Cinema Obscura: Jack Frost

This post was originally published on the DIDS website. Check out more reviews like this at From the Depths of DVD Hell


Cinema Obscura - a weekly trek through the darker and frequently more random and forgotten regions of Cult, Foreign and Obscure cinema and pretty much everything in between. Each week highlighting a film worth hunting down, for those who like to wander away from the more-traveled-roads of Mainstream cinema.

Continuing my “Alternative Christmas“ theme, this week we look at a film which highlights the fact that just because you have the resources to do something it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it. “Jack Frost” is a key example of this theory in action while perhaps also being the only movie which thought that a killer snowman might be a good idea for a creature of terror!

Not to be confused with the equally awful but a whole lot less fun Michael Keaton of the same name, which bizarrely was released a year later and which also featured a man being reincarnated as a snowman. Still “Jack Frost” has the usual horror setup for serial killers getting their souls trapped in random objects, as serial killer Jack Frost (Scott McDonald) is being transported to prison, when the prison bus collides with a truck transporting genetic acid which proceeds to melt and bond him with the surrounding snow, as he now takes on the form of a snowman to take revenge on the local townsfolk including Sam (Chris Allport) the town sheriff who was responsible for capturing him in the first place.

So while snowmen might not be the most obvious object of terrors, being that they are clearly not scary in the slightest, you have to give Director (aswell as acclaimed playwright...well so IMDB tells me) Michael Cooney credit for giving it a shot. No doubt you thinking that at least the snowman on the front looks like it has been designed to at least look scary”_.well it when you watch the film that you soon realise that perhaps this creation cost the film it’s effects budget for the Jack Frost we get here instead looks like this.

Yes this cheap-ass foam snowman suit is what we get instead, which instead turns any possibility of horror into disbelief that any director would think that his audience would buy into this costume being the slightest bit scary, as it soon becomes more a question of how many surreal situations can we have jack appear in, be it driving a car or engaging in an even more questionable sex scene with Shannon Elizabeth’s character in what would also be her first film role. Hmm I wonder if she thought this would be her big breakout role as an actress or not?

Still Director Cooney has assembled a fun cast who all seem game for a laugh by appearing in this film, or perhaps it was just so that they could say that they were in a movie which featured a killer snowman, which honestly would be all I would need to sign up for such a project, though perhaps it would have been finding out the quality of the snowman costume.

The death scenes are on the whole pretty creative with death by Christmas decorations, decapitation by a sled and an axe handle down the throat to name but a few, while Jack’s attempt to bite off one characters head is painfully terrible much like Jack’s throw away one liners, which usually land on the wrong side of awful thanks to McDonald’s sheer lack of comic timing, though he certainly brings a lot of energy to the character in much the same way that Brad Dourif did for Chucky in the “Childs Play” movies.

I suppose the biggest surprise about this film other than the fact that it was not released by either "Troma" or "Full Moon" whose own outlandish output this would not look out of place amongst, but that it actually spawned a less well known sequel "Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Killer Mutant Snowman" which is even worse than this one, let alone the fact it features killer snowballs and looks like it was shot on cheaper film stock than most soap operas, but still is worth a look if this alone doesn't satisfy your killer Snowman fix.

Since it’s release “Jack Frost” has built up quite a cult following, mainly via word of mouth and it is honestly for all it’s flaws one of the better cult movies of this kind, while certainly a fun alternative treat to dig out and enjoy with a couple of cold beers and some like minded friends.