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Review: The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

What Far from Heaven was to Douglas Sirk, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is to those lovable Grade-Z monster movies of the 1950s.

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The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
Photo: TriStar Pictures

Look to the skies! What Far from Heaven was to Douglas Sirk, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is to those lovable Grade-Z monster movies of the 1950s. Told with poker-faced glee, the film is an “it came from another world” saga featuring a rubber suit mutant, a skeleton intent on conquering Earth (pulled along on a not-so-invisible string), a cat-woman (Jennifer Blaire, whose sensual hypnotic dance number that lures the hero to near-death is a showstopper), and formal speaking alien visitors dressed in cover-alls and glitter.

Writer-director Larry Blamire has a genuine taste for this material, right down to his performance as the “man of science” whose peppy wife (Fay Masterson) succumbs to alien mind control. Set in and around Lake Arrowhead and Bronson Canyon, California (that famous no man’s land from Robot Monster), and scored with vintage music from the period, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is a nostalgia coup and, frequently, a real hoot.

The title fiend’s Johnny Carson one-liners quickly grow tiresome, but he’s thankfully off-screen for most of the running time. That’s a small price to pay among zingers like a climactic battle for world supremacy between what’s obviously a stuffed rag monster and a medical school skeleton. The perilously low budget plays to The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra’s advantage, and the scant 90-minute running time assures that it doesn’t wear out its welcome. It may be a one-gag premise, but it’s told with affection and an “aw, shucks” reverence.

Cast: Larry Blamire, Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, Susan McConnell, Brian Howe, Jennifer Blaire, Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau, Darren Reed Director: Larry Blamire Screenwriter: Larry Blamire Distributor: TriStar Pictures Running Time: 89 min Rating: PG Year: 2002 Buy: Video

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