Plot: What’s it about?
The town of Deadwood, South Dakota is often buried in snow, but is also home to another substance, gold and lots of it. And that gold has attracted some folks to Deadwood, in the form of a band of thieves who want to cash in on the local cash crop. The team uses a massive explosion in an old mine to distract the townspeople, then they head to the bank and help themselves to the riches, just as planned. But this flawless operation is not as seamless as it may appear, as the thieves soon find themselves in a real mess. A guide is hired to lead them to an isolated cabin, but this is not a serene time, as the thieves are being followed by a hideous monster, who wishes to make sure they don’t live to see the morning. As the night passes, this awful creature stalks the thieves and one by one, it tries to capture them and suck their blood ’til there’s none left. Can these thieves survive the night and escape from this most dangerous situation, or have their evil ways finally caught up with them, in the form of the Best from Haunted Cave?
I am very pleased to see Beast from Haunted Cave released, as I like 1950s B movies and this is one of the better ones, at least on most counts. As you’d expect, this movie had a low budget and it shows, but it has a great storyline and even supplies some good writing, which is rare in these kind of flicks. I wouldn’t say this is a literary masterpiece by any means, but given the usual stuff you see in these movies, this is a welcome improvement. The tight direction from Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter) also helps this film remain on track, from the performances to the pacing, he is able to deliver the goods. As some of you know, Hellman has a resume loaded with cool flicks, but this was his feature film debut. I suppose that makes his ample work even more impressive, since it was his first time out the gate, so to speak. As if all this wasn’t enough, Beast from Haunted Cave even stars the brother of Frank Sinatra, Richard, which has to be worth something. In the end, this is a terrific genre flick that delivers on all fronts, but if you’re not a fan of these kind of movies, I don’t think this one will win you over.
Video: How does it look?
Beast from Haunted Cave is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. I was pleased with the image provided here, as the print looks much cleaner than expected, which is terrific news indeed. I still saw some scratches and a few more serious lines & defects, but this still looks better than I had counted on, to be sure. The black & white image is sharper than you might think also, with very clean detail presence and a well balanced contrast base throughout. The film shows its age and low budget to be sure, but this treatment should more than please fans of the flick.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is where the materials show their age in serious ways, as the audio is not too sharp, to say the least. I think some of the film sounds fine, but most of it has some elements of age signs, from harshness to distortion. A few scenes have a lot of harshness in fact, to the extent that you can’t understand some of the dialogue. This is by no means a total loss, but the material is very dated and as such, doesn’t stack up well against the usual DVD standards. This is to be expected to an extent however, given the film’s low budget and age, I think.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer, as well as additional footage, which has been edited back into the film itself.