Monday, December 2, 2013

Jack Frost (1997): Frost Bitten, Twice Shy

Jack Frost 1997 movie poster
En route to his execution, mass murderer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is killed after being involved in an auto accident with a vehicle containing a top secret hazardous material that turns the madman into a living, breathing, pun-spewing killer snowman made out of fabric and oversized oven mitts. And what’s worse than a living, breathing, pun-spewing killer snowman made out of fabric and oversized oven mitts? A living, breathing, pun-spewing killer snowman made out of fabric and oversized oven mitts that’s looking to take vengeance on the small town sheriff that had him put away.

1997’s Jack Frost specializes in overly ridiculous entertainment. It’s pretty much inherent to the storyline, as the moment you mention “killer snowman” it is impossible to hold back some sort of an eye raising smirk. When a filmmaker comes up with an idea as goofy as a killer snowman, the best thing to do is embrace the humor of the situation, which is exactly what director Michael Cooney does with Jack Frost. Jack Frost is as much a stupid horror movie as it is a foolish comedy, which can be a difficult balancing act, especially if you aren’t able to deliver some genuine laughs.

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As a comedy, Jack Frost has some genuinely humorous moments; however, while some of the jokes land well, there are also plenty that fall flat. At times, certain situations are effectively more humorous than their execution, and the fact that the film avoids going too far over the top and into that late-era Troma type of territory makes it an infinitely more tolerable watch. That’s not to say that Jack Frost isn’t over the top, because it is; it’s just far less obnoxious than it could be.

Jack Frost is notable as the film debut of Shannon Elizabeth. However, it’s even more notable for being the film where Shannon Elizabeth’s character, Jill, is raped by Jack Frost while taking a bath. The sight of a killer snowman sexually abusing a girl with his carrot is mind-bogglingly outrageous. In fact, the entire situation is as stupid as it is funny as it is offensive, but if it wasn’t all three of those things, then it certainly wouldn’t be nearly as memorable a scene as it is.

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*Obligatory paragraph dedicated to the Michael Keaton starring Jack frost and the irony that comes from two human/snowman movies being released within a few years of one another, yet one is a family film while the other is a low-grade horror flick*

Director Michael Cooney has a very scant amount of directing credits to his name. Three to be exact -- with two of them being of the Jack Frost variety. His writing credits are slightly more impressive (save for that horrific ending to 2003’s Identity), but I think it’s safe to say that he will forever be associated with the creation of Jack Frost. I suppose things could be worse for someone in the film business. It’s better to be remembered as the guy who wrote and directed those killer snowman movies than the guy that no one remembers at all. And no amount of antifreeze can take that away from him.

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Outside of a few exceptions, 1996 wasn’t a banner year for what you could call great horror cinema. The year brought about a bevy of awful direct to video sequels to franchises that had already long overstayed their welcome. On the other end, there were some original movies that hit the horror scene, but many of those ended up being toilet bound. It’s tough to say if the toilet is the destination for a film like Jack Frost, as it’s simply one of those movies that will draw the ire of some while bringing a certain joy to others. I suppose it all comes down to the type of movie fan you are.


  1. I love me some Jack Frost, but I actually love the sequel even more. Then again, I like snowball jokes.

    The Shannon Elizabeth scene is particularly memorable because before being raped by a snowman, she comes home to blow dry her hair for what feels like ages, and then does the totally logical thing that all us ladies do by after blow drying our hair for ages, we step into a bubble bath and get it wet all over gain.

    That's one of those minor annoyances that keeps me from ever fully embracing this film.

    1. I haven't seen the sequel, but I know it's going to have to happen at some point! Maybe I'll review it next year.

      I wrote something about the Jack Frost rape scene some years ago, specifically mentioning the fact that she blow dries her hair before taking a bath. I can only conclude that they did it on purpose to be funny, because it's obviously the dumbest thing one could ever do. It's like cleaning your rear before you poop!

      Also, how is it that she is so horny and ready to bone her boyfriend after her brother dies?!


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