Friday, January 10, 2014

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra satirizes the 1950's monster, science fiction, B-movies. The film is independent, low-budget, and originally shot in color and transformed to black and white after production to be in sync with 50's films.

The mad scientist with the insane laugh is portrayed by Brian Howe as the character Dr. Roger Fleming. His imitation of the prototypical mad scientist laugh is very good. The mad scientist character is a concept of the 1920's movie era. His goal is to find the lost skeleton so he can become powerful.

 Larry Blamire plays Dr. Paul Armstrong; he goes into the mountains hunting the scare element called atmosphereum. The doctor correctly thinks that it is in a fallen meteorite. He and his wife Betty played by Fay Masterson epitomize couples of the era as shown in movies.

Further into the movie, Betty does a swoon and is carried away by the monster. This is hyperbole in step with the fainting heroine confronted with a scary or distressing buildup in the plot.

This overstatement of the feminine response to fright or shock was a standard device of the 1950's monster movie plot. The young and pretty heroine strategically drops into the monster's arms, and he carries her away. Movie posters often depicted this image. Today, this device is only seen in spoofs.

The two aliens played by Susan McConnell as Lattis and Andrew Parks as Kro-bar land on earth and need to find (you guessed it) atmosphereum to power their spaceship. They use their transmutatron to look like an earth couple; it basically just changes their clothes. They don't understand earth customs like shaking hands or how to eat. Ditto for 1950's American earth lingo. These misunderstandings create comic effects.

Dr. Fleming watches as the aliens transform themselves and gets the contraption when they leave it behind believing it will be there upon their return. He uses it to change some woods animals into a woman he calls Animala portrayed by Jennifer Blaire. She becomes his "wife."

First, the alien couple go to the cabin to get the atmosphereum. The Armstrongs think the aliens are the landlords that they have never seen before. A funny verbal and body language scene occurs.

Then Dr. Fleming shows up with Animala. She is dressed like a female beatnik and has animal characteristics such as sniffing things, growling, and hunting for crumbs. The two couples spend the night, though the hospitality of the Armstrongs has become tepid. They think the other two couples are very odd.

During the evening, the ranger played by Dan Conroy comes to warn them of the mysterious slaying of a local farmer. The next morning, Animala does a flirtatious dance beatnik style and brings Dr. Armstrong to the skeleton that has been revived with the atmosphereum given to it by Dr. Fleming. The doctor and Animala become typical slaves of the evil skeleton.

But all ends well with the alien and earth couple becoming fast friends and the bad guys losing, and Animala being changed back to animals.

This Larry Blamire spoof is rated 7 out of 10 at IMDb.

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