In 1998 Michael Keaton played a musician reincarnated as a snowman in the sappy family flick Jack Frost. Should a mother, father or unaware baby-sitter go to the video store to pick up said film for the litt-luns, let’s hope they don’t confuse it for Michael Cooney’s horror flick of the same name. Of course, the gruesome lenticular cover showing a happy snowman morphing into some freaky looking snowman with abundant fangs should be a dead give away. But then again, this Jack Frost is much more entertaining.
Jack Frost (Michael Cooney) is a convicted serial killer set to be executed. On his way to his final stop as a living human being, his transport gets in an accident and Jack is doused with some mysterious acid that turns him into a snowman with a soul. The idea is much the same as Chucky from Child’s Play – Jack is resurrected from the dead and has every intention in carrying on with his murderous ways. First stop: the town of Snowmonton.
Jack Frost is a pure and playful B-horror flick. It doesn’t try to hide the fact either. ‘Fer instance, take a look at the ground. It’s supposed to be the dead of winter but the only snow to be seen is in close-ups and in small spots on the ground. The roofs will reveal nice shades of brown, black and gray, the same as they are in the summer. Yet the folks of Snowmonton – a wintery locale if I ever did hear one – are in the middle of their winter festival. I guess the lesson of the story is that a budget of nothing limits the amount of fake snow you can produce so live with it and move on.
The film follows the familiar format of monster going out and killing people in senseless fashion with the surviving citizens banding together to try to stop it. But not before more people die. And then a couple more after that. As gruesome as it might seem, Jack Frost is at its best when Jack is on the prowl. Aside from spewing out awful pun-infused dialogue, he comes up with some rather sick methods of bringing on death. A pre-American Pie Shannon Elizabeth meets the Grim Reaper after being frozen in a bathtub. Another boy gets decapitated by a slow-moving sled. And you know, it’s pretty darn funny. Flashback to the previous paragraph and note the low-budget constraints. Although a boy having his head chopped off should in no way cause a chuckle but it’s so over-the-top it’s hard not to.
Cooney knows that he cannot pull off everything in the script to perfection so he acknowledges it to the audience by forgoing realism. Rather he winks at the camera giving us something to laugh at that would otherwise be just plain bad. But in making it really, really, horribly bad, Jack Frost is at the very least entertaining. And is there anything else you could ask for from a B-movie about a serial-killing snowman?
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