Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Horror Thoughts ‘13—The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001) ***

PG, 90 min.
Director/Writer: Larry Blamire
Starring: Larry Blamire, Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, Susan McConnell, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau, Darrin Reed

“The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” is a joy of a spoof of a 1950s era sci-fi horror b-movie. It has everything that made such films nearly unwatchable—poor quality black & white cinematography, bad acting, inane dialogue, absurd plots and even more absurd twists, horrendous special effects, and impossible monsters. I’ve seen spoofs like this one before, but none that were so spot on in the production design and film quality.

In fact, even the acting seems to be the real thing; and that must be a feat to pull off, because bad acting is a quality that most good actors have lost touch with and bad actors cannot put it to any sort of comedic use. This cast must be very good actors indeed. It helps a little that much of the dialogue appears to have been dubbed in after the fact, another common practice of the era in which they are spoofing.

I had read comments that this joke gets old before the film is finished, but I have to disagree. Just as the perfect spoof of the clichés of the genre are beginning to wear, the writer changes things up by using those clichés to set up jokes about the notions of aliens trying to blend in as Earthlings. First of all, like so many aliens depicted in the 50s, these aliens look exactly like humans, but here they have a transmogrifying gun that will chance their appearance to make them look exactly like us, which as I said, they already do. The gun just changes their clothes. Unlike, the clichéd aliens of the 50s sci-fi scene, however, these two have a little more difficulty assimilating to our culture. They don’t really know an Earth language. They can’t remember their cover names, and they allow another person who is actually an animal that was transformed by the transmogrifying gun to teach them dining customs. The results are juvenile, but still very funny.

“The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” isn’t a good movie, but it isn’t supposed to be. It is one of the better spoofs I’ve seen, however. It Mystery Science Theater 3000s itself so nobody else has to. It is a pleasant surprise.

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