7 More Days ’til Halloween, 2016: SNOWBEAST (1977) & DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1982)

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My intention today was to post THE BLOODSTAINED LAWN. Isn’t that a wonderful title? And such a fun movie, too. Unfortunately, the English dubbed version has been removed from the internet due to copyright infringement. That left me scrambling. I knew that I wanted to post something fun…something that can be watched and enjoyed without a great deal of thought, but I simply don’t have the time to do a last minute internet search for something appropriately rare and weird to fulfill those requirements.

My alternative is to fall back on some well-loved, nostalgic 70s television horror movies…and that is no real sacrifice on my part.

SNOWBEAST is by no means a great movie. Chances are, if you’re a fan of horror, you’ve already seen it. It’s been in the public domain for quite some time so it always ends up in those “Ten Horror Movies For Only Ten Dollars!” DVD sets along with unwatchable, badly scanned copies of HORROR EXPRESS and the like. I’m not recommending it for its overall  quality today (though it has its charms that I would defend), but only for the music.

The composer of SNOWBEAST’s score was Robert Prince. He did the music for a whole host of creepy 70s television movies as well as incidental music for popular TV shows like The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (…the Space Vampire episode!) He’s also the composer who did the wonderful score for GARGOYLES (posted earlier), but I think the score for SNOWBEAST is his 1970s television horror movie masterpiece.

For Americans of a certain age (read: my age) who have any feelings of nostalgia for their youth and a corresponding love of horror movies, the soundtrack to SNOWBEAST is instant access, like pushing a button, to good, cozy memories. Even the sound of the dialogue – just the tone of the actor’s voices – is iconically stereotypical. I recommend putting SNOWBEAST on in the background while puttering around the house for an instant transformation of your environment into a stress-free Saturday morning at home circa 1980 (or thereabouts).

If you want to focus on the music alone, I’ve uploaded a Youtube video of the soundtrack recorded straight from the video (…no soul destroying remastering involved). I personally enjoy listening to it while going to sleep. It’s very relaxing.

Unlike SNOWBEAST, DON’T GO TO SLEEP is a well respected television horror classic. It is actually frightening and has a reputation, like TRILOGY OF TERROR or (the original) DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, of causing the kind of long remembered childhood nightmares that usually results in a remake by a mediocre middle-aged director. Fortunately DON’T GO TO SLEEP still remains un-revisioned and I hope it stays that way as there is no need to amp up its scares for a 21st century audience. It is unusually intense for a television horror movie from the early 80s and certainly well cast. Valerie Harper is excellent in her role and, seriously, when is Ruth Gordon ever not fun to watch?

Though it came out the same year as POLTERGEIST and was very likely capitalizing on the popularity of that film, DON’T GO TO SLEEP is not merely derivative and, in many ways, it’s more serious and emotionally touching than POLTERGEIST. The poltergeist activity in DON’T GO TO SLEEP is often more disturbing than in POLTERGEIST without relying upon expensive special effects. DON’T GO TO SLEEP is also willing to go into thematic territory that one does not usually expect from a television film and the shock of that realization, once it comes, adds to its ability to scare.

Soooo….some pure nostalgia today, a nice little audio time-capsule for 70s horror freaks to nod off to, and a quality, well-acted television horror film. Not so bad considering it’s a last minute post…

SNOWBEAST (1977) – MUSIC BY ROBERT PRINCE:

SNOWBEAST (1977) – FULL MOVIE:

DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1982):

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