In the wake of the runaway success of Jaws, a slew of imitators were thrown into production, including animal attack features such as Piranha and Grizzly.
One of the lesser-known entries in this sub-genre was the TV movie Snowbeast, which was written by Joseph Stefano (screenwriter of Psycho) and starring Bo Svenson.
As well as Svenson we also get a cameo from Sylvia Sidney, who is best known by genre fans for her roles in Beetlejuice and Damien: Omen II.
Telling the tale of a rural town which is being terrorised by a killer bigfoot, it is a firm exercise in mood and atmosphere other crazy practical effects. Clearly being a TV production from NBC meant that director Herb Wallerstein (Star Trek) was working with a limited budget. This means the beast is rarely seen throughout but with the effective use of POV shots and the odd shot of part of the monster the suspense levels remain high.
So much so that the beast has barely 60 seconds of screen time throughout its 86-minute runtime.
Stefano was believed to have written the story for Snowbeast after reading about Roger Patterson’s ‘encounter’ with bigfoot back in 1967.
The shooting took place in the Colorado mountains, with temperatures rarely rising above 5 degrees. In the scene between Gar and Tony in the hot-tub both actors’ hair became frozen after getting wet due to the plummeting temperatures.
Sadly not much more behind the scenes information is available on film, which has now garnered a brand new audience with a US DVD release.
While not quite hitting the heights of Eduardo Sanchez’s Exists, Snowbeast certainly deserves its place in the animal attack sub-genre and is certainly better than many who had far more to work with.
You can watch Snowbeast (1977) on YouTube below –