The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004)

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004)

A meteor shower rains down a rare element in a secluded patch of forest.  One scientist searches for the knowledge that it represents, another discovers he needs it to unlock untold power and a team of stranded aliens need it to return home.  All must vie for the meteor while an escaped mutant prowls the woods.

This ridiculous set-up provides the grist for this 50s spoof flick, done in the spirit of Ed Wood.  The idea is good and at times so is the movie.  Larry Blamire is great as Dr. Paul Armstrong, a man who just wants to find the meteor to “do science” with it and advance “the field of science”.  His monomania is crazy, as his wife’s (Fay Masterson) devotion to the crazy man whom she understands so little.  Dr. Fleming (Brian Howe) works well as a man driven to find the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and harness its powers for his own ambitions, cliched and vague though they may be.  These, as well, as the campy elements such as obvious continuity errors and ridiculous special effects and one of the worst mutants ever, are what make the film work.  A finale that includes a guy in a rubber mutant suit that makes him look more cucumber than alien battling with a plastic classroom skeleton is one of the highlights for its ridiculousness.

Along the way, though, it loses its way and becomes more satire than spoof.  The aliens were too far over the top in their inept stumbling through Earth culture.  Many of the jokes were belabored until they became background noise.  A film that started out as “The Naked Gun” quickly devolved into one of the many hackneyed and forgettable movie spoof mash-ups that seem to come out every few months.

Sadly, after much promise, what started out as a great romp through 50s nostalgia comes up empty.  There’s enough to entertain fans of the genre who are willing to look at it – and themselves – with a sardonic eye, but there are also better options out there.

Stars: 2/5

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