Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century! And he’s ready to funk your shoes off!
Yeti the Funky Giant of the 20th Century is a mentally retarded Italian/Canadian produced ripoff of King Kong (1976) which starts off with some quick stock-footage of ice melting in some very cold place. A big block of ice is found in the Newfoundland’s coast of Canada with two big feet popping out. Professor Waterman is being sent by a sleazy industry tycoon for an oil company to study the giant, and he brings with him his orphan grandchildren Jane, her younger mute brother Herbie, and of course their Collie. A big happy family who will sit together on the front row and witness the first glimpse of the creature, after they melt the block with several flamethrowers. The big furry creature is then transported by a helicopter to the Canadian mainlands, with Yeti dangling unconscious in something that looks like a big phone booth. Things seem to go pretty smooth and dandy so far, but just wait. Oh, just wait…
As soon they descend him to the ground, surrounded by an excited audience waiving their Canadian flags who cant wait to be the first to witness this freakshow, Yeti wakes up and it’s all an epic and spectacular cinematic madhouse from here on that you have to see with your own sober eyes to believe. Yeti looks like a hairy and funky incarnation of a giant pot smoking Jesus Christ with a fluffy Tina Turner wig and enough fur to hide his giant pipeline. He’s so funky you’d expect him to show us some dance moves any time, but instead he screams like an elephant and poses to the camera with various insane goofy facial expressions. It’s truly something else. The guy in the Yeti costume, Mimmo Crau, appeared in the TV mini series Jesus of Nazareth the same year, by the way. But not as Jesus, unfortunately, that coincidence would have been too funny.
After Yeti releases himself, he grabs the two grandchildren of professor Waterman and wanders away to the wilderness. The stockholm syndrome hits in turbo speed and a spiritual romantic bond in some bizarre Beauty and the Beast style evolves between Yeti and Jane, as she looks and gaze at him with the most manic borderline-seducing eyeballs. But nah, don’t even think about it: The actress was only sixteen years old at the time, so there’s no kinky furry sex for your fetish fantasies here. And not that I wanted to see that either. The closest we get to a tiny hint of a love scene that never happened is when Jane touches around Yeti’s breast which erects his nipple. Groovy.
The best parts is when Yeti is placed on the top of a high building in Toronto, because why not, and causes absolute mayhem like Stay Puft Marshmellow Man in full psychotic saturday night fever dream where the only thing missing is some funk music to put the cherry on top. And for that we have a music video where Yeti cheerfully smashes miniature walls, having fun with an elevator stuffed with panicked people like an overstimulated five-year old playing with lego and action figures, and uses the windows to smash his feet in to climb safely down.
He also kills one of the bad guys by strangling him with his toes. But that’s far from all, there’s so much more, and if you’re piss-tired of monster films (especially some of the modern ones) which mainly focuses on boring human characters and treat the monster(s) like an afterthought, well, this one is made for you.
Most scenes with Yeti consists of close-ups of his head, feet and hands. Two separte shots are used in the purest and primitive stone age of movie magic technology, when we see him in full form to give us the illusion that’s he’s bigger than he really is. And unless you’ve been too drunk while watching this you’ve clearly seen that he shrinks and grows throughout the film. In a scene he seems as big as The Statue of Liberty and in the next not so much. The Ed wood school of filmmaking, more or less, where minor details like this doesn’t matter.
Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century is released on a pretty juicy Blu-ray by the German based Wicked Vision. It’s filled with bonus features which includes a poster, cards, booklet and more. It also have the original Italian theatrical version of 104 minutes and the German dubbed version, both with English subtitles.
Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Writers: Mario di Nardo, Gianfranco Parolini, Marcello Coscia
Original title: Yeti – Il gigante del 20° secolo
Also known as: Yeti – der schneemensch kommt (Germany)
Country & year: Italy, Canada, 1977
Actors: Antonella Interlenghi, Mimmo Crao, Jim Sullivan, Tony Kendall, Edoardo Faieta, John Stacy, Stelio Candelli, Loris Bazzocchi, Indio, Donald O’Brien, Aldo Canti