Sci-Fi, Horror | 86 mins | Released: 1977
Director: Herb Wallerstein
Starring: Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan, Clint Walker, Sylvia Sidney, Thomas Babson, Jacquie Botts
Our Rating: 5

Former 1968 Winter Olympics gold medal ski champion Gar Seberg (Bo Svenson)  and his wife Ellen, a television presenter (Yvette Mimieux), return to his home, a ski resort in the Colorado Rockies where the faded star seeks a job using his skiing skills. As the Sebergs arrive, the town’s annual winter carnival is spoiled by the disappearances of a series of vacationers, later revealed to have been brutally killed by an unknown animal. There are eyewitness accounts that the culprit is a Yeti or Sasquatch, which are met with ridicule. The owner of the ski resort (Sylvia Sidney) declares that there is no such being, because she doesn’t want to lose her business, and she arranges for her grandson Tony (Robert Logan) to keep the disappearances a secret. The local sheriff (Clint Walker) spreads the story that there is a lone savage bear on the loose. Tony gives Gar a job with the ski resort and confides in him about the monster. Gar’s first job is to stalk and kill it. Gar keeps an open mind due to his wife’s former work on a documentary about Sasquatch sightings, but is reluctant to kill it, feeling that it would be murder. He changes his mind when he sees the remains of the first victim. The monster comes to town and not only panics the population but kills the mother of the Snow Carnival Queen.

In the film’s climax, Gar, Ellen, Tony and the sheriff go to the woods where the monster was last sighted. The monster attacks Gar, who shoots it with a revolver. However, the creature survives the gunshots, and Gar, out of ammunition, picks up a ski pole and impales the beast, causing it to fall off a mountain. Gar looks down and hears the creature in pain as it dies. The Sebergs embrace happily while the rest of the group looks on.

Movie Notes:

Snowbeast is a made-for-television horror film, first broadcast in 1977 in the United States. The film was shot at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado.

The movie details the attacks of a ravenous creature (a Yeti or Bigfoot/Sasquatch) on a Colorado ski resort. The teleplay was written by Joseph Stefano, who wrote the script for Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic 1960 thriller Psycho. Stefano reportedly used a book by Roger Patterson (who claimed to have encountered a Sasquatch in 1967) as his primary inspiration, though no credit is given.

Snowbeast was directed by Herb Wallerstein, a veteran of many television shows such as I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, and The Six Million Dollar Man.

Due to its on-location setting, timelessly captivating Bigfoot theme, and higher-than-usual production values for a made-for-television movie, the film was a major success when it was first released, and it has since earned a cult following.

Based on the Bigfoot creature that was seen for over 100 years in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest. Joseph Stefano wrote the script taking much of the information from Roger Patterson‘s encounter with a Bigfoot in 1967.

The girl seen in close-up running with her flute now lives in Tucson, Arizona, and teaches English at the University of Arizona.

While shooting on location in the Colorado Mountains, the temperatures would rarely rise above five degrees during the day and would drop well below zero during the evening. In fact, while shooting the scene where Gar and Tony talk in the hot tub the actors wet hair would actually start to freeze during filming.

The scene where the snow beast attacks the town hall during the snow queen ceremony was written in to replace a previously scripted and filmed attack scene that was deemed too violent to be aired on television.

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