×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

A deft parody of 1950s Z-grade sci-fi and horror pics, "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" will delight psychotronic film fans -- though that won't likely get vid-shot B&W feature beyond limited fest slots or specialized ancillary sales. Still, affectionate spoof merits appreciation as a not-so-dumb salute to another era's ultra-dumb genre conventions.

With:
With: Larry Blamire, Fay Masterson, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire, Susan McConnell, Andrew Parks, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau.

A deft parody of 1950s Z-grade sci-fi and horror pics, “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” will delight psychotronic film fans — though that won’t likely get vid-shot B&W feature beyond limited fest slots, specialized ancillary sales and whatever’s left of the midnight movie circuit. Still, affectionate spoof merits appreciation as a not-so-dumb salute to another era’s ultra-dumb genre conventions.

Giving a nod to everything from 1953’s “Robot Monster” through 1964’s “Creeping Terror,” writer-director-star Larry Blamire’s scenario finds silver-haired Dr. Paul Armstrong (played by the helmer) and addle-brained blonde wife Betty (Fay Masterson) heading to a remote SoCal cottage. Meteor specialist Paul hopes to find astral-rock fragments chockful o’ radioactive element “atmospherium” nearby.

Trouble is, crazed rival scientist Dr. Fleming (Brian Howe) seeks the same, with which he’ll revive an evil-skull cave entity and rule the world. Meanwhile, interplanetary travelers Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell) from Planet Marva require atmospherium, too, to repair their disabled spaceship.

Using the aliens’ stolen “transmutaron” device, Fleming contrives a “date” from sundry forest creatures — interpretive-dancing, black-tights-clad beatnik siren Animala (Jennifer Blaire) — to crash the surprised couple’s already hidden agenda-laden rural cocktail get-together. There’s also a hideous mutant (which disappointingly looks like a goggle-eyed Mr. Giant Toad when finally seen) on the loose, escaped from the Marvans’ rocket.

“Lost Skeleton” really knows its material. It takes true trash cinema devotion to satirize the clunky visuals, banal dialogue, logic gaps and pseudoscientific silliness of a bygone era’s schlockiest obscurities quite so accurately, complete with one-beat-tardy editorial rhythms. Still, at times this homage replicates its predecessors’ amateur longeurs all too well — midsection pacing could be amped up a bit.

Yet there’s no denying the parodic bull’s-eye scored overall, with first-time feature helmer Blamire particularly inspired as the most pseudo-clueless among variably poker-faced thesp contribs, Masterson following close behind. Lensing and production design likewise astutely mimic now-campy drive-in norms; f/x are requisitely cheesy, melodramatic score duly pastiched from archaic music library sources.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

Production: A Fragmighty Entertainment production. Produced by F. Miguel Valenti. Executive producer, Lars Perkins. Directed, written by Larry Blamire.

Crew: Camera (B&W, video), Kevin Jones; editor, Bill Bryn Russell; music, Valentino Production Music; set designers, Cortney Skinner, Joey Saccadonuts; costumes, Skinner, Emily Rapley; sound, Frederick Critchlow; assistant director, Julian Forbes. Reviewed on videocassette , San Francisco, Oct. 8, 2001. (In Mill Valley Film Festival.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Larry Blamire, Fay Masterson, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire, Susan McConnell, Andrew Parks, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau.

More Film

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content