Well, The 12 Reviews of Christmas continues with a look at the direct to video slasher camp classic, Jack Frost. Not to be confused with the Michael Keaton comedy that came out a year later, this film...
Really, Chris? You're stooping so low you're reviewing this travesty?
Look, Ghost of Christmas Past, I like this film, despite it being really, well, cheesy as hell. But that's my tastes in film, it's my blog, and I'll review what I want.
Oh, right. Remind me why you want a director's cut of Maximum Overdrive once again.
Because I want to see the footage trimmed to appease the MPAA. What horror fan wouldn't?
And how you enjoy House of the Dead?
Hey, I'm shouldn't have to justify my love of that film. I know it's bad, but it makes me feel like a ten year old, watching something I shouldn't, and that makes me happy. And I've working on my second review of the holiday season, heading for twelve, so leave me alone.
Sure. Just checking in.
As if my day job isn't distract enough, now I have to deal with you. Why don't you bother some billionaire?
Oh, like they'd care about what I have to say. Good luck reaching twelve reviews. See you later.
Thank Cthulhu they're gone. So, let's get back to Jack Frost.
It's obvious writer/director Michael Cooney was leaning heavily into camp with this film. And it helps that the cast play their parts straight, despite how silly the script is, which I suspect helped the film developed a bit of a cult status. Add in some nasty kills on a meager budget, and a cool prismatic VHS cover when it went straight to home video, and it's no wonder this film became a hit on home video. Jack Frost isn't high art, but it's silly fun on a very low budget.
The film opens on a snowy December night, as serial killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is being transferred to the site of his execution. Passing through the town of Snowmonton, Jack kills his guard as the vehicle crashes into a genetic research tanker truck. Jack is exposed to the chemicals from the tanker and fuses with the snow, allowing him to became a killer snow man, and take vengeance on Sam Tiler (Christopher Allport), the sheriff who arrested him years earlier in Snowmonton.
And in the silliest ways possible. Just saying.
Of course, the FBI gets involved, downplaying the threat though knowing what happened to Jack. Sam does his best to confront the killer that promised vengeance upon him and his family, but he has a hard time finding the killer, as the town has a snowman contest, giving Jack perfect cover.
And so, holiday mayhem ensues.
Look, this isn't a good film by any stretch of the imagination. But it's great cheesy fun, thanks to the script and the cast. We get some funny moments, such as when the authorities mull over the cause of death of Jack's first victim as a snowman. The scene where Jill (Shannon Elisabeth, in her film debut) and her boyfriend Tommy strip down for some sexy time is pretty funny, as they both shed multiple layers of clothing (reminds me of how we layer clothing in Portland). And again, kudos to the cast for playing their roles as straight as they could. The film wouldn't have worked without their efforts, and they deserve an award for that.
Okay, no laughing as you hold the killer snowman at bay with a blowdryer. And, ACTION!
As expected, the snowman effects are laugh inducing, as Jack looks like a fourth rate Muppet. But the kills are pretty nasty, even the ludicrous decapitation by sled moment. And with the actors not winking to the camera, it makes the campiness of the film work. If you can handle some low budget effects and the basic silliness of the plot, this film is a blast.
But, I have to say, Jill's demise is too nasty for this film. Jack's vanishing nose during her death has some horrid implications, which delves into grindhouse territory and doesn't fit with the tone set up by the rest of the film. While Cooney filmed the scene as tastefully as possible, it's a jarring moment in such a silly film.
Why does the film have to be remembered for this moment? Oh yeah, naked Shannon Elisabeth.
Of course, the film ends with the possibility of a sequel. I think this would have been better if the film was just a stand-alone feature, but the film did well enough to ensure a second entry. Even as a fan of cheesy low budget horror, I've seen Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, and it just doesn't work. More on that one later.
Again, I'm not saying this reaches the level of high art horror. But if you're looking for some goofy, gory fun during the holidays, Jack Frost delivers. Lower your expectations and you will enjoy this slice of cheesy goodness. And that's all you need on a dark and stormy December night.
Wrapped around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday!