"The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" is a sendup of 1950s B horror movies whose affection for the genre could send you on a fun research trip to your video store.
By ANDREA GRONVALL
Just as its title suggests, "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" is a silly movie,
on purpose. Writer/director/star Larry Blamire parodies with obvious
affection the sci-fi creature features that were so popular in the 1950s.
He cheerfully cribs from the highs ("It Came from Outer Space"), the lows
("The Man from Planet X"), and the lowest ("Robot Monster"), not
condescending to the genre, but not aiming to make an appreciably better
film, either. The result is a black-and-white comedy that is fitfully
funny, and like a lot of the B-movies that inspired it about a reel too
To his credit, Blamire, who is also a playwright and painter, gets the
movies he lampoons. He understands the conventions; even better, unlike
some of the screenwriters of the B's, he also knows a thing or two about
scene construction. As the film's lead, suave Dr. Paul Armstrong, he plays
The Scientist, the heroic man of knowledge, progress and reason at the
center of the story. The banalities he exchanges in the opening shots with
his perky wife Betty (Fay Masterson) as they motor through a California
landscape (Bronson Canyon, a favored location for B directors) neatly
encapsulate a decade's worth of mumbo-jumbo that somehow passed as the
"scientific" setup for nearly every plot. Armstrong has tracked a meteor
that landed close to their cabin in the woods. The rock contains the
extremely rare element "atmosphereum," which he knows could greatly benefit
mankind and lead to "actual advances in the field of science."
|THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA|
|Written and directed by: Larry Blamire.|
Cast: Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, Susan McConnell, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire,
Larry Blamire, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau, Darren Reed.
Cinematography: Kevin F. Jones.
Related links: Official site
Also on the trail of the elusive substance are three others well, three and
a half, if you count the skeleton including an alien couple, Krobar and
Lattis (Andrew Parks and Susan McConnell), in need of atmosphereum to
repower their crippled spaceship. They join forces with greedy Evil
Scientist Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe), who does the bidding of the
legendary long-lost Skeleton of Cadavra that he has found conveniently in a
nearby cave. The Skeleton requires atmosphereum to regain his powers and
fulfill his plans for worldwide domination. In between issuing imperious
demands, he likes to nap.|
The movie begins to get genuinely funny with the arrival of its femme
fatale, who is quite literally a sex kitten. Dr. Fleming realizes he can't
attend dinner at the Armstrongs and get access to the meteor in Paul's
study without a date, so he uses the aliens' handy gizmo, the
transmutatron, to reconfigure the molecules of forest wildlife into the
beguiling Animala (Jennifer Blaire). Looking like one of the Hollywood
Cover Girls from "Cat-Women of the Moon," Animala slinks, purrs and upstages
everyone when Fleming presents her as his beatnik girlfriend Pammy. The
aliens, too, have adopted human-like disguises, and the scene where the
three couples sit down to dinner provides the film's most extended laughs.|
There's also a Mutant (actor's name withheld out of consideration for his
"The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" could have been funnier if Blamire and his
game co-stars hadn't been so enamored of what was bad about the Fifties B's:
shots that are held too long, hammy outbursts that break the mood, and too
much screen time devoted to unbelievably cheesy monsters. Just replicating
these flaws doesn't necessarily generate giggles; a more antic sendup, like
in "Matinee," or a better articulated point of view, like in "Ed Wood,"
simultaneously tap into nostalgia and provide entertainment in their own
right. But Blamire clearly shows promise, and if his feature debut sends
audiences to video stores in search of titles like "Invaders from Mars,"
"Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers," or "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman," he may
very well have laid the groundwork for an out-of-this-world sequel.
|FEBRUARY 20, 2004|
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Hah ;) from Kuba, Aug 11, 2004
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