Hell Hath No Fury Like A Movie Budget Scorned.
Jack Frost is another holiday favorite I'm sorry to have missed the boat on last December during our holiday fest, but if there's anything I'm known for, it's my self-imposed rolling deadlines. So let's take a trip back to Christmasland and spend a Yule tide moment with a horror movie that features a foam snowman raping Shannon Elizabeth with a carrot. This should be fun.
We start off in the same way every other holiday movie does - by showing the credits on Christmas ornaments. Don't be disillusioned by this connect-the-dots kickoff, I promise you...for better or worse...this movie is pretty unique. I had seen it in bit pieces on television for a few years now, but now that I've soaked the entire flick in twice in the past few days, I can say with experience that no one else should do the same - ever. I don't know, I guess that depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for horror, skip this one. It ain't scary. If you're looking for interesting characters, skip this one. The guy who got like third billing spends the entire movie carrying rock ice to his neighbors' houses. If you're looking for Shannon Elizabeth, skip this movie. She's here, but only for a minute.
However, if you're an aspiring filmmaker who's been told you have a shitty script by everyone who's seen it, watch this movie. It'll reinstall your faith that you too can make it in Hollywood.
The second picture above features two cops driving a guy to death row. They make endless jokes about him 'frying' and other such nonsense, so it's a sure bet they'll be dead within 40 seconds. The killer is named Jack Frost, so two guesses as to his later relevance to the film. First, let's find out how he got caught be THE LAW....
Jack Frost is a serial killer, or a terrorist, or some other really bad thing that's made him a wanted man. Unfortunately, a good ol' suburban cowboy named Sam had the honor of catching him. Some would say he's a hero, but Sam feels differently: all the psychotic rambling letters and various 'I'm gonna kill you!' expletives shouted by Jack makes Sam feel a tad uneasy. I'm not sure how the guy managed to send out psycho threatening letters from prison, but believe me, it's a plot hole lost in a sea of much bigger plot holes.
Christopher Allport, who plays Sam, actually returns in the sequel to Jack Frost. Yes, there's more than one of these movies. I've not seen the sequel yet...only heard many many bad things about it. Still, I can't help but feel that with a little work, Jack Frost could easily be the camp horror series of this decade. Yeah, this one was made in '97...but if they'd put a little more emphasis on being ridiculous and a little less on trying to maintain a semblance of storyline when it's obvious even to a cereal box that there isn't one, I think we'd have an upgraded Sleepaway Camp phenom on our hands. As for this first flick though, Jack's pretty mundane save for a few well-placed scenes which star nobodies wrestling a big piece of white foam.
After a timely car crash, Frost kills the would-be do-gooders before realizing that Movie Irony was hitting the high notes today: they crashed into some kind of genetic research truck that had a convenient spout that sprays out tons upon tons of experimental acid. Jack burns away and melts into the snow, but since we're only minutes into the flick, we all should know better. I'm still not sure how getting burned by acid - even top-secret government acid - turns someone into a snowman, but let's face it, I rented the movie...I knew I shouldn't have expected much more when the cover art displays a fanged snowman with the tagline: he's chillin' and killin'. If anything I should collect my losses and thank the lord that they didn't find a spot for Pia Zadora in the cast.
I really shouldn't complain, it's not like there's any plausible way to turn a dead guy into a snowman, much less a snowman who can talk.
Let's meet some of the secondary characters. I don't remember the redheaded kid's name, but that's Sam's son. We'll call him Nat. Nat pretty much fits the bill of every other kid in horror movies - he's a big stupidhead who causes nothing but trouble. To prove mental retardation, he serves his father raw cookie dough in a ziploc bag for lunch. No, not kidding. He later sees the killer snowman take off some kid's head and expresses his concern with all the emotion of a pelican.
On the right, Shannon Elizabeth. After her roles in American Pie and Scary Movie, they redid this film's credits to make her appear more prominent, but no such luck - at this point, she's still a nobody with a big pair of tits. And you know what happens to those kinda people in horror movies, right? Raped by carrots. Up above she meets her quasi-love interest, the only romantic point of this film. He shows his love by crafting a snowwoman in her honor. With giant tits.
Something's not right in this small town, so FBI Man is called in to find out what. Looks like some poor guy got killed to death in the woods by matter of freezing and suffocation. FBI Guy recognizes the assault, but won't tell Sam the details. After all, Sam's just a small time cop and FBI Guy is an FBI Guy! Man, I wonder what the real relationship between cops and FBI people are. Do they always argue? Does the FBI always try busting their balls? I've never seen the police and the FBI coexist peacefully in the movies, they're like the modern day cat-and-mouse. If Sam only knew what FBI Guy knows -- Jack Frost is back from the grave. As a snowman!!
And what do killer snowmen do? Well, they kill. Nat's mother (and Sam's wife) suggests that he go put a carrot on the snowman in front of the house. Nobody knows who made the 9' snowman or why it looks so damn mean, but this is the holiday season and there's more important things to be concerned about. Sure enough, as Nat's putting the infamous carrot into place, some local hooligans appear and start insulting him, even managing to call him 'ugly.' This script was penned by Shakespeare himself. The lead hooligan makes the cardinal mistake of knocking the murderous snowman's head off, to which he's met with a foam white push onto the floor, directly before a sled knocks his head flying across the front yard.
Poetic justice....in Jack Frost?!
For those brave enough to consider renting this one, I guess I should fill in some of the blanks. Like most of these types of horror flicks, the characters are so blank and devoid that they're almost endearing. You end up liking them because you have no choice but to make up what they're all about in your head. For instance, the fat rock ice guy I previously mentioned - he's all over the movie, but I've got no idea who he actually is. So I'm watching this, and I decide that he's a meat butcher during the day. Then I liked him a whole lot more. Or FBI Guy...I just pretended that was Robin Williams. Bad movies seem a lot more palatable when big stars lower themselves to their standard.
Anyway, Frost has an apparent bad history with the family of the kid he just killed, because the next few scenes feature his systematic decimation of 'em all in crude fashion.
First, the father goes outside to ease his tensions with a little tobacco. He hears someone screaming things at him, so he opts for the natural route of grabbing an axe and screaming things back. Why do all these movies take place in hick towns where people grab axes at least 4 times a day? For once I'd like to see one of these bad horror flicks take place in the big city, where people use guns instead of axes. Actually, now that I think of it, didn't Jason go to NYC in one of his flicks? Yeah, he did. He spent half the movie on a boat and the other half getting nailed in the face with raw sewage. Maybe we should stick to Hicksville.
Frost shoves an axe down this guy's throat...nothing new, but it leads to a far better death scene with the poor dead guy's wife.
Frost, using his new superpower of being able to liquefy and travel through locked doors, into living rooms, and behind couches, shows up behind this old woman and does her in. First, he wraps her in Christmas lights, then he smashes her face into a box of glass Christmas ornaments. While this is going on, and I swear I'm not making this up, the theme from Benny Hill is playing in the background. I'll take that to mean that the people responsible for making this flick at least didn't take it seriously. They knew it was stupid for a snowman to talk and kill people. They knew their hired actors would have trouble standing still much less saying their lines. They knew nobody would be scared of a voiced-over foam puppet. If anything, we should give them credit for going through with this knowing all that. The deck was really stacked against 'em.
Oddly enough, some friends and I were thinking about going to the movies tonight - and looking at the lineup in the paper, I'd take Jack Frost over any of those flicks. So maybe there's something to this whole make-a-movie-with-three-dollars-entirely-on-ad lib thing after all. Such debates'll have to wait - it's Shannon's turn to taste the SHIVER.
Hmmm...her ass looked a little better by the time Scary Movie rolled around. But maybe that's just me.
Shannon's entire family has just been slayed, so she deals with that the way any other normal girl would: taking the nearest guy, breaking into a cop's house, and stripping. Hooray for horror movie sex scenes, they really show slain how it's done. People who watch this shit probably feel really inadequate about their sex lives, as anyone under 21 fuck more than cage rabbits in these movies. Her chosen mate of the evening meets his death pretty quickly - as Shannon plays with herself in the tube, Jack Frost unleashes his latest weapon on him: ice missiles! Yes, ice missiles. He holds out his arm and penetrating icicles fly out at 100 miles per hour. The boyfriend's dead, now it's Shannon's turn.
She notices that her steamy bath has suddenly become pretty chilly...any guesses as to where we're headed with this one?
Snowman Rape Scene. We've seen Winston from the Ghostbusters do it in Penitentiary II. We've seen a tree do it in The Evil Dead. But neither of those famed movie rape scenes wallows in bad taste better than Jack Frost - a snowman who gets it on with Shannon Elizabeth by turning his nose into a makeshift penis.
It's pretty graphic too, all things considered. She's screaming, he's laughing, they're bouncing against the wall, he's moaning, she's got a carrot inside her, then BAM - she's dead on the floor with blood oozing out of her mouth. Yes folks, Shannon Elizabeth had sex with a foam snowman. That's something they don't tell you about when you're in acting school. You may have to endure the worst roles on the planet before you have a chance to finger yourself and talk with an accent in a 100-million dollar movie. Shannon persevered, and look where she's at now!
Skipping ahead, way ahead thankfully, we now get to the part where they blow up a building with the snowman inside. Here's what goes down...
The funny thing about killer snowmen...they're durable. You can shoot them, blow them up, do whatever you want...they'll just keep coming back. So now our surrogate heroes are faced with an impossible mission: how do you kill snow? Melting him isn't going to work - the bastard just regenerates himself from his own puddle!
Sam has a plan, though. He orders one of his friends to fill his truck with antifreeze. Then he tells the others to help him lure Frost into the house. Why he'd want to do that, I have no idea. Unless it was a premade plan to jump out of a two-story window into a pool of antifreeze? Who knows. Anyway, they get the stupid thing into the house and do whatever they can to halt him. In this case, they use hairdryers.
You won't believe how bad this snowman looks. I can live with the bad dubbing - I'm sure it's not easy to make a snowman look like it's really talking. Plus, I admire the fact that this is the first snowman to use the word 'fuck.' But that's where his strong points end: if he's not standing completely still as the camera zooms in and out on him really fast, he's making movements that completely destroy the idea that he's made of snow. Snow doesn't bend and stretch. Ahhh, I give up. It's a movie about a snowman that kills people. If I expected anything more, something's seriously wrong with me.
Oh yeah, Frost also takes this opportunity to unveil his latest weapon: ice fangs. How come that kid on the X-Men never thought of this stuff?
So there's the big payoff - right before Frost lays in the final blow, Sam grabs on to him and leaps through a window and into a pool of antifreeze. Sadly, this marks the end of Jack's reign of terror. It also marks a new high on the stupidity quota of this movie: Sam had just been, for all intents and purposes, stabbed through the heart by Jack. Then he jumped two stories down into the back of a truck full of antifreeze. And not only did he survive - he shows no signs of injury! And I thought the snowman was durable? Sam = Thor.
As a footnote, Sam's dumb little kid holds up Jack's discarded arm and asks what he should do with it. Hmmm. Murderous mystical arm. I think you should hold it as close to your throat as you can, kid. Sure enough, the arm starts choking him, prompting Sam to dump his kid into the pool of antifreeze. What a dad!
Alright, I'm sorry...can anyone e-mail me to confirm that antifreeze isn't a particularly healthy thing to saturate yourself in? I'm not sure if it'll kill you or not, but I doubt swimming in it - much less outside in freezing temperatures - would prove a smooth move. On the upside, this scene ends the movie and our misery. Least till the sequel.
Overall: Eh, take it or leave it. Good for a chuckle, and trust me that's the only reason to rent it, but there's nothing so ridiculous in here that makes it a must-see. In comparison to other bad horror flicks we've reviewed, it stands it's ground as 'awful, but watchably awful.' From the reviews I've read, you're better off going with the sequel. But if you're a Shannon Elizabeth fan like me, get a little history lesson here from a time when her career wasn't so bubbly. Plus, there's probably at least three scenes that won't make you sick over having watched this. That's two more than Pearl Harbor by all accounts, so Frost is batting pretty high.
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