d. Jerry Warren (1956)
My expectations were low for this film, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself watching lots of (generally well filmed) footage of a small group of people traipsing through snow and climbing mountains hunting for the Abominable Snowman, especially as, every now and again, a scruffy looking Yeti would appear from behind a rock or from a hole in the ice to watch their progress and shake his manky head at the folly of it all. Then, towards the end of the film, when a sinister mountain guide ripped open his silk chemise to reveal a coarsely matted white hairy chest, declaiming that he was part Yeti himself, I choked on my can of Lilt and ascended into psychotronic heaven powered by the sheer silly brilliance of it all.
It seems that the Yeti are simultaneously at several stages of evolution. Some look like albino gorillas with skulls for faces (they mainly do the heavy work); some are more man than beast, facilitated by a breeding programme with kidnapped local women. The sinister mountain guide is particularly excited about getting his hands on the sole female in the expedition, an American woman, as he believes that their offspring would perhaps skip two generations of development, maybe putting a Yeti in the White House by the year 2,000.
Triple threat film maker Jerry Warren is often criticised for the sheer shoddiness of much of his output, but, on this evidence, he could also put something half way decent together when he wanted to. Man Beast is cheap, yes, but it is also fun, engaging, surprising and the mountain footage is nicely done. Sure, it's no La Regle du jeu, but then I've always thought the highly rated French classic conspicuously lacking in Yeti action.