The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra


Year 2001

Fay Masterson as  Betty Armstrong
Larry Blamire as Dr. Paul Armstrong  
Andrew Parks as Kro-Bar
Brian Howe as Dr. Roger Fleming  
Jennifer Blaire as Animala
Susan McConnell   as Lattis
 
Director - Larry Blamire
Screenwriter - Larry Blamire

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is an attempt to comically parody some 50's science fiction movies. The writers and actors think that they're very clever. They're not. They think that they're entertaining. They're smug. They think that they've captured the campiness of 50's science fiction movies. It eluded them on their hunt.

The plot is ripe for rips. A meteorite rich in the isotope atmospherium has crashed to Earth. A scientist wants it to help mankind, outer space aliens want it to power their ship, and a skeleton wants it to come back to life.

For a movie like this to work, it has to be played straight by most of the characters. Airplane is the best example of this and the only character who was wacky was Johnny. Everyone else was merely a more intense version of a possible person. Even the, "A hospital? What is it?" line and the following answer, "It's a big building with patients. But that's not important right now," was funny and unexpected but it wasn't out of place or moronic.

Or take The Princess Bride which had amped up characters that fit the story otherwise.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra has idiots running around. If you think that repetition of misused words is entertaining, then you might like this movie. There's the scientist and his wife who think that repeating the word "science" is enthralling. There's the alien couple who take a simple word like "planet" and express it in a convoluted way over and over again. There's also a scientist who wants to bring the titular skeleton back to life. His claim to annoyance is an attempt at maniacal laughter that comes across more as forced, tedius cackling rather than deep, foreboding glee.

There are some entertaining scenes, so it's not a complete disaster. The dinner party where the aliens, a sentient forest creature made human, and normal humans try to interact is smile enducing. That the mutant monster gets obviously tired carrying around the girl is also funny. The skeleton telling the guffawing scientist to stop his stupid laughing made me chuckle. But these moments are few and far between.

I definitely got the feeling that the writer/director looked down his nose at the movies of the 50s. It was almost as if he were saying, "Look how stupid they were back then." That isn't the way to make parodies.

The DVD included bloopers and from them it's obvious that the group had a good time making the movie. I wish some of that had transferred to the screen. Oh, the actors never looked bored. But they were not great actors and their efforts would have come across as mediocre without them trying to be mediocre. But try they did and between the grade school sense of humor and the deliberate hiding of any acting skills, what you're left with is a school play, written by the principal, and acted by the hammiest students.

Where was the paranoia? Every 50's science fiction movie revolved around paranoia. Here, there is none. "You're an alien? Let me dupe you." Or, "You're a mutilating monster? Let me faint into your arms," That's not funny and it's not a satire.

Instead, what's left is everyone is as dumb as a post. Aliens who feel superior to humans but give no sense of being able to pilot their own ship. A scientist who thinks himself smart but doesn't understand outer space. A skeleton who wants to take over the world but has no visible means of being able to do so. You may say that this is funny. I found it pitiable. I don't mean the characters. I mean the writer who has such a limited imagination yet feels condescending towards others without a shred of compassion should be pitied.

Writer/director Larry Blamire has done other similar movies. I'm going to give them all misses.

No nudity, no profanity but blasphemy is okay(?), one funny scene every five to ten minutes, and a decided lack of knowledge of what made the 1950's movies work.


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