney), who owns the lodge, is a personal favorite:

TONY (referring to the skier's death):  "This wasn't an animal...and it wasn't human either."

GRANDMOTHER:  "Well, that certainly narrows it down."

Snowbeast peeking through the gym window.
You can't fault Grandma's logic. Her focus, naturally, is ensuring that nothing stops the carnival since its financial success is critical to avoiding bankruptcy. Despite Tony's pleadings, Grandma moves ahead with the beauty pageant and other festivities at the high school gym. Just when the townsfolk are packed in there like sardines, the Snowbeast attacks. Following its rampage, Sheriff Paraday ("special guest star" Clint Walker), Gar, and Tony set out to track the monster down.

Since Snowbeast is a low-budget affair, the monster is only glimpsed in its few appearances--which is a good thing since it's not very impressive-looking. Instead, we get a lot of first-monster camera views, hear growls, and see tracks in the snow.

If the plot of Snowbeast sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because its premise--a monstrous creature attacking a resort during tourist season--was lifted from Jaws (Spielberg's film adaptation was released two years earlier). Sadly, the script was written by Joseph Stefano, who--earlier in his career--wrote the screenplay for  Hitchcock's Psycho and twelve episodes of The Outer Limits (including the classic "The Zanti Misfits").

Clint Walker, who fared better as Cheyenne.
For the record, both Clint and Bo fared better in other movies with large terrifying creatures. The Night of the Grizzly may be Clint's best theatrical film in which he received star billing. It used to be a TV staple, but its showings have become scarce over the last 15 years. As for Bo, he played the Monster to Robert Foxworth's Dr. Frankenstein in a two-part TV adaptation of Frankenstein (1973). And while Bo may not be a champion skier in real life, he has won several judo championships.

7 comments:

  1. Rick, I think my favorite Bo role is in North Dallas Forty playing a offensive lineman who has to protect QB Mack Davis. As for Clint, he has one of the all time best sight gags in Send Me No Flowers trying to get out of a Jaguar XKE rag top with the top still in place. Really like him in The Dirty Dozen . And Rick how could you forget Killdozer?

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  2. I'm really glad you've added this "Bad Movie" feature. Am looking forward to more. :)

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  3. Paul, KILLDOZER was mentioned last November in the comments to a review of DUEL. Silverscreenings, I hope this can become a fun feature. There are lot of less-than-stellar movies which are nonetheless entertaining in their fashion.

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  4. Love this movie. The only thing better than a good yeti flick is a bad yeti flick

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  5. I can't wait for more Bad Movie Theatre articles, Rick. Love that kind of stuff. To paraphrase Movie Waffler, the only thing better than a good flick is a bad flick -- how else could Mystery Science Theater 3000 have been such a success? That snowbeast does indeed look lame -- just a window peeper, huh? I laughed out loud at Grandma's remark -- she hit it on the head! Lots of fun -- keep 'em coming!

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  6. I had a lot of fun reading this post about a different Bo and Clint than one might have thought. Great idea and fun post, Rick!

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