The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
Review by Jon Waterman
Scientist Dr. Paul Armstrong and his wife head out to a secluded mountainous area to search for a fallen meteor. Itís believed that this object from space is made up of ďAtmosphereum.Ē This rare, but powerful element will aid him greatly in his scientific research. Meanwhile, Dr. Roger Fleming is searching for the lost skeleton of Cadavra cave in these mountains. He hopes to bring it to life by using atmosphereum, what else. Meanwhile, two aliens, Kro-Bar and Lattis, have crash landed on Earth in this same region. The only thing that can give their ship power so they can leave is of course atmosphereum. Oh, and also, thereís a freakish human-eating monster on the loose.
Here we have a spoof of 1950s and 60s sci-fi/horror B-movies. Writer, director and lead actor Larry Blamire pokes fun at everything he possibly can, from the acting and dialogue to the storyline and plot to the music and costuming. Hitting every aspect of a genre is one key in creating a decent spoof. The other key is to make sure it all works. Iíd say there are about one and a half keys in this movie.
The acting is horrendously monotone and flaccid, but it seems to lack a certain choppiness thatís usually associated with bad acting. The unnatural pauses arenít there, and in a sense this is good, because it can get very old, very quickly. However incorporating a little bit of every type of bad acting would aid the cause. The dialogue is the best part of the whole thing. Itís terribly repetitious yet extremely non-specific. We never know what Dr. Armstrong will do with the meteor once he has it, only that it will help him with his science. Nothing technical is explained fully or well. It reinforces that this script (were it an actual 50s horror movie) was written very quickly by some random guy on the lot with no expertise or desire to research. The storyline and plot are just as loose and seemingly pulled from thin air or by combining several formulas. The stupidity of the script is the brilliance of the film, and this is where you will laugh the most. You donít need to be a connoisseur of the genre to appreciate some of the humor. There are many lines in here that are legitimately funny on their own. I donít think the movie would have been nearly as good or successful were it not for this.
On the technical side, things could have been handled better (and sometimes worse). The movie was shot on a digital camera in black and white. Sometimes when the scenes shift, the coloring shifts drastically as well. The black and white takes on a purple tint and then goes back to grayscale. Itís very off-putting, especially in the quicker cuts. I donít think this was a meaningful decision on the directorís part, but rather a very noticeable mistake. Also, in the editing, I would have liked to see some jump cuts. Iím sure movies from that era didnít use the most prestigious editors and mistakes occurred every once in a while. It all seemed edited a bit too cleanly and I would have liked a few continuity errors scattered in every once in a while. But the monster looked great and completely non-menacing. The skeleton was fun to watch (strings and all), but his half-way good acting should have been controlled like his body parts were.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of ďMystery Science Theater 3000Ē as it virtually accomplishes the same goal. It makes fun of the genre while embracing its charm. However, even if you get bored with the spoofing, there are some bad aspects to the movie that would allow you to make fun of it as well. No matter how you choose to look at it, donít expect high art. Expect a B-Movie. If you do, then youíll laugh and have a good time and come out happy.