Given the catastrophic acid bath that has been 2016, it may be hard for some to get into the holiday spirit. 1997’s Jack Frost may be just the ticket, with its derision and weirdness and general disregard for Christmas cheer.
Make no mistake: Jack Frost is not “good.” And it’s not to be confused with 1998’s Jack Frost, which features Michael Keaton coming back to life as a snowman. This picture, written by Michael Cooney and Jeremy Paige and directed by Cooney, somehow features a similar plot but manages to transform the snowman into a slaughterer.
Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is a serial killer. He was busted by Snomonton Sheriff Sam Tiler (Christopher Allport), who is still haunted by his memories of the murderer. On his way to execution, Frost is involved in an accident with a “genetic material truck” and is fused with the snow. He subsequently becomes a snowman.
Frost the snowman heads to Snomonton seeking his revenge on Tiler and leaves a trail of bodies along the way. The FBI arrives, with Agent Manners (Stephen Mendel) hoping to bag himself a homicidal snowman and Agent Stone (Rob LaBelle) trying to take the thing alive.
Explaining how and why Jack Frost becomes a killer snowman is a pointless endeavour and Cooney’s movie doesn’t even try. It understands the insanity of the premise and commits, delivering all sorts of silly visuals along the way and having the titular character slay people in inspired, semi-amusing ways.
One woman (Kelly Jean Peters) is killed with Christmas lights and ornaments. A bullying kid (Nathan Hague) is truncated with a sleigh. A young woman (Shannon Elizabeth) is bizarrely violated by the snowman before her death. The latter scene involves the old floating carrot in the bathtub gag, by the way.
All the while, Tiler tries to do his job with some degree of professionalism. The town is turning against him because of the rampaging snowman. Something must be done. The snowman is invulnerable to conventional weapons, although blow-dryers do seem have an effect and may or may not melt Frost into a scuzzy puddle.
Frost wisecracks his way through most of the murders, sounding like an obsolete stand-up comic and looking like an overflowing marshmallow. At one point, he makes a Picasso joke when his head winds up in the wrong place. Another one-liner finds him claiming he only “axed for a smoke” after dispatching someone with…an axe.
Jack Frost will not be to everyone’s taste and that’s fine. It’s a distorted oddity, but it recognizes its absurdity. There are no attempts at importance and the cast is game to go along, especially Elizabeth as she wrangles with the bloody thing in the tub. It may lack good taste and decency and quality, but it does add a little spice to the Christmas season.