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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
ABOMINABLE begins in the tried and true fashion of having a 5 to 10 minute gotcha scene to hold the audience.
A man named Billy (Rex Linn: GHOSTS OF MARS) and his wife Ethel (Dee Wallace-Stone: THE HOWLING, CRITTERS, THE FRIGHTENERS), stand terrified in their house. Their lights are off and the man tries to swallow his fear and go out into the night. He has a wife to protect. A house to protect. His livelihood of cattle who are being slaughtered off every night. In short, he's a man whose anger at being helpless is overtaking his fear. He has his gun and he has his big dog. He is ready for another dangerous human or even a bear. He can do this.
Then he goes outside and sees the latest kill. No human could have done that and no bear would have done that. Then Billy and Ethel hear the noise of the creature. His dog runs into the woods in the same way dogs run in front of cars, and with the same results. Merry Mishaps occur.
My wife has seen so many horror movies with me that, even though she's not a fan (we share a common ground of comedy), she's also rather jaded. In just the first five minutes of ABOMINABLE, she was gripping my arm.
The real story begins with a man in a car named Preston Rogers (Matt McCoy: DEEP STAR SIX). He's accompanied by a smug, inconsiderate oaf of a caretaker named Otis (SFX man, Christien Tinsley: SPECIES II) who is overly impressed with his own limited mentality. Rogers is clearly the smarter of the two, and not only does Otis resent it, but since he is also a hospital orderly and Preston has been put in his care, he's going to enjoy his physical power over the smarter man. The orderly can get away with this because Preston is also paralyzed from the waist down due to a tragic rock climbing accident that took the life of his wife. Preston has been messed up in the head ever since, and is only now returning to his home, after a year.
The mountain cabin across from his has other occupants.
A group of young women are celebrating their friend's last weekend as a free woman: she's the first of the group to get married. They never get the chance to enjoy themselves though. Almost immediately, one of their group disappears. The girls think Preston is watching them and waving at them because he's a pervert. They don't realize he's paralyzed and hampered by a control freak of a caregiver.
Night descends and Merry Mishaps occur - again.
Most good Horror relies on a basic tale and ABOMINABLE is no exception. The timing of ABOMINABLE conveys the sense of a director, Ryan Schifrin, who truly loves Horror movies and has honed himself to deliver the shocks in the same way that a stand-up comic learns to deliver the punch line. The film never drags and is rapidly punctuated by both comedy and scares. The timing of both is enough to make you cheer.
ABOMINABLE is good old fashioned creature feature fun, harking back to the low budgies of the 1970s. From the opening scene to the opening credits, there is the look and feel of that era's method of introducing a film.
What's more, the film features Horror movie stalwarts like Dee Wallace-Stone and Lance Henriksen (TERMINATOR, ALIENS, NEAR DARK, ALIEN3, SCREAM 3, ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, and way more). Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR [all], FROM BEYOND, THE FRIGHTENERS, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL , FEAR DOT COM, and way more) steals the show whenever he's onscreen as the chain smoking invalid on a respirator, Clerk.
ABOMINABLE isn't just a good monster movie for a first timer, it's a damn good Horror movie, period.
My only gripe was the music, which drew too much attention to itself. There was music for everything. Preston rolls his wheelchair to the window: there is music for that. Preston rolls his wheelchair away from the window, there is music for that! When Preston takes a whiff of rotten mayonnaise I could swear that there was even music for that. Part of this problem, I think, might stem from the fact that Schifrin is the son of film music composer, Lalo Schifrin (THX 1138, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, and way more), and son wanted to use as much of Pop's music as he could get: So much that it became distracting.
Oh well, you can't expect perfection for a first timer's effort, but you can expect to have a great monster movie experience when you see ABOMINABLE.
4 Shriek Girls.