Thursday 30 December 2010

Obscurity Files #34 - Jack Frost

As it's still slightly dodgy weather conditions, I thought I'd bring this festive season to a close by looking at a film that celebrates the joyous times snow can bring us. Today lets look at the killer Snowman movie, Jack Frost.
More after the jump...

No, not the uplifting Michael Keaton family friendly drama about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, this Jack Frost concerns itself with the murder spree of an escaped serial killer, transformed into a killer Snowman when exposed to a top secret genetic experiment. If you're planning on having a nice family night in with the kids, best not to get the two mixed up.

On the way to his execution, the van carrying the notorious serial killer Jack Frost collides with a genetic research van. Before you can say 'Frosty the Snowman', Jack gets sprayed by an unknown substance that turns him into a grisly corpse that melts away into the snow.

Soon Jack reappears in the nearby town of Snomanton (about as subtle a town name as Nilbog was in Troll 2), so it's up to the local Sheriff to find a way to stop Jack in his tracks. Luckily Jack does have a natural enemy; Hairdryers. If only they can get him to attack in a place where they have lots of plug sockets. Jack is able to melt himself through doors and windows to attack his prey, and it's nice to see that when he passes under a door in his liquid state, he leaves his coal eyes and carrot nose behind, being too big to fit through the gap. That's a level of accuracy you don't expect to see in a film about a murderous Snowman.

As for (what I reluctantly call) the special effects, it's clearly just a man in a suit, working the mouth like a demented Basil Brush (the dialogue and mouth movements never match up in the slightest). The material the suit is made of never looks like snow, looking more like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cross bred with Morph. Like Chucky from Child's Play (a film this shares a lot in common with), Jack Frost looks quite unthreatening when he's stood still. If anything, he's quite cute.

This film marks the inauspicious debut of American Pie's Shannon Elizabeth, playing a promiscuous teen no less. She suffers what can only be described as the most undignified death I've ever seen on screen, with Jack Frost making constructive use of his carrot. If you needed proof of how stupid and lowbrow this film could be, here's your answer...

This film is chock full of so many horrendous puns and one liners, it's hard not to find it quite charmingly daft. It's well aware of its limitations, both in budget and ability to scare people with a giant glove puppet for a bad guy. Still, there's some inventive and nasty death scenes that cement Jack Frost's B-movie status. It's not exactly a lost classic that everybody should go and track down, but if you're a fan of slightly shit movies and you see it on your video store shelf, there's a pretty good time to be had here.

For a super low budget horror flick that precisely no-one saw, somehow Jack Frost managed to earn itself a sequel. Jack Frost 2: Revenge Of The Mutant Killer Snowman was a tropical island set film that sees Jack once again battle the small town Sheriff. For some unknown reason I saw that film when it came out on video back in 2000 (I'm blaming a drunken student haze), and from what I remember it was absolutely ridiculous, often taking breaks from the story to plug its sponsor, Asahi beer. Still, you've got to give them some credit for putting a killer Snowman on a tropical island. That's a concept you just can't ignore.

Jack Frost is a corny delight that, although it may be lacking in festive cheer, is inventive enough in its ideas that it may find itself added to my annual list of must watch Christmas films.

Save from obscurity? YES

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