Upon its release in 2006, Ryan Schifrin's Abominable was sadly lost in a sea of CGI laden SyFy (then Sci-Fi) Channel Originals and as time passed, the film was forgotten more and more. Thankfully, MVD Rewind have given the film new life with a glorious new Blu-ray release! Being that this film is one of my all-time favorite creature features, I couldn't be more excited to dive into and dissect this release.
The film begins with a farmer named Billy Hoss (Rex Linn) and his wife Ethel (Dee Wallace) being awakened in the middle of the night by something disturbing their horses. Billy thinks it's coyotes, he couldn't be more wrong. Grabbing his gun and their dog Sparky, Billy and Ethel head out to the pasture to discover one of his horses completely ripped apart by something lurking in the forest. Sparky breaks free from Billy's grasp and is quickly disposed of upon entering the treeline. Realizing that this is no coyote they're dealing with, the couple decide it's best to retreat back into their home. Once inside, Billy and Ethel hear beast make its rounds and wander off, leaving behind massive footprints in the snow.
The film then takes us to our main plot, we're introduced to Preston Rogers (Matt McCoy), a rock climber who's on his way home after recovering from a horrible accident. An accident that led to the death of his wife and left him wheelchair bound. Accompanied by his rather cruel nurse and caregiver, Otis Wilhelm (Christien Tinsley), the two arrive a Preston's mountain top cabin. Shortly after, a car full of young women arrive at the neighboring cabin and begin to party, garnering some unwanted attention from the beast that's roaming the property.
While watching the girls through his binoculars, Preston notices that one of them mysteriously disappears. Hysteria increasing, Preston does all that he can to warn Otis, the local authorities and the surviving girls that something big is on the loose. Of course, no one listens and it's up to the handicapped widower to outwit the beast, save the girls, and escape with his life.
Best described by most as Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window meets a violent Sasquatch flick, Abominable is pure creature feature gold. Harnessing a retro vibe, the film's special effects are mostly practical with some very inventive and brutal deaths thrown into the mix. The creature itself looks fantastic and holds up to this day! I'm so happy that the filmmakers chose the man in a suit approach as opposed to early 2000's CGI. Abominable also features a great supporting cast, including genre legends Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, and scream queen Tiffany Shepis.
Onto the technical aspects of this release, MVD Rewind have really outdone themselves and given the film the modern release that it deserves. Originally shot on 35mm, Abominable has received a stunning new 2K transfer from the original camera negatives. The visuals have been given a major upgrade in every sense of the word, boasting all new color correction/timing and improved effects, I'm amazed at how much better the film looks! Sharpness and details are crisp and clear, with black levels and contrast showing a much wider range. This release's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also takes the film's audio to a whole new level with ambient surround sound effects and rumbling beast noises. The dialogue is also presented clearer than ever.
In terms of bonus features, MVD Rewind loaded this release up with all sorts of goodies. We're given a new introduction with director Ryan Schifrin in which he talks about the film's new transfer and editing. This is one of the best directorial intros that I've ever seen as Schifrin actually talks about things that fans will care about with this new cut of the film. There's an awesome Audio Commentary track with Schifrin, Editor Chris Conlee, and actors Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs. The track is very in-depth with production notes, on-set memories, and various technical details, it's a delight to listen to. The ”Back to Genre: Making ABOMINABLE” featurette is a nearly 40-minute journey into creating this wonderful Bigfoot flick. There's some deleted/extended scenes and outtakes, these don't really offer much enjoyment in comparison to the rest of the features. Two short films are included, Shadows is Ryan Schifrin's student film from his USC days and Basil & Mobius: No Rest For The Wicked is a short film written and directed by Ryan Schifrin featuring a score by legendary composer Lalo Schifrin and starring Zachari Levi, Ray Park, Malcolm McDowell and Kane Hodder. Both shorts offer an enjoyable experience, with the latter being one of the funnest shorts I've ever seen. MVD also chose to include the entire original version of Abominable, which is a great tool in comparing how vastly improved the new cut is. Rounding out the bonus features are the Original Theatrical Trailer, a Poster & Still Gallery, and a Storyboard Gallery.
Abominable is a shining example of low-budget horror filmmaking. Using limited resources, Ryan Schifrin created an insanely fun and surprisingly unnerving monster film that still offers an exciting experience. I can't praise MVD Rewind enough for dusting this one off and presenting it to fans as a definitive new release. This is a must-own Blu-ray for fans and newcomers alike!
You can order your copy HERE.