Initially, before I'd even seen frame-one of this flick, I had so little faith in Frozen(2010), that I also started to watch Ski Party (1965), thinking to compare and contrast and mock. But as it turned out, Frozenis a top-notch little B-movie, and Ski Party is, gosh, a waste of time.
Frozen is also an awesome feel-bad movie, and a decent variation in the “trapped in one location” sub-genre of thriller.
A trio of kids bribe the lift operator for one last ski run on Sunday night before the lodge closes, but when he’s called away, the three college students are stuck in a lift chair, high above the ground, and miles from anywhere. In the cold. And the resort is closed for the week.
Oh yeah, there are wolves, too. This is a flick, like I Saw The Devil, that has a grim 1970s vibe—not necessarily a 1970s look or style (in fact, both Frozen and I Saw The Devil have very contemporary styles), but more like a similar philosophy:No one gets out of here alive (like those 1970s Cinemadnesses like Last House on the Left or Bava’s Rabid Dogs, or the excellent, similarly-themed and why-isn’t-it-available-on-DVD-yet TV movie A Cold Night’s Death). Yeah, Frozen could easily be an Italian-German co-production from the late-1960s…Too bad they didn’t think of it then. But that’s to our benefit!
Frozen also reminded me of a modern Jack London story: a man against nature fight for survival—and often man is not up to the task, with survival becoming a roll of the dice.
Frozen is helped immensely by making its three leads as well-developed as possible, so the horror is magnified. Some of the kids may be annoying sometimes, but even they are given humanity. It’s something too few horror films do today: give us characters with depth, people we are willing to invest our time with—something very important in a “one-set” film. Director Adam Green keeps the camera mobile— and the flick never lacks decent cinematography— but if we didn’t want to stick with the three kids, the flick could have been easily derailed.
I don’t want to give away much of the horrors that await our luckless skiers, but the ante is routinely upped, helped by some decent gore, great use of sound and lots of tension. The flick is often nervewracking, pushing into intensity frequently. Highly recommended. (Full Disclosure: Frozen was viewed via my Nflux Streamzining—which means my cash outlay was minimal. But, yeah, rent it.) Meanwhile, Ski Partyis snooze city, hep cats and cool kitties! Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman are really boring and do stupid things (with a major plot contrivance ripped off from Some Like It Hot).
Yvonne Craig is superfoxy, sure, but never on-screen enough, nor is she in a bikini (or spandex superhero costume or green paint) enough either.
The movie is only of interest to the most rabid of Lesley Gore or James Brown fans, both of whom make cameos in the flick. So our overaged “teens” chase Yvonne (and who could blame them?) and her roommate up to Sun Valley, Idaho (No, YOU da ’ho!) (Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk!)
Yes, the level of humor in Ski Party was like that. Thankfully, ski bunnies would turn up and do The Frug and The Twist, and honestly, it was awesome seeing all these healthy, natural hotties! Sure, they took care of their bodies and exercised, but it wasn;t to the robotic perfection of today. Just some nice, natural girls. Healthy chicks. All-American gals. Sigh….
Ms. Gore turns up on the Greyhound bus that the knuckleheads are taking to stalk two innocent college girls, wearing some unflattering gold lame` hiphuggers and enthusiastically but obviously lip-syncing to her pop ditty "Sunshine & Lollipops”—more on that in a second—
Later, JB and the Flames turn up as the ski patrol, partnered with booze-equipped sheepdogs. When Yvonne Craig recognizes James Brown, and chirps perky, “I have all your records!” I believe her.
Both musical superstars are obviously lip-syncing, but neither appeared in that many films, so I guess Ski Party is of historical value. But the movie cannot escape criticism then: It even wastes the talents of The Famous Flames, James Brown’s incredible syncopated back-up dancers, during Brown’s performance of the song “I Feel Good.” They are shunted to the side and ignored. This was a gig done only for money and possible exposure. Sigh… Your money/time is better spent digging up the original songs. I’m a big fan of Lesley Gore’s song "Sunshine & Lollipops"— especially how it’s used in the fantastic animated film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs—really one of the best films I saw in 2010, and an excellent variation on the Faust legend).
Here are the lyrics to "Sunshine & Lollipops" (written by Marvin Hamlisch), but it’s not the lyrics that make the song. It’s best to hunt it down and listen to it. NOW!
[It’s got this psychotic beat! I love it!]
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together, Brighter than a lucky penny, When you're near the rain cloud disappears, dear, And I feel so fine just to know that you are mine.
My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, That's how this refrain goes, so come on, join in everybody! Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, Everything that's wonderful is sure to come your way When you're in love to stay.
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together, Brighter than a lucky penny, When you're near the rain cloud disappears, dear, And I feel so fine just to know that you are mine.My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, That's how this refrain goes, so come on, join in everybody!
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, Everything that's wonderful is sure to come your way 'Cause you're in love, you're in love, And love is here to stay!
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.