Running time: 89 mins
Director: Michael Cooney
Starring: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel
For the alternative Christmas it was a toss up between this film and the one starring Michael Keaton of the same name for scariest film starring a snowman. Tails never fails so Michael Cooney’s seasonal serial killer is up.
For five years Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) has terrorised five different states, now en route to his execution when a tanker carrying “genetic material” crashes as does the prison transit. As Jack attempts to escape he’s killed by the flowing acid and returns as a snowman with a mean streak.
There are a lot of reasons why you should hate this film. For one the script is (perhaps) two thirds of a first draft with the most implausible horror device in a very long time. It’s probably a lot to do with the construction of the opening act as it’s quite similar to Child’s Play yet it jars with every instinct. The storyline is classically horror and never really tries to push the boundaries, serial killer with supernatural ability, Federal Agent who brought him in back on the trail and a town full of slaughter victims to be. The cinematography doesn’t push the envelope which always seems to make a cheap looking movie that little bit cheaper yet there’s definitely some positives to take from it. Pound for pound it has to have the most amount of one liners any film has ever had and unbelievably they all hit the mark…it’s actually worrying just how much fun you’ll have quoting them later.
The script, though simplistic, doesn’t take itself seriously…at all really. It’s actually endearing in an odd and often hilariously wrong kind of way. Jack Frost gave Shannon Elizabeth, arguably, her break and also probably the crown king of Christmas killings ever committed to film which includes a tub, a crotch carrot and a sexual assault on Miss Elizabeth (Jill). It shouldn’t be funny at all but the outlandish and daring nature of the scene puts it firmly in the stable of John Waters and Frank Henenlotter and for that praise can’t be high enough.
Scott MacDonald gives a rather wooden performance (while in his own skin) unblinking Manson eyes included but really comes into his own when he’s voicing Jack the snowman. Stephen Mendel (as Agent Manners) is an actor that’s been around the proverbial block (The X-Files, 24, Night Heat, The Terminal) and in him is a face of experience that the film desperately needs. Every evil antagonist needs a strong and powerful protagonist and even more so when your antagonist is a snowman with a bad attitude. Mendel has to compensate for the lack of realism Jack adds to the film and for the most part he achieves it, though at times it’s a really close call. Similarly F. William Parker (Paul Davrow) is used to playing to the absurd with Falcon Crest and his experiences are called upon here again. It’s difficult to tell whether Parker gets it, clearly Cooney and MacDonald get it and are enjoying themselves making the film but at times Parker seems to phone it in.
Jack Frost is a real movie of two opinions. On the one hand you see the problems, the shortcomings in script and budget and the fact that from start to finish it’s generic and uneven. Yet there’s something fantastic about it, Cooney’s script has been penned with tongue firmly placed in cheek and he has passed this on to cast and crew alike. An ethos of fun has clearly been instilled in every moment of the film and it shines through. Honestly it’s not a film that’s going to stay with you any longer than the amount of time it takes to watch it, it's not original and it all too often fails will leave you wondering what you're doing watching it but it does exactly what it sets out to do which is entertain.