Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)

Some people take their love of bad movies and go onto the internet and write reviews about them. They want to share the wonder of the bad movie and drag others to witness its beauty. That is one of the reasons The Room has been inflicted on so many innocent people. But other people decide to take a crack at the bad movie piƱata with their own bat. Larry Blamire just stepped up to the plate. The result may be as bad as my mixed metaphors.

Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) is a scientist who specializes in the field of science.  He and his wife Betty (Fay Masterson) are driving to a remote cabin to spend some time alone together and so he can study a meteorite made of the mysterious element atmospherium (which may be the dumbest name for an element since unobtanium). Meanwhile an evil scientist named Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) is searching for the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra in the same woodland area. When he finds the skeleton it demands atmospherium so that it can regain all of it’s evil powers.

Then a spaceship lands… no seriously, a spaceship lands. The husband and wife alien duo Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell) discover that their pet mutant (Darin Reed) has escaped! They need to capture the mutant, and then get some atmospherium to repair their ship and return to their planet. Before you can say Plan 9 From Outer Space wacky shenanigans ensue as the aliens, the evil doctor and the clueless scientist and his wife all collide. Will the mutant horribly mutilate our heroes? Will the aliens be able to pass as normal humans? Will we find out what kind of animals Animala (Jennifer Blaire) is made of? And who will be the first victim of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

Good Points:
  • Manages to parody and capture the feel of a 1950s drive in flick
  • The dialogue is a perfect parody of Ed Wood’s best
  • Wears its love of bad black and white B movies on its sleeve

Bad Points:
  • It is so in on the joke that it can rub viewers the wrong way
  • A few scenes go on a little too long
  • If you don’t get why people love bad movies, then don’t bother with this one

This is a dangerous balancing act: to make a fun schlocky movie while poking fun at schlocky movies. But Blamire and his cast and crew pull it off. They obviously love the movies they are spoofing, and they’ve watched plenty of them. The result is a very fun ride with some very quotable dialogue, hilarious characters and a spirit of fun around every corner. A few of the talky scenes go on a bit long, but in all honesty it could be part of the joke. I had a great time with this one and anyone who enjoys the genre of films (and those particular Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes that feature those films) will probably enjoy this too.

Scores (out of 5)*
Visuals: 5
Sound: 3
Acting: 5
Script: 4
Music: 5
Direction: 5
Entertainment: 4
Total:  5

*Since the movie is attempting to be bad, I rated the elements on how well it succeeded in matching the schlocky movie vibe. For example, the camera work reminded me strongly of Ed Wood Jr. and Roger Corman camera framing – and so it gets high marks.

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.   


  1. I fucking love this movie! Funny as hell!

    1. Yeah it became an instant favorite around my house. We've only seen it once, but we constantly quote it. "Always agree" and "I sleep now" are a couple of our favorite lines.

  2. I have to be in the right mood for this sort of thing, but I was one time when it was on satellite -- an enjoyably silly homage.

    1. Yeah this really could have gone badly. I've seen (and I admit, participated) in badly done parodies, and if you are too in on the joke, it ends up ruining the whole concept. I really think Blamire did a wonderful job here. He's done a few other films in the same style (including a sequel). I'm going to have to check these out.

  3. I'm somewhat mixed on films of this sort. It's one thing for the early directors like Ed Wood to make a naive film, but to intently make a bad film sometimes seems weird. But then, as you said, it's a homage and there are plenty of folks that this might appeal to. By the way, on Terry Gross's Fresh Air program she interviewed Lyle Talbot who starred in a couple of Ed Wood films, pretty entertaining interview: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/21/165595506/a-daughter-remembers-her-entertainer-father

    1. I completely agree with you. But I think that Blamire loves "bad" movies and so his parody is not mean spirited or angry. It really makes it an entertaining and fun film. But yeah, making a "bad" movie on purpose does seem a bit odd. Thanks for the link, it was entertaining!