In the greatest tradition of 1950’s producers like William Castle comes The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Castle fans will appreciate the “Filmed in Skeletovision” gag on the cover art. This is a wonderful send-up of the 1950’s science fiction genre. Most of the acting is deliberately over the top and the gags are often too obvious… but this is funny stuff. The music cues are dead on. Fans of Mystery Science Fiction Theatre 3000 will also find this film entertaining to the extreme. Andrew Parks steals the show wit… his portrayal of alien Kro-Bar. His facial expressions alone are worth watching this film.
Scientist Armstrong (Blamire) and his wife Betty (Masterson) have discovered a meteor that contains the rare element atmospherium. The element can be a great source of energy for the planet. At the same time two aliens from the planet Marva (Parks & McConnell) have crashed on Earth. They are coincidentally in need of atmospherium to repair their ship. In the same area another scientist (Howe) finds the legendary Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. The skeleton orders him to find (you guessed it) atmospherium to bring him back to life. All the while a mutant from Marva is also on the loose.
The Dolby Digital mono audio track is faithful to the material being spoofed. Dialogue is clear and present. The 50’s style monster movie music cues balance well with the rest of the mix. Nothing dynamic here. Any modern tweaks would most certainly spoil the carefully crafted atmospherium … I mean atmosphere.
The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra is presented in a sharp aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Although filmed in color, the print has been processed to a perfect black and white. In fact, the film looks almost too good for the genre being portrayed. There are film specks, but they were intentionally added. Black levels are flawless. Contrast is excellent.
The special features are arranged cleverly. The disc carries the gag all the way into the extras. We are presented with a film fictionally from the 1950’s. You’ll find merchandise and promotional items from the film’s “original release”.
There is a “Blooper Reel”. This stuff will give you a glimpse of the original color filming. I’m not sure if these are actual bloopers or more made up stuff. Either way it’s pretty funny.
“American Cinematheque Q&A” is taken from a convention setting where the film was originally screened. The cast and crew are fielding questions from the convention stage. Audio and video are pretty poor here, but it’s an interesting feature.
“Obey the Skeleton” is a more traditional interview piece with cast and crew. It’s obvious they had a blast doing the picture. It’s interesting to note just how cheaply the thing was done.
There are galleries which mostly include the made-up tie in products.
If you take this stuff seriously you might want to avoid this one. This is strictly a spoof. Even taken at face value, gags are often overdone and can get tired. It’s obvious that the entire crew have a great love for the old material. I think they had more fun making it than I did watching it. If you can relax enough to allow it, you’ll be taken back to a unique time in American Cinema. “I sleep now”.
Special Features List
- Director and cast commentary
- Character commentary
- Blooper reel
- American Cinematheque Q&A featurette
- “Obey the Skeleton” making-of featurette
- Photo gallery
- “Skeleton Frolic” short film