The Abominable Snowman (1957) was written by Nigel Kneale who also wrote the superb The Quatermass Experiment. The story follows British scientist Peter Cushing who agrees to go looking for the Abominable Snowman with arrogant American Forrest Tucker in the Himalayas despite the protests of Cushing’s wife Maureen Connell and the High Lhama. When Cushing learns that Tucker is planning on capturing the beast for profit and his assistant is a big game hunter, he has a crisis of conscience.
Directed by Val Guest (also of The Quatermass Experiment), the film has a slow suspenseful build. Like most of Kneale’s scripts the story is more about ideals, conflicts of interest and suspense rather than a guy in a yeti suit going on a rampage. The black and white photography gives the film a quiet, chilly feel to it and Cushing is excellent as always. Tucker’s arrogant American is the kind of American you instantly dislike and mistrust. Guest makes the most out the film’s low budget by barely showing the yeti which creates more tension than if they just had it wrestling expendable crew members.
This film came at the start of Hammer’s reign of the horror box office and it showed that horror movies could be intelligent films as well just for cheap thrills. They followed this film the adaptations of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy.