In a strangely modern-day version of 1985, a group of horny, boozed-up college kids heads out for a camping trip, only to become the targets of a mysterious cult, an obsessive big-game hunter, an assortment of sex criminals, various backwoods freaks, and the titular Yeti. Despite the parade of slasher-movie cliches involved, the title should probably tip you off that this is no ordinary horror movie. In fact, Yeti: A (Gay) Love Story is a schlocky horror-comedy produced by Troma Entertainment for a reported budget of around two hundred bucks, but it contains surprising entertainment value beyond what might seem like a one-joke premise.
The fact that some poor TV company employee had to write this summary,
so that people could get this movie on-demand, speaks volumes about modern society.
Life of the Party (Positives):
Around here, most of us have a strong appreciation for movies put out by Troma, if our interview with Troma boss and trash cinema godfather Lloyd Kaufman hadn't made that clear already. It's strange then, that we haven't reviewed very many Troma films on the site, but the truth is that their unique brand of ultra-low budget, intentionally poor-quality, gross-out horror-comedies are a form of entertainment that you will either enjoy or absolutely loathe, simply based on personal taste. It's hard to give a general recommendation for Troma stuff, because the niche it occupies is so narrow, dark, and often coated in more weird goo than a Nickelodean Double Dare contestant. If you tend to only enjoy very polished, professional, mainstream movies that run in actual theaters, then you might as well quit reading here - this film is not a sleek and shiny production, and if you need that experience, you will not be comfortable watching this.
The gorilla costume may look fake, but you will believe that their love is 100% real.
Counter-intuitively, though, it seems that a person DOES have to have a passion for and understanding of good movie-making in order to make an intentionally bad movie, and also to enjoy watching intentionally bad movies. Yeti is a low-fidelity production, but is a good example of how creativity and a clever sense of humor can make up for a lack of verisimilitude, or even logical storytelling. With a title like Yeti: A Gay Love Story, you might expect this film to have pretty much one joke, which would be "hurr-hurr, it's an abominable snowman that fucks people in the ass," but the story is surprisingly complex, despite the mere 70-minute runtime. At one point, after visiting the freak show, seeing several victims slaughtered by the bad guys, and the revelation of the lesbian love triangle, I figured we were almost through the movie, but looked down at the progress bar to see we were only a half hour in, and the secret society of yeti-hunting Catholic priests was just now being introduced. The script is basically a goofy word salad of horror tropes and weird situations that seem to occur completely at random, and is kindof charming because of it - it's like Axe Cop, if it were written by a 6-year-old drug-addled sex-offender, instead of just a normal 6-year-old.
There are numerous instances of the standard Troma gross-out humor, generally defined by over-the-top gore effects, crude descriptions of various sexual perversions, and dialogue written specifically to make the audience uncomfortable - admittedly, that doesn't really do much for me. What did get some laughs, though, was the meta-humor and inversions of horror-movie tropes, including many scenes where the film used background music, montage, and other film techniques as the punchline for otherwise simple scenes. For instance, one early sequence features a character trying to use the woods as a bathroom and getting continually interrupted by spooky noises. This isn't all that funny on its own, but is improved by adding some classic "suspenseful build-up music" each time he squats down, only to have it cut out instantly once he stands up again. The scene goes on to have the character get chased through the woods in a panic, continually tripping over roots and having his clothes torn off by bushes - another normal scene for horror schlock, but funny simply because it's a panicky dude getting naked rather than a chick.
Potential Hangovers (Negatives):
Speaking of nudity, there's a lot of it in this movie, and it's rarely very pleasant. Expect a lot of penises, both of the flaccid and comically wriggling variety, and the papier-mache gag dildo variety. Personally, I've always found Troma movies' nonpretentious attitude towards nudity to be kind of refreshing - none of these actors are chiseled Adonises or tight-bodied cover models, and yet when a sex scene arrives, they get naked and put on a very authentic romantic performance just like real people would - sex in real life is seldom perfectly posed and pretty, after all. However, I have no misconceptions about how this would be discomforting for some, even though some of the sexual montages are actually pretty funny (and not just the man/yeti love scenes, either).
Though the random nature of the plot helps keep the pace up and provides a lot of comedy, there are a couple moments that leave you scratching your head as to why they were included. During one of the aforementioned love scenes, we fade into a montage of private parts gyrating at the screen in a symbolical manner, only to find that this was actually a nightmare that another character wakes up from. This character and his girlfriend are only in this one scene, never mentioned again, and have no bearing on the plot, so it's just kindof confusing why that semi-gag was even included. This movie is never capable of being fully understood, of course, but that scene and a few other elements seem to come completely out of left field.
The Atmosphere - Casual Gathering, Solo Experience:
This is a movie not to be taken seriously, and should not be watched by any audience that takes itself seriously. To find out if you should watch it, read the title again - if you can get a chuckle from the title alone, you should probably give it a try, but if not, don't bother. As a person who has enjoyed just about all the Troma stuff he's seen, this amateurish indy production fits right in and makes for a quirky hour or so. And besides, you'll want to be to tell people you've seen this just for hipster movie cred.
If this definitely IS your kind of movie, you should know that the crew are planning a sequel, and have a Kickstarter currently running to fund the production. They're trying to raise $15,000, and considering that their $200 product was still pretty entertaining, it'll be fun to see what they'll do next.
+ Indy film that charmingly satirizes lots of horror tropes using clever inversions and metahumor
+ It's blatantly Troma-tastic!
- It's blatantly Troma-tastic...
- Some elements are just unnecessary
Drinking Game Suggestions (this movie can really use it):
~Drink whenever fake blood gets smeared across something
~Drink whenever someone says "Yeti"
~Take a shot whenever a character changes his or her sexual orientation