The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
Writer and Director: Larry Blamire. Tri-Star Pictures, 2004
The years 1950 to 1961 were a golden era for low-budget grade-Z science-fiction movies. With a lot of heart and ambition, but not so much talent, young filmmakers would create such B-movie cult classics as Plan Nine from Outer Space, Robot Monster, and Attack of the Crab People. With unknown actors, a cameraman, and a few thousand bucks, independent studios would venture off to Bronson Canyon, California, to make a quickie cheapie science-fiction horror picture.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is a re-creation of those cheap, cheesy epics of yesteryear. I had to check the DVD cover twice to make sure this film wasn’t made in the 1950s – it features the look, lighting, production values, and even the tacky props of that era. The movie was done totally in the spirit of the time: the script was written in five days and filmed in ten days, and the whole thing cost less than $100,000 (probably the equivalent of Spider Man 2’s catering bill).
The story concerns a quirky couple – Dr. Armstrong (Larry Blamire) and his Betty Crocker-like wife (Fay Masterton) – who discover a meteor which contains, according to the doc, high levels of “that rarest of all radioactive elements, atmosphereum.”
A mad scientist badly in need of a shave, Dr Fleming (Brian Howe) also wants the atmosphereum so he can bring the lost skeleton of Cadavra to life and rule the world. As it turns out, an alien couple from the planet of Marva also need the atmosphereum for their ship to return home. The plot thickens when the aliens’ mutant monster escapes. Then Dr. Fleming transfers four different animals into one human female, the sexy Animala (Jennifer Blaire), who charms with her cat-like manners.
The film has several funny lines, all delivered in classic deadpan style:
“Betty, you know what this meteor will mean to science! It could mean actual advancements in the field of science.” – Dr. Armstrong.
“Rowr!” – Animala.
“Aliens, us? Is this one of your Earth jokes?” – alien Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks).
“You don’t know the lost skeleton of Cadavra, but you will, you will.” – Dr. Fleming.
“We take our horrible mutilations seriously around these parts.” – Ranger Brad
“I have risen.” – the Skeleton.
There’s plenty of rollicking comedy with such sci-fi silliness as the skeleton crawling up the side of the mountain with wires showing all over the place, the bad dancing of the aliens, and the unbridled purring and licking of passionate Animala. Filmed in “Skeletorama,” this DVD is a laugh riot, perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon.
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