December was hit or miss with the white stuff, but if there’s one thing we Northerners can count on in January – it’s plenty of it. So, as you bundle up to commute and play – lets shine a spotlight on some of the horror genre’s creepiest, vilest, and down right devious Snowmen! From family friendly to wicked wayward, here are the 8 Most Sinister Snowmen of All Time..
8. The Bumble – Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964)
Okay, hear me out. Every year families gather ’round to watch the Rankin/Bass holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The beloved stop-motion, Animagic style is well-known this time of year, but for more than just the traditional story of misfits. The Abominable Snow Monster of the North, also referred to as The Bumble, sits in my psyche as the most fearsome predator Rudy might encounter. Forget name-calling and exclusion from games, with razor-sharp teeth and a hatred of Christmas, The Abominable and its horrendous roars of rage were definitely what stuck in my child-brain as the bigger threat. Yes, he’s later revealed to have a toothache that is the source of his anger. But who can forget the sound of his growling over the mountains, the creepy music, and the way Sam the Snowman shivered and squinted at the thought of The Bumble? For these reasons, he kicks-off my list of creepy snowmen.
7. The Sinister Snowman – Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays (2012)
Scooby Doo and the gang are always good for a creepy creature or villain (even if most of them end up being old Mr. Cruthers or some such stooge in a mask). From the 10,000 Volt Ghost of the 1970s to the cat creatures in Scooby Doo on Zombie Island, Mystery Inc. has delivered on the ghouls countless times. Thankfully for our purposes, Scoob didn’t skimp on the scary when it came to snowmen! In the 2012 Christmas special, Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays, The Gang encounters the curse of The Sinister Snowman. The evil snowman haunts the streets surrounding a toy store and summons a blizzard to shut down the store and ruin Christmas. He also changes his shape multiple times, including turning into a snowy spider as well as a slushy-looking version of Slimer from Ghostbusters.
6. The Snow Man – The Snow Man (1933)
If you delve into vintage cartoons from the ’30s and ’40s, you’ll find some rather eerie imagery and themes that are downright deranged. Director Ted Eshbaugh brought us one such toon in 1933 called The Snow Man. In this short, a friendly-looking snowman is built by a community of humans and Disney-esque animals. Seems harmless enough, right? Wrong. Right around the 3:30 mark, for no apparent reason, the benevolent and boring creation begins melting and morphing into a more malevolent monster. The animation of The Snow Man’s face changing is sure to be nightmare fuel for any viewer, young or old. Mayhem ensues and the spiteful snow monster wreaks havoc on the beings that built him. It’s a strange eight minutes, but worth the watch.
5. The Snowman – The Snowman (2017)
Critics and audiences alike panned The Snowman despite its all-star cast and bestselling source material. However, the dark drama delivered when it came to grossing us out with nightmarish visions of snowmen. In the film the elusive serial killer gets creative with his snowmen by using human limbs to build gruesome spectacles. For example, one of his cadaverous creations has a human head on it’s otherwise stereotypical snow body, complete with branches for arms. Talk about chilling crime scenes! It’s mostly snore with a bit of gore, but The Snowman scores for creativity.
4. The Abominable Snowman – The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas (1957)
Also known by its US name, The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, this British horror film from 1957 is a lesser known gem in the Hammer Film collection. Two men (Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker) embark on an expedition to find a yeti. However, their goals for the capturing The Abominable Snowman are very different and they realize they’re at odds with each other. While we only get glimpses of the intelligent yet menacing yeti, it’s enough to set you at the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Like Jaws, The Abominable Snowman proves that less is sometimes more when you want to amp up the creep factor.
3. Snowmen – Krampus (2015)
In 2015, Michael Dougherty (Trick r’ Treat) brought us an instant Christmas classic with the release of Krampus. This dark comedy horror harkens to the Christmas spirit of Gremlins with superb practical effects, eerie creatures, and exciting action. While Krampus has quite a few sidekicks to help him in his devilish schemes, the first ones we meet are the snowmen. After young Max and his dysfunctional family are deemed wicked by Krampus, an unforeseen blizzard blows through town. Shortly after, a large snowman appears in their yard facing their house. No one knows who built the snowman, but only Max really seems concerned about it. By nightfall, a small army of these suspicious snowmen have sprouted in the front yard, and they don’t appear to be alone!
2. The Snowmen – Doctor Who (2012)
Sentient snow has fallen over London in 1892 and only The Doctor (Matt Smith) can uncover the mystery of what it is after. However, before the good Doctor can shout “GERONIMO!” and start sleuthing, the creepiest of snow creatures start to appear. A cluster of evil snowmen crop up in an alleyway with triangular jack-o-lantern-like eyes. What is worse is that their smile reveals rows of Great White style shark teeth. The more the snowmen are thought of, the more they multiply, creating a sort of frozen feeding frenzy. If insanely eerie snowmen aren’t enough to entice you, Sir Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings) and Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) co-star in this Christmas episode of Doctor Who from 2012.
1. Jack Frost – Jack Frost (1997)
Of course, I saved the most demented monstrosity for last. This is not the bizarre family film starring Michael Keaton from 1998, but rather the straight-to-video horror release from 1997. I still recall watching this one on VHS when I was a Blockbuster employee and it garnered a lot of laughs. Scott MacDonald (Jarhead) plays serial killer Jack Frost who is being transported for execution at midnight. Wise-cracking Jack manages to kill the guard in the transport vehicle, causing a crash with a truck carrying strange genetic material. When exposed to the chemicals, Jack Frost is vaporized and thought to be dead. However, the DNA-housing chemical caused Jack to meld with the snow, allowing him to morph into a killer snowman and seek revenge on those who captured him and put an end to his killing spree. There are some truly absurd deaths in this film including decapitation by sledding and a holly, jolly tree trimming demise. Probably the most disturbing and absurd takes place when Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) decides to take a bath and gets assaulted by the psychotic snowman. Between the absurdly awesome deaths and corny quips throughout, Jack Frost tops my list of the most sinister snowman around.
Snowman Jack – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
While there are many creepy Christmas visuals in The Nightmare Before Christmas, one that is often overlooked is Snowman Jack. When Jack Skellington discovers Christmas Town, he is enchanted by everything he sees and breaks into song. While belting out, “What this? There’s something very wrong…” we see that Jack has actually disguised himself as a snowman. It’s slightly disturbing to see his round, white head with its dark, empty eye-sockets fitting so perfectly atop the snowman’s body. His wide, toothy grin also makes it feel off-kilter, not to mention his long, gangly arms reaching out from its rotund trunk. When he starts bouncing about following a trio of elves, we can see his bony body through the layers of snow before the disguise crumbles. But for a few brief moments, Jack shows us how eerie a skeletal snowman could be.
Marshmallow – Frozen (2013)
An enchanted snowman springing to life one day doesn’t sound like anything new for the holiday season, but this snowman isn’t exclaiming “Happy Birthday!” upon waking up. When Marshmallow is awoken by Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, the territorial snowbeast takes his anger out on Elsa’s sister, Anna and her traveling companion, Kristoff. With glowing empty orbs for eyes and sharp icy spikes sprouting from his back, Marshmallow has a menacing appearance. This coupled with his aggressive antics help him maintain his task of keeping visitors from his mistress in her palace.
Mrs. Deagle’s Snowman – Gremlins (1984)
One of the first dreadful snowmen to pop in my brain while compiling this list was the decapitated imported Barvarian snowman from Gremlins. While there was nothing particularly scary about the smiling visage of the snowman itself, Mrs. Deagle put a pit in my stomach growing up similar to that of The Wicked Witch from the East in The Wizard of Oz. So each year when I see her carrying that broken Barvarian snowman head, my inner 7-year-old cringes at her demands to take Billy’s dog Barney, who she blames for the decapitation.