Blu-ray Review: Jack Frost

There was a little confusion when Vinegar Syndrome announced they were releasing a movie from the ’90s, called Jack Frost about a dead man being reincarnated as a snow man. Why would the champions of obscure exploitation flicks be releasing a major studio film starring Oscar nominated Michael Keaton? Turns out that in an odd set coincidences, there are two movies about guys turning into snowman that were released as Jack Frost in the late ’90s. The Keaton version was a massive box office flop in 1998. The year before audiences thrilled to Jack Frost that wasn’t aimed to be heartwarming, but bloodchilling.

Jack Frost (Star Trek: Enterprise‘s Scott MacDonald) is being transported to the prison where he’ll be executed that wintry night. The serial killer’s final journey takes him past the small town of Snowmonton where lucky Sheriff Sam Tiler (Savage Weekend‘s Christopher Allport) ended his Frost’s bloody run. But his trip to the death chamber is interrupted. He kills the guard in the back, but before he can escape into the night, his transport gets hit by a tanker truck carrying an experimental acid. Jack basically dissolves into a bloody mess into the white snow. This allows the police to sense a bit of relief that they don’t have to go through with the execution. What don’t realize is that Jack Frost has transformed into a supernatural monster. He’s now able to take the form of a snowman. He’s ready to get back in the killing game and wants to torture Sheriff Tiler and the citizens of Snowmonton with a rampage that exposes the dark side of Frosty the Snowman.

This Jack Frost is so much better than the other Jack Frost. The serial killer snowman is more fun than whatever we were supposed to think Michael Keaton was supposed to be. This Jack Frost must have had a budget of a million dollars while the other Jack Frost was close to $100 million. The shoestring budget makes this much more hilarious. The filmmakers appear to have the first major problem of a lack of snow especially in the early scenes. They come up with creative ways to cover what mother nature refused to provide. The fake snow appears to be mashed potatoes covered in coconut. The snowman contest has a Styrofoam feel. But this lack of snow doesn’t screw with the believable nature of the plot. Plus it makes the killer snowman effect blend easily on the screen. The highlight of the snowman attacks is when he sneaks up on Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) in the bathtub. The action is completely absurd yet makes perfect sense in the weirdness that’s come before. This is a great film to break out on a winter’s night when there’s real snow on the ground.

The videos is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer is dazzling compared to the old VHS copies that were floating around for decades. The added resolution makes it easy to see the elements in the fake snow. The audio is a new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that makes things sound a little bit colder. The original mix is featured in a Dolby Digital 2.0. The movie is subtitled.

Director’s Introduction (0:37) has Michael Cooney thanking you for buying or renting the Blu-ray.

Happy Scary (16:00) let’s actor MacDonald discusses getting to play a homicidal snowman. He liked playing a character that never thought he could lose.

Shooting Frost (6:10) spends time with cinematographer Dean Lent (Gas, Food and Lodging). He recalls having to do a lot of camera tricks to cover the lack of snow on the ground. These are great tips.

Audio Commentary with Michael Cooney gets deep into the production. He admits he almost had Renny Harlin direct it except Geena Davis wanted to make Cutthroat Island. He also mentions how it was a dry and warm winter when they made it. But you can’t change up too much when you are making a low budget film.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Jack Frost. Directed by: Michael Cooney. Screenplay by: Michael Cooney & Jeremy Paige. Starring: Christopher Allport, Scott MacDonald, F. William Parker, Rob LaBelle & Shannon Elizabeth. Running Time: 89 minutes. Rated: R. Released: December 13, 2016.

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