Man Beast (1956) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Man Beast (1956)Man Beast (1956) by #JerryWarren
#AsaMaynor #TomMaruzzi #LloydNelson

While searching the Himalayas for her brother, a woman and her companions find the lair of a furious Yeti.

“Hair-raising excitement in the icy lair of man-like creatures roaming the roof of the world!”

“SEE: Death-drop at 21,000 feet!”

#Horror #SciFi

Man Beast (1956) is a good old-fashioned bad movie – sort of like Edward D. Wood Jr. used to make. The acting is stilted, the dialogue is mostly bad, and it’s hard to know where one ends in the other begins. It’s quite low budget, which is obvious because there are very few actors and very few sets. Looking at it objectively, it would be hard to single out one good thing about this movie… which may be precisely why I found it so hard to resist.

So, Man Beast (1956) is a Monster Movie?

Unlike many monster movies, we don’t see a series of attacks by a monster in Man Beast. Rather, the first half of the movie is spent mainly watching characters talk and walk. There is a long sequence in which characters scale a sheer rock wall. Oddly enough, we don’t even see much snow (or any) at this point. We see a couple of glimpses of the yeti, but there won’t be any real interaction with the beast until the last half of the film. And even then, not too much.

The first big monster attack scene, in which the yeti goes after the entire group, was clearly shot in a studio. It’s a pitch black space and all we can see are the people and the yeti. The battle is a sort of montage of action shots, which don’t create a clear picture of what exactly happens. We see the yeti run across the screen in three or four separate shots, one after the other. I’m not sure if this is supposed to represent the yeti running for a long distance, or if this is some sort of stylistic choice, emphasizing the running as an important moment. In short, it’s a confusing scene.

Groovy movie, man…

The effect of this strange yeti attack scene was almost psychedelic, and I found myself wondering if Man Beast had ever been screened at midnight – perhaps with a psychedelic band playing.

So, Man Beast is really bad?

In the end, Man Beast is not as bad as the worst “Ed Wood” type of movie. Although, the filmmaker, Jerry Warren, is considered to be somewhat of an “Ed Wood” type director. Known for trash classics like Teenage Zombies (1959), which rates 2.9 on the IMDb, and Frankenstein Island (1981), which rates a 2.0 on the IMDb, Man Beast was actually his first movie – and it rates better than most; a 4.2 on the IMDB. So, Jerry Warren had yet to perfect his signature “bad movie” style. Still, it’s not very good.

What’s the final verdict?

Man Beast (1956) is much easier to take than certain other “bad” movies I’ve recently watched – like, say, certain films directed by W. Lee Wilder, for instance. The story of Man Beast is more innocent, and typical of a Saturday afternoon monster movie. It has no pretensions to being anything else. It would have been better if it had contained several monster attack scenes peppered throughout the running time, but knowing how low the budget was, one can’t be too judgemental about that.

Man Beast is, without a doubt, NotQuiteClassicCinema. It’s the type of movie that I would have enjoyed as a young person watching TV late at night – but it would not have been my favourite. At 62 minutes, it’s still pretty easy to take, and one could do worse than include it as a third or fourth feature of an all night “bad” movie marathon. For those who like Sasquatch and Yeti movies, it’s a must see. For the rest of us… well, you could certainly do worse than add it to your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.