Just in Time for Christmas: Death of a Snowman on DVD
Fans of 1978’s grindhouse flick, Soul Patrol a/k/a Black Trash, rejoice! It has recently been released as Death of a Snowman. Although billed as a “70’s Blaxploitation Classic,” there are at least an equal number of white actors as black, and the co-starring kinda’ buddies are a salt and pepper team (Nigel Davenport and Ken Gampu). The part about it being “Classic” is right on the money, though.
Death of a Snowman is a classic in the fun-to-watch-bad-movies-category. Filmed in South Africa, it tells the tale of an all-black vigilante group called “War on Crime,” who may themselves be a gang of bad guys. What makes Death of a Snowman a classic of its genre is the overdramatic delivery of lines by male characters, giving every statement a gravity it doesn’t deserve, and the over-choreographed fight scenes that feature flying bodies and extra “oof”s and “ugh”s dubbed in. We’re not talking “flying bodies” in the martial arts sense, but rather bodies that have been launched by worthy opponents or exploding garbage bins. Yes, you could say it’s an action film.
The film itself is grainy (highlighted by snow unrelated to the title), some of the dialogue is hysterical, the lighting is awful, and the plot is so thin you can see daylight through it. The snowman in the title has nothing at all to do with Frosty—it’s about drug dealers. Many scenes are laughable; we’re aware that airport security was less intense in the seventies than it is now, but imagine a man walking into an airport and murdering a woman right in the middle of the terminal. There are no witnesses, because there is absolutely no one there—no travelers, no one behind the desks, no security, no workers. Maybe flying wasn’t as popular in South Africa as in other places. That may be why there were no ticket agents or baggage handlers.
If you want to see a serious movie about drug dealers, try Blow. If you want a pizza-and-beer film to share with your friends (let them buy the beer…and the pizza), watch Death of a Snowman. Laughs guaranteed.