One of the reasons my college friends and I could play an adaptation of the Kevin Bacon Game called “Four Degrees of Jeff Goldblum” was Goldblum’s European/British period in the early ‘90s: he starred with Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson in The Tall Guy, joined Bob Hoskins and Natasha Richardson in The Favour, the Watch, and the Very Big Fish, and was a serial murderer in 1990 psychological thriller Mister Frost.
When I started looking for the movie again, I expected it to be hard to find; I didn’t expect that Amazon wouldn’t even have it available in US format on DVD.* Fortunately, YouTube has hooked us up once again.
Why Found-Again? Until I sat down to rewatch it this week, that basic outline—and the line “Oh, yeah, the body; I was just burying it when you drove up”—were the only things I remembered about this movie other than a longing for something, anything to happen.
The Premise: Serial murderer/man with no first name Mr. Frost, who has spent two years in silence after being apprehended, is sent to a mental hospital, where he chooses as a confidante Dr. Day (the ever-magnificent Kathy Baker).
Did I mention he might be the devil? The movie sure does, most often through the character of Det. Detweiler (Alan Bates).
I can’t for the life of me (hah!) understand my impression that nothing happened in Mister Frost: there are philosophical discussions of evil, certainly, but there’s also a lot of investigation, internal tensions at the mental hospital, a gentle patient Frost pushes over the edge into clergy-murder, and a detective who is maybe mauled by a ghost. (You’d think at the very least the occasional shirtless Goldblum would have kept my attention as a college student, but I didn’t remember that, either.)
The Verdict: This movie was an awful lot better than I remembered, and exactly what I was hoping for when I started this project of revisiting things. Watching it, you realize that at some level it wouldn’t matter whether Goldblum’s character is the actual, just-what-it-says-on-the-Milton devil; as the lives of the characters spin out of control, he is exactly what we expect of Old Scratch.
I’m not going to go buy a European-region DVD player so I can have Mister Frost with me always, but I can at last recommend it.
Might DOES go well with: Since I had little memory of the plot, I sat down with unintentional irony to watch this with a microwave EVOL meal. Tasty!
* Note to self: Figure out why the Dutch are the only people still committing this film to DVD.
Next time: Highlander!