Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" is a Charming Bad Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 113 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001) – Black & White
U.S. release date: 2004
Running time: 90 minutes
MPAA – PG for brief mild language

PRODUCER: F. Miguel Valenti
EDITOR: Bill Bryn Russell


Starring: Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, Susan McConnell, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire, Larry Blamire, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau, and Darren Reed

Upon first glance, Larry Blamire’s The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is an obvious spoof of 1950’s sci-fi movies, but in another sense the film seems like an attempt to make a coherent Ed Wood movie. Wood, the subject of a 1994 Tim Burton biopic, inadvertently made really bad movies while really trying to make good movies. Blamire makes a very entertaining and functional good movie out of a bad movie.

In the film, Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire), a noted scientist, and his wife, Betty (Fay Masterson), travel to a remote forest where Paul hopes to find a meteor that recently fell to earth. Paul believes the meteor is made of the rare and powerful ore known as atmosphereum, but he isn’t the only one looking for it. The space ship of an alien couple, Kro-bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell), crashes to earth, and only atmosphereum can fuel the ship so that they can return to their home planet, Marva. Not long after they crash, their pet mutant (Darren Reed in costume) escaped from the ship and is on a killing spree. But the biggest danger comes from an evil scientist named Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) who wants the atmosphereum so that he can use it to bring the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra back to life.

Although the film is slow to develop, it comes together very quickly. TLSOC is, however, an acquired taste, and most viewers won’t get the joke, especially those who don’t like old, black and white sci-fi and monster movies. One must have a fondness for or at least a familiarity with those two sub-genres. Of course, Lost Skeleton is more than just a spoof or homage; it’s a love letter, and that’s obvious in the way Blamire and his cast copy the look of old sci-fi films. It might look like an old monster movie, but it’s a fan flick made with professional care. It’s not a great spoof like Blazing Saddles is a great spoof of westerns, but The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra works because it’s an accurate spoof that makes you laugh instead of roll your eyes.

6 of 10


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