Abominable (DVD)

Abominable DVD (click for larger image)Starring Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Jeffrey Combs, Christien Tinsley, Paul Gleason, Rex Lynn, Tiffany Shepis, Dee Wallace Stone, Lance Henriksen

Directed by Ryan Schifrin

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

“Some things are better left unfound.”

So reads the tag-line for the newest Sasquatch opus, Abominable. While this may be true for the characters who populate the woods around Suicide Rock, the same cannot be said for us horror fans. In fact, we should all be very thankful that Anchor Bay found this title because they’ve given it some pretty stellar treatment. The best part? The flick’s pretty damned good too.

Meet Preston (McCoy), a thirty-something thrill seeker who cannot decide if surviving the mountain climbing accident which claimed the life of his wife and left him in a wheelchair is a blessing or a curse. Personally, I have no sympathy for people who suffer the consequences for engaging in such activities. There’s no friggin’ reason I can think of in this world to go and climb up a huge rock formation. Screw doing it “because it was there”. Ugly chicks with herpes and sideburns are there too, but I don’t see to many folks lining up to climb them. Ahem … Where was I? Oh yeah, Preston. Doctors have some pretty wacky notions at times. Preston’s wants him to return to the scene of the incident as a means to help him deal with it. As a result Preston spends the entire first ten minutes of the film with a “Gee, doc, thanks for the haunted memories! Maybe next you can buy me hiking boots and some rope too?!” type look on his face.

Once at the cabin he used to share with his wife, Preston discovers something new to keep him busy — watching four hotties who have rented the cabin next to his through binoculars. Finally a worthwhile distraction from the sleaze-ball male nurse that’s been toting him around! However, Preston’s not the only guy with a penchant for ogling babes. The other is a near eight-foot-tall Bigfoot. Hm. Big feet. Big hands. Had this been an NC-17 rated film, maybe we could have gotten to see if that certain myth were true. One thing’s for certain, size is the last thing on our handicapped hero’s mind as he watches in helpless horror as one by one the rampaging Sasquatch tears his nubile victims limb from wriggling limb.

Sound like a good time? It’s a blast! Abominable plays like a hybrid of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and William Shatner’s memorable Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” That’s quite the combination, and believe you me it’s a winning one too.

Abominable DVD (click for larger image)Director Ryan Schifrin (son of famed movie composer Lalo) knows what to do to make his material work. This is a monster movie, a good old-fashioned creature feature. At no time does he try and reinvent the genre wheel. Instead he just keeps it rolling. For him Abominable is a labor of love. As stated in one of the DVD’s supplements, in order to get this movie made he had to “call in every favor” he could. The end result is nothing short of a great fucking time. Simply put, everything works. The acting is way above par. The subject matter is treated with respect (meaning everything is played straight; at no time did Abominable make fun of itself for being a Bigfoot movie), and best of all the effects simply rock! Kudos to everyone involved for going the “guy in a badass suit” route instead of the usual CGI bullshit.

Get out the raincoats, kids! If you’re looking for violence (and exactly what horror fan isn’t?), look no further. Abominable piles on the red stuff and delivers some truly memorable kills, two of which are absolutely brilliant. You will know them when you see them. In fact you’ll rewind them several times just to watch them again and again. I know I did. As a matter of fact, I’m gonna go watch them both a couple of more times after I finish writing this.

In true Anchor Bay fashion, this DVD is stacked with extras. We get a forty-minute making-of along with a great commentary, deleted and extended scenes, a blooper and outtake reel, poster and still galleries, and even Schifrin’s short student film Shadows. The supplemental material is plentiful and quite good. Normally I’d talk a bit more about each of these, but I’m fairly certain you know what to expect by now, and I have a bit of a different agenda which I’d like to talk about briefly if I may:

Abominable‘s Director of Photography, Neal Fredericks. Some of you may not know the name, but I can guarantee that you know his work — namely, The Blair Witch Project. I knew him for a very short time, and I can honestly say he was one of the most talented and sincere people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Neal passed away shortly after Abominable wrapped, and sadly he never did get to see the final product. To him I say — thank you. Thank you for the work and memories you have given us. You were lost too soon and will always be remembered.

This review is dedicated to Neal. Rock on, my brother. Rock on.

Abominable is everything a movie like this should be! If you don’t have a good time watching it, then you don’t have a pulse. So what are you waiting for? Who doesn’t need some Bigfoot action in their lives?! Don’t make us have to send the Foywonder to your house with a copy of this and The Legend of Boggy Creek under his arm. He’ll learn ya the hard way!

Special Features
Making Abominable featurette
Audio commentary with writer/director Ryan Schifrin, actors Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs
Deleted and extended scenes
Outtakes and bloopers
Shadows: Director Ryan Schifrin’s USC student Film
Poster and still gallery
Storyboard gallery
Screenplay (DVD-Rom)

Neal Fredericks: 1969 - 2004 Rest in Peace

4 1/2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.