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March 2011

The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra

cast: Fay Masterson, Larry Blamire, Andrew Parks, Brian Howe, and Susan McConnel

director: Larry Blamire

90 minutes (PG) 2001
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
4 Digital Media DVD Region 2
[released 7 March]

RATING: 8/10
review by Gary McMahon

The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra

Loving parody is a tricky thing to pull off - often it can be either too respectful, or just uncomfortably unfunny. Thankfully, the makers of The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra understand this, and they've produced something that's both a love letter to 1950s' B-movies and a complete piss-take of the entire genre at the same time.

Filmed in "the new miracle wonder of the screen, Skeletorama!" and channelling films like Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Blob, Invaders From Mars, Them!, This Island Earth, Robot Monster, among countless others, the film succeeds as both an entertaining romp and a hilarious spoof of those brilliantly weird originals.

The plot could've been taken straight from one of the classics of the genre - a scientist and his twin-set-and-pearls wife investigating a meteorite in the desert, a maniacal man looking for a magic skeleton in a hidden cave, two space aliens (from outer space!) crash-landing on earth who need the meteorite to power their ship, a mutant, a sultry mystery woman called Animala who's made up from several wild animals... it's all there, all the madness and imagination that made those old films so much fun to watch. Throw in some great lines, straight-faced performances, and a lot of truly funny comedy, and you have a film that really can't fail.

With its overblown plot, ridiculous special effects, and endlessly quotable dialogue, this one's a cult classic in the waiting. Anyone who loves the genre, will get a kick out of it - sadly, anyone unfamiliar with the genre being spoofed, will probably be left confused. But so what: this one's for the fans, made by people who are obviously fans.

Everyone is going to have their favourite scenes, but mine involve the aliens' first encounter with the concept of stairs ("It's a series of small buildings leading up to a bigger building"), and Animala's sexy, seductive dance - which manages to be actually rather sexy and hysterically funny at the same time, which is no mean feat.

Everything is resolved in the end, with a planned wedding between alien and reanimated skeleton (no, really) being crashed by a shaggy, lovelorn mutant and our hero the scientist (who is, we are told, an expert in the field of science) and his chirpy wife. The monster is defeated (for now), the mutant captured, the aliens can return home and the scientist is able to "make actual advances in the field of science"...

Made in black and white, shot on location, and done with so much love and affection that you'd hate yourself if you didn't enjoy the film, The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra is a joy I'd recommend for a night's viewing with like-minded friends over a few beers. Apparently there's a sequel on the horizon, and I for one can't wait. I just hope Animala does her sexy dance routine again. Ahem.



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