The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra 

(PG) 3 stars

(PG) 3 stars
Ranger Brad: You don’t believe those legends about the cave, do you? Dr. Roger Fleming: I’m a scientist. I don’t believe in anything. In the mood for something different? Try this on for size. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is a truly loopy comedy made by recreating the kind of Grade Z sci-fi schlock that turned up at drive-ins very late at night in the ’50s and ’60s. By very late, I mean 3 or 4 in the morning on the last night of a cheap weekend sci-fi fest. This curious project is inspired by the zero budget flicks of the old days: horribly lit black and white opuses where bland white people chattered endlessly, insipidly — ad-libbing or working from a dreadful script? — mostly to pad the running time. Stock footage was also used to pad things out, regardless of whether it even faintly matched the tone or texture of the rest of the movie. The characters would jabber about monsters or aliens for a while, throwing in a lot of illogical theories and technobabble. Then they would switch locations and talk some more. Most of the action took place off screen and was described by the actors. When — if — the monster or alien was finally shown, it was guaranteed to be a disappointment of major proportions. Yet me and my fellow geeks still sat in the drive-ins watching, because you never know ... The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra knows. The film is black and white, the actors are white and wooden, the special effects are godawful and the shiny alien clothing wouldn’t pass muster at a grade school Halloween party. So why should you pay good money for this? Because it’s laugh out loud funny. Well, at least it is at first. Most of the gags grow tired fairly quickly, but then the damndest thing happens: They get funny again due to the filmmakers refusal to quit repeating them. Filmed in Skeletorma, the story introduces “Man of Science” Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire, who wrote and directed the movie) and his charming wife, Betty (Fay Masterson), as they chat (“Scenery is certainly lovely to look at.” “Yes, especially if you love scenery.”) while searching the mountainside for a fallen meteor that just might contain the rare element atmosphereum. Ah, but they are not alone. Shiny-suited Krobar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell) from the planet Marva are also wandering the mountain, looking for the rare element atmosphereum to refuel their stranded spaceship. They’re also looking for their missing mutant (Darrin Reed). Also loose in the woods is the aforementioned Dr. Fleming (Brian Howe), who plans to revive the power-tripping Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Of course, to restore the bony villain, he will need some ... atmosphereum. Needless to say, all the parties eventually get together, along with a humanoid (she was transmuted from “four nearby forest animals”) called Animala (Jennifer Blaire, Blamire’s wife), who is given to interpretive dance. It’s all stupid as hell and very funny, then boring, then funny again. Plus there’s a skeleton cartoon before the movie. What more do you want?

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