Here we go again. I guess after four movies in the “Gamma 1” series, it’s time to admit that any continuity is spotty at best, regardless of my desire to find it. Snow Devils is the worst violator. We have consistency, at least in this and the previous film, War Between the Planets, with Cmdr. Rod Jackson (Giancomo Rossi Stuart) and General Norton (Enzo Fiermonte), but it's a game of musical wigs with the female characters. Get out your whiteboard…
Lt. Teri (not “Terry,” if that matters) Sanchez is now played by Halina Zalewska, who played General Norton’s daughter, Janet, in the previous film. In Snow Devils, we see neither hide nor hair of Janet. That’s OK, I guess. If you recall, Rod didn’t want to be engaged to her, so maybe she licked her wounds and departed the storyline. Zalewska’s appearance, though, is so unique that I got confused trying to accept her as a different character, especially Terry (or Teri.)
War Between the Planets (spoiler) ended with Rod and Terry adopting little Ricky, Capt. Emil (Toby?) Dubrowski’s surviving son. Snow Devils opens with Rod relaxing at a fancy resort… playing a futuristic game of Checkers with Little Ricky. However, Terry/Teri is not mentioned and appears to be working tirelessly aboard Gamma 1. I’m sorry to go on and on about this, but I don’t understand why, especially if intended for TV, the movies aren’t consistent.
New topic… I appreciate Snow Devils for at least starting out differently than the other three movies. It’s mostly grounded on Earth, with an expedition to locate a race of Yeti (or “snow devils”) that’s causing the polar ice caps to melt, thereby flooding Earth. (We’ll later learn that they want to first flood the planet so they can then freeze it, creating one massive glacier field.) You see, these creatures aren’t terrestrial; they’re aliens from a dying planet.
Therefore, instead of extinguishing the threat on Earth, Rod and company must take to the stars and find the location where the aliens are controlling the climate remotely. The details get fuzzy from here and somehow they’re located on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons. At least we get to see the three or four rocks in the meteor “shower” that impede the rocket from making progress, but we then learn that the aliens are using a force field to protect themselves.
I’m no astrophysicist, but I’ve seen enough movies to know that if Earth’s moon was destroyed, it would cause catastrophe. I also know that Jupiter has many moons, so wouldn’t destroying one of them cause at least similar results. I mean, this series of films previously offered a stray planet hurtling through the solar system; you’d think the solution to this problem might create another. Maybe we’re just watching them out of order?
The final nail in the continuity coffin comes in the character of Rod’s right-hand man. Capt Frank J. Perkinson died in War Between the Planets. However, the actor who played him, Goffredo Unger, returns in Snow Devils as Capt. Frank Pulasky. I’d be able to let this go if the space station, Gamma 1, wasn’t common in all four movies. The creators could have easily renamed it for each movie to create different settings.
Finally, Snow Devils had more writers than any of the other films put together. One of them was Bill Finger; yes, the co-creator of Batman! I don’t know his contribution, but the only connection my mind creates is that the set for the aliens on Earth, and the aliens themselves, look like they could have appeared in the Batman (1966) TV series. In fact, we never meet the alien’s head honcho; so, since we’re ignoring continuity, maybe it’s Mr. Freeze!
Written by Charles Sinclair & Bill Finger & Ivan Reiner
Based on a story by Aubrey Wisberg
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Starring Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Ombretta Colli, Renato Baldini, Wilbert Bradley, Halina Zalewska, Enzo Fiermonte, Furio Meniconi, Goffredo Unger
RT 78 min.
Released Jan. 18, 1967 (Italy)
Recorded on Sept. 25, 2020 (TCM)
Rating 4 Psychos (out of 10)
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