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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Jack Frost (1997)

[3.0 turkeys]

It's hard to describe the stupidity and lunacy of this movie with words alone. If I could just show you one picture of that stupid snowman, or let you hear one of his stupid one liners, that would do more to convey the essense of this movie than anything I could write in a million years. But since I don't have the equipment or the rights to do that, I'll have to do my best with words alone.

Imagine, if you will, that world's fakest looking snowman. He's composed of three perfectly round sections, and he looks more like he's made out of shredded soap than snow. Sometimes he has arms, and sometimes he doesn't. He's got two lumps of coal for eyes, a carrot for a nose, and a hollow for a mouth. And he's a homocidal maniac. And that's only the beginning.

This movie opens with a voice over of an annoying man telling a bedtime story to his even more annoying niece. We never see these two, as the camera is too busy moving back and forth between Christmas ornaments that have the opening credits written on them. This is, unfortunately, the cleverest and best part of the whole movie.

Uncle Henry tells the story of a man named Jack Frost, who was a serial murderer. He moved from state to state killing people, always one step ahead of the law. However, he "slipped up" when suddenly pieces of his victims started "showing up" in pies. Yes, that's right. Apparently he somehow baked these people into pies and then had them sold or something. What? Why? Who knows. Uncle Henry speculates that Jack wanted to get caught. Baking people into pies has to be one of the all time worst methods I've ever heard of for "getting caught." Why didn't he just hang around one of his crime scenes a bit too long? But I guess if he's got enough time to chop people up and use them in pies and then get the pies to market, the local law enforcement can't have too much on the ball. He'd probably die of old age before they got around to investigating the actual crime scene.

Jack eventually got caught by a small town sheriff who arrested him when he got back from taking a leak on the side of the road. Jack just gives up and goes off to be executed. The movie picks up with Jack riding to his midnight execution in the back of the "State Executional Transfer Vehicle." I swear to you, that's what is written on the side of the truck. "State Executional Transfer Vehicle." Just like that. Executional. Somebody needs to hit the prop people over the head with a dictionary.

Jack somehow gets free of his cuffs and chokes out the guard in the back. The driver and his buddy in the front get a little worried, so they call back to their colleague. Jack reassures them that everything is all right, and they sigh with relief. The prisoner says everything is ok, and the guard doesn't respond at all, and these guys feel safe? Man, they deserve whatever they get.

The State Executional Transfer Vehicle has an accident, of course, as it collides with a big tanker truck or something. There is a really bad scene where everything tumbles around inside the truck, and Jack is thrown out the back door.

We cut to a scene involving the sheriff who captured Jack. He's driving with his wife, and he looks agitated. His wife reassures them that "Jack is dead by now," since it's after midnight. The sheriff doesn't look convinced.

Of course, he has every right to be unconvinced, since Jack is right now standing outside the overturned State Executional Transfer Vehicle with his cuffs off and is threatening the driver who has just crawled out of the truck.

Suddenly, this movie goes from bad to horrid. The tanker truck that the State Executional Transfer Vehicle collided with (which says "GCC Genetic Research" on the side of it in big letters) busts open and spews green acid all over Jack. Just before the acid hits him, Jack intones, "This is gonna hurt." This is only the first of many painful one liners from Jack.

Jack dissolves slowly in a scene not unlike the end scene from The Evil Dead but not as gross. The guard, who is standing about three feet from Jack, doesn't get a drop of the acid on him. As Jack dissolves, the guard squints and winces a bit. He looks dumbfounded more than anything. His reaction to watching a guy dissolve before his eyes is hilariously unconvincing.

Out of nowhere we get some bad computer animation. And I mean really bad. We're talking mid-80s stuff here. We learn later that the animation was supposed to be showing us Jack's DNA bonding with the snow. Yes indeed, the aptly named Jack Frost has become one with the snow. After Jack's body has been dissolved completely by the gene-altering acid, the snow itself starts to writhe around crazily, while the still sorta-dumbfounded guard dutifully looks on, not wanting to tax his system by doing any acting.

The sheriff comes upon the crash site, but the state cops are already there and shoo him away. The driver of the State Executional Transfer Vehicle is still alive, and he babbles some stuff about the snow being alive to the paramedics, who of course don't believe him.

From here the movie plods along slowly, trying to build something resembling a plot. We find out that Jack swore to kill the sheriff's family if he ever got the chance. We also learn that the sheriff has an annoying son who likes to cook weird crap for his father. The little boy stands at the stove in one scene, stirring a brown concoction with a wooden spoon. Before his father goes to work, he spoons out some of these "oats" into a plastic bag. I wouldn't even mention either of these things, but they actually become important (in different ways) later on.

The sheriff then goes off to work. The whole town is covered with the fakest looking snow I've ever seen. They didn't even try to make it look like anything other than shredded soap. The sheriff passes what is apparently a snowman building contest and hears a really corny joke from one of the participants. "What's the difference between snowmen and snowwomen?" Give up? "Snowballs." Har har har. Again, I wouldn't even bother mentioning this bit of non-humor if not for the fact that it actually comes up again later.

The sheriff gets to work and finds out that someone in town was killed during the night. Turns out it was some old man who lives outside of town, so he treks up there with his deputies to see him. Sure enough, he's dead. When he gets back, the townspeople are panicking, wondering if they have a maniac on the loose. The owner of the local general store shouts out that everyone can come to his store and buy guns and ammo, and there will be a "20% discount for an emergency." This guy proves to be the worst businessman in the world. He pops up several times throughout the movie, and every time he's got something else on sale for 20% off. How does he make any money if he keeps discounting everything at the drop of a hat?

Finally, things actually start to happen. A snowman apears on the front lawn of the sheriff's house, and neither the sheriff's wife nor the sheriff's son have any idea how it got there. So of course the little boy goes out and decorates this mystery snowman, just because. He puts on the eyes and nose and hollows out a mouth. Let me again take this time to repeat the fact this all of this snow isn't at all convincing. I keep waiting for it to rain and the whole place to suds up.

The local bully shows up with his gang just as the sheriff's son is completing the snowman. Billy tells the little boy to get out of his way, because he's in the middle of the sled run. This must be the flattest town on Earth if the local "sled run" is across the perfectly flat driveway of the sheriff's house. One of Billy's friends hops on his sled and somehow actually gets it to move across the level ground, and suddenly the snowman whacks Billy with an arm that he didn't have two seconds ago. Billy falls down right in the path of his friend, and the runner of the sled cuts his head clean off and sends it flying crazily through the air. I laughed so hard at this scene, I almost threw up. It was just such a string of impossible events runned together that I just couldn't take it. Nobody notices the snowman grow arms and whack Billy. Billy's friend can't stop his sled that is moving over perfectly level ground. The very un-sharp runner of the sled (I used to have one of those sleds -- I know) not only manages to slice Billy's head clean off but it also has enough force to send it careening through the air afterwards. If there were classes on how to make bad movies, this scene would definitely be part of the curriculum.

We time slip an indeterminate amount of time, and Billy's father and mother are standing in the sheriff's driveway while an ambulance takes their son away. Billy's father misses his cue and doesn't start his ranting and raving until after the camera has already panned to him. So he's initially just standing there, and then suddenly he starts yelling and screaming. Classic stuff.

The sheriff calms everyone down and sends them home by saying, "Let's all keep Billy in our prayers." Why bother? He's dead. Praying for him now won't help him a lick.

Now I'm going to ask you all the question that suddenly occured to me during this scene. Why did any of this happen? The snowman is Jack Frost, of course, and Jack Frost has sworn to kill the sheriff and his family. Well, he just had the perfect chance. He had the little boy and the wife all alone, with no one around. But instead of just going and killing them, he instead kills some random guy. Then, later on that night, he presumably just leaves. He was right there, he had the means, the motive, and the opportunity. And instead, he does something totally stupid, then just takes off. Yeesh.

That night, just for a random scare, the shopkeeper delivers some salt to the sheriff and offers a 20% discount.

We cut to Billy's family. Billy's sister doesn't seem to care that her brother just got killed, as she's going out to see her boyfriend. Her father gets all upset and goes outside to have a smoke. The snowman is out there. Billy's dad either doesn't notice the snowman that is right in front of his face or doesn't think anything of the fact that a snowman just appeared in his back yard and sits down on the woodpile to have his smoke. Jack kills him, and I figured it served him right for being so supremely dense. Jack then goes inside and strangles Billy's mom with the Christmas lights while happy music plays on the soundtrack.

The shopkeeper shows up, still peddling his salt door-to-door in the middle of the night. He sees the snowman moving around and runs away. We are then treated with a classic Japanese monster movie flight scene, as the shopkeeper looks back over his shoulder every few steps as he books it down the road.

The sheriff decides to call in the FBI. Agent Manners and Agent Stone show up, and they apparently know everything about the case but won't tell anyone else. I think "Agent" Stone was actually a scientist who worked for "GCC Genetic Research," but it doesn't really matter anyway.

Agent Manners asks to see the "MVs." "Motor Vehicles?" asks the sheriff. "Murder Victims," says Agent Manners. D'oh!

Everyone goes out to where Billy's parents are, and Stone confirms that it's Jack Frost they're after by using some equipment from Ghostbusters to test the watery "footprint" he left behind. We also learn that Jack can thaw and refreeze at will, so he can leak under doors and stuff.

They all go back into town, and the sheriff calls a town meeting. He imposes a "24 hour curfew," so everyone goes outside. The shopkeeper shows up and starts yelling about the snowman. Agent Manners hauls off and punches him -- but the punch is so slow I wonder why the guy didn't get out of the way and how much it could have hurt him anyway.

The sheriff decides to send his deputies out to move the plot along some more. He sends one back to the most recent crime scene in order to check out the shopkeeper's story and the other to his house to get his wife and son and bring them to the station, because he just realized that he left them at home with a deranged killer on the loose.

While en route to Billy's parents' house, the deputy meets Jack standing in the middle of the road with one of those hand-held stop signs. I burst out laughing, as you can probably imagine, by trying to picture a snowman holding a stop sign and looking menacing. Anyway, the deputy gets killed, of course, and Jack drives the car away! My laughter at the previous scene had not yet died down when this happened, so I very nearly had to pause the movie to get over the ludicrous image of a snowman sitting in the front seat of a car, driving it down the road.

The other deputy makes it safely to the sheriff's house, collects his wife and son, and drives them away. As they pull away, we see that Jill (Billy's uncaring sister) and her boyfriend Tommy are hiding in the bushes. They actually break into the friggin' sheriff's house after everyone has left so they can have some fun together. Jack shows up in the cruiser and eventually does them both in. Jill actually ends up taking a bath in the melted snowman (before he refreezes around her, in another one of the movie's ludicrous images), so I guess Jack can also raise his temperature at will, unless Jill normally bathes in ice water.

Eventually, Jack catches up with the sheriff back in town. Agent Manners shoots some holes in Jack, and then when Jack melts to a puddle to repair himself, Manners shoots the water too, for good measure.

Jack chases everyone into the police station, where the sheriff conveniently finds his secretary's hairdryer. Jack cowers from the hairdryer, but the plug gets pulled out of the wall, and Jack chases everyone onto the cell block. The sheriff and the others lock the door to the cell block, forcing Jack to melt and trickle under the door to chase after them. This gives them the time to set up a convenient death trap for Jack. They collect a bunch of conveniently placed aerosol cans, tape the sprayers down, and then jump out the window and run across the street. When Jack appears at the window, the sheriff shoots his gun back at the building, causing a spark that lights the fumes from the aerosol cans and blows the whole police station to kingdom come!

Everyone cheers, because they think Jack is dead. Jack, however, has other plans, as he regroups (not unlike the liquid metal T1000 in Terminator 2) and staggers off with his head in his hands. He's disoriented, I guess, but I can't imagine why. Well, I guess I know why -- it gives everyone else enough time to set up another elaborate death trap for Jack. When Jack comes back, everyone has gathered in the town hall. When Jack comes in the front door, he is met with a whole line of people holding hair dryers, all of which are attached to about a thousand feet of extension cord! They force Jack into the basement, and they actually manage to get him into the big furnace that is there! Again everyone rejoices, because obviously this time Jack is really dead. However, Jack again proves them wrong by coming up the chimney as steam, condensing into water again, and running down the side of the building to collect back into his old self. Yeesh, how are they going to end this friggin' movie? Do they need o nuke him or something?

Jack eventually eats Agent Manners and confronts Agent Stone. "You're immortal," says Stone. "How does that feel?" "It feels COLD!" shouts Jack and somehow forces himself inside Agent Stone. Stone stumbles over to where everyone else is milling about, pukes Jack back up, and dies. Jack then takes off after the sheriff and his son (who has conveniently come back into the picture) and traps them in the sheriff's car. Jack melts himself and gets into the car, and in desperation the sheriff grabs the bag of "oats" (remember them?) off the dashboard where he left them and slams them into Jack's head. Amazingly, Jack starts to scream and part of his head melts off, and while he is again disoriented, the sheriff and his son get out of the car.

"What was in the oats?" the sheriff yells, shaking his son. "I didn't want you to get cold," the son says, sputtering. "What was in the oats?" the sheriff asks again. "Antifreeze," says the son. ANTIFREEZE?!?!?! This kid cooked antifreeze into something he wanted his father to eat. Even if he didn't know better himself, his mother, who was standing right next to him while he was making this stuff earlier, should have. This one over-the-top plot development brought the movie up about half a turkey all by itself.

Just as Jack is regrouping, the shopkeeper comes out of nowhere with his truck and runs down the killer snowman. "I can see your house from up here," Jack says as he flies through the air. Thinking quickly, the sheriff has the shopkeeper take his truck back to his store and, by putting a piece of plastic tarp over the bed, fill up his truck with antifreeze! Meanwhile, the sheriff lures Jack back into the town hall. As the sheriff ducks into the town hall, he calls out to Jack, taunting him. "Hey Jack, what's the difference between snowmen and snowwomen?" he yells. Jack doesn't know. "No balls," says the sheriff. What? He not only felt the need to repeat that painful joke, he got the punchline wrong! I ran it back twice just to make sure I hadn't heard wrong.

Anyway, this totally infuriates Jack, and the two of them fight to the second floor. After some tension filled scenes (not), the shopkeeper returns with his truck bed full of antifreeze, and the sheriff muckles onto Jack and flings himself out the second floor window and into the back of the truck. The two of them thrash around until Jack is completely dissolved. The sheriff and the shopkeeper then carefully collect all of the antifreeze and put it back into the plastic jugs.

The movie finally ends with the "ominous" scene of the sheriff and the shopkeeper burying the plastic containers full of antifreeze (and Jack) in the cemetary. I guess that leaves it open for a sequel. God help us all.

Scene to watch for: The hairdryer ambush.

Best line: "I thought you said conventional weapons couldn't touch that thing?"

Things that make you go "Huh?": Antifreeze? ANTIFREEZE?!?

View this movie's entry at the Internet Movie Database.

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