Our next movie was The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which was Larry Blamire’s directorial debut. I had watched this film way back in 2004 when it was first released on DVD, but I hadn’t seen it since then, so I was hoping it would be as funny as the first time I had watched it. I needn’t have worried as this spot on satire of the sci-fi horror films of the 1950’s was just as clever and subtly humorous as I’d remembered. The story of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra involves a scientist, Dr. Paul Armstrong - played by Larry Blamire himself – searching for and then finding a fallen meteor in the middle of a mountainous forest that “could mean actual advances in the field of science”. He is aided by his wife Betty – played by the lovely Fay Masterson - who is loyal, but not so keen on "this science stuff." They encounter an alien couple from the planet Marva, Kro-Bar and Lattis – played to a straight-faced tee by Andrew Parks and Susan McConnell – who disguise themselves as ordinary humans and attempt to obtain the meteor, from Dr. Armstrong. The meteor contains the rare ore Atmosphereum, which powers the Marvaian spaceship. Meanwhile, the evil scientist Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) is wandering the same forest, looking for the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra that will enable him to “conquer the world”. He finds the skeleton, but the immobile remains informs Fleming that he must obtain the rare ore in the fallen meteor to effect his full recovery! Fleming uses a discarded alien devise to create a female companion from various forest animals, so that he can steal the meteor from Armstrong without drawing suspicion. Animalia (played seductively by Jennifer Blamire), as he dubs her, is less than convincing, as she insists on eating with her mouth and walking on all fours. Fleming steals the meteor, reviving the skeleton, and it is up to the Armstrongs and the aliens to join forces to stop the mad plans of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra!
Anyone who has watched any of the many low budget sci fi films of the 1950s, will appreciate the care with witch Larry Blamire has recreated the look and sound of these awful, yet entertaining films. The silly silver spacesuits of the aliens, the ray gun made from a caulk gun, the rocket ship model made from a silver spray-painted toilet paper roll, the giant “mutant” that looks like a Sid and Marty Krofft reject, the skeleton that “walks” and climbs on very visible wires… are all calculated details that make The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra look like its preposterous predecessors. Larry Blamire’s script is wickedly funny in its use of stilted dialogue, that would make Ed Wood, Jr. proud. This exchange between Dr. Armstrong and his wife Betty early in the film sets the tone for the entire film.
Dr. Paul Armstrong: Looks like a perfect day for hunting space rocks, wouldn't you say Betty?
Betty Armstrong: Oh Paul, I'm frightened.
Dr. Paul Armstrong: Wh-what is it darling? What's the matter? Tell me?
Betty Armstrong: I don't know. Nothing I can put my finger on. Not something I can see or touch or feel. But something I can't quite see or touch or feel or put my finger on.
Dr. Paul Armstrong: Oh well. Shall we find that meteor?
This is satire at its best! If you “get” The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra’s brand of humor, then you will be rewarded with many laughs throughout its entirety.
The final film in the Scare-a-thon was another Larry Blamire film and a sequel to The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra: The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, which I'll be reviewing in my post on the 15th Annual Scare-a-thon - Part 4!