SON OF KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century (1977)

Somewhere deep in the middle of the Canadian mountains, Professor Wassermann (played by John Stacy and voiced by Gregory Snegoff, who was Scott Bernard on Robotech and Golgo 13 in the translated American version of his cartoon) is looking for a giant iceberg that has a yeti (Mimmo Crao, the only actor that I know that is in a Jesus movie — Jesus of Nazareth — and an Edwige Fenech sex comedy — Sex With a Smile — and this monster movie).

Morgan Hunnicut (Eddie Faye, who is really Edoardo Faieta from Plot of Fear, and also voice by Snegoff) owns a multination oil company that funds the expedition to study him but he really wants the yeti to exploit. He’s also brought along his orphaned grandchildren for some reason — what, a Fortune Six company doesn’t have daycare for their CEOs? — named Jane (Phoenix Grant*, AKA Antonella Interlenghi, Emily from City of the Living Dead) and Herbie (Jim Sullivan), who had been mute since the death of his parents and only communicates with his dog Indio.

There’s an astounding scene where the Yeti is fitted into what is basically a giant telephone booth and airlifted by helicopter to a height of 10,000 feet because the air up there is what he’s used to and it’ll be easier to thaw him out up there. This is bonkers Italian cinema science at its finest, dear reader.

The paparazzi wants to see more of the yeti and surrounds everyone, freaking him out as if he were in a Dino De Laurentiis movie from 1976 and sending him running with Jane, Emily and Indio in his hand. He gets so excited by Jane rubbing against his paw  — and I’m not making this up — that he gets erect nipples. Later, as he combs her hair with a giant fishbone — again, not making anything up — they are found by the professor who claims that she has been adopted as his wife and Herbie as his son. Cliff Chandler (Tony Kendall**, AKA Luciano Stella, AKA Kommisar X!) is one of the company men who comes to their rescue and he comments that she’ll have to put out soon for the ape man.

Speaking of putting out, the Yeti has been marked much like Kong was in the wake of Dino’s remake. You can find Yeti shirts that say “Kiss Me Yeti” — a phrase that makes no sense — and a disco song and a commercial for the gas stations that ask you to put a Yeti instead of a tiger in your tank.

Then things get bad when the new leader of Hunnicut turns out to be the evil Cliff. He decides to kill anyone connected with the big lug.

How bad do things get?

The kind of bad where autistic children are threatened, Yetis break free over the Niagra Falls, where old kindly professors are killed by Aldo Canti, who was once Angel the acrobat from Return of Sabata and even cute dogs get stabbed.

Somehow, however, Indoo shrugs off this 1d4 slashing damage and survives to come running across the field like Wuthering Heights at the end as the Yeti goes back home to the frozen Canadian tundra, leaving behind nothing but death, destruction and flipped over toy vehicles with dead industrialists trapped inside.

Oh yeah and Dr. Butcher himself, Donald O’Brien, is in this!

A lot of folks hate on this movie and for really poor reasons. This is the very best kind of trash, a movie blessed with great poster art and the worst in special effects. These people are morons that don’t understand the wonder of a film that has high budget dreams and bottom basement budget realities.

Writer Mario di Nardo also wrote another astonishing film, the revenge picture by way of slasher grossout Ricco AKA Cauldron of Death and one of the best giallo films ever, The Fifth Cord, as well as Five Dolls for an August Moon. He was joined by Marcello Coscia on the screenplay, who also wrote Mission Bloody MaryA Quiet Place to KillWhen Women Lost Their TailsThe Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and Tex and the Lords of the Deep. There was some talent here, at least in the script.

Director Gianfranco Parolini went from writing peblum films to the scripts for all three Sabata movies and God’s Gun. His directing resume has some decent stuff on it as well, including several of the Kommisar X films, If You Meet Sartana…Pray for Your Death and The Fury of Hercules. He also produced this film. Again, he had a record of producing solid work, but I think they shot too high and paid the price.

And by paid the price, I mean made a movie that completely entertained me for its entire running time.

*According to Wikipedia, Jessica Harper (yes, from Suspiria) is the voice of Jane. This seems way too good to be true.

**Kendall and O’Brien are dubbed by Ted Rusoff, the son of screenwriter Lou Rusoff and nephew to B-movie titan Samuel Z. Arkoff. He relocated to Italy to dub movies — where he met and married Carolyn De Fonseca — and you can hear his voice in movies like Voyage Into Space, Deep Red and The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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