Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) wants to locate a meteor that struck the planet’s surface, as he believes the rock is loaded with atmospherium. He and his wife Betty (Faye Masterson) trek out to the crash site to extract the rare, powerful element, unaware that a much larger, more important plot is about to unfold. At the same time, an alien spacecraft touches down on Earth and soon after landing, the trouble begins. The aliens inside, Kro-Bar and Lattis manage to let their pet loose and that could spell serious disaster. The pet is a hideous mutant and if the beast reaches an area inhabited by humans, the buffet will commence. So the aliens have to track down the escaped mutant, plus find some atmospherium, which is needed to fuel their spacecraft. But not just two parties seek out the rare element however, as the nefarious Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) also needs some for himself, or at least for his skeleton. Not his own actual skeleton, but the infamous collection of bones known to rest in the Cadavra caves. After Fleming unearths said skeleton, he learns that without the sought after element, the resurrection is impossible. With three parties all in desperate searches for the atmospherium, only one can extract the needed element. But which group will be able to secure the element and at what cost?
I love bad movies. Not just any bad ones though, the ones that are so damn bad, you have to laugh your ass off. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra tries to revive that style of cinema, but can a modern movie capture the same brand of unintentional cheese, camp, and hijinks of a low rent sci/fi picture from decades ago? The answer is sort of, as the movie is spot on in spoofing those classic bad movies, but the inside jokes dull some of the shine. I mean, we know these folks know the movie is laughable, which kind of lessens the camp edge. Even so, for fans of the old school sci/fi movies, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is a blast to watch. You can tell the filmmakers knew and loved those old bad movies, as this picture is loaded with dead on satire, the kind that hits the target right in the center of the bullseye. The characters are right out of the sci/fi stinkers we’ve all seen, the dialogue is as lame as we could want, and of course, the special effects are superb. That is, if you think ten cent explosions and creatures crafted from household items are superb, which of course, fans of this kind of cinema do. There is still some modern polish left behind, but in the end, the filmmakers capture the spirit better than I expected. Columbia’s disc is loaded too, so if you’re at all interested, check out The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.
Video: How does it look?
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This was a shot on video production that was supposed to look like a much older picture, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here. As it turns out, this treatment is excellent and comes across just as intended, so good work by Columbia. The print looks great, with no real issues to mention and as far as softness, that never proves to be an issue. The black & white visuals have a clean, crisp presence that looks more new than old. The contrast is great too, with smooth black levels and no balance problems, not even minor ones. So this might be a throwback motion picture, but you can count on a modern, top drawer visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
A movie like this needs a basic, no frills soundtrack and with the included mono option, that is just what we have. The mono aspect is not really an issue, as the audio has a clean, clear sound that older mono soundtracks often lack. So don’t assume that because this is in mono that the audio is flat, as that isn’t the case. The audio here can’t compete with a full on surround sound option, but for what it is, the sound is more than acceptable. And in truth, a more bold or potent soundtrack could have ruined the experience in this case. I found dialogue to be clear throughout, the music was solid, and sound effects were fine as well. This disc also includes subtitles in English and French, just in case you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A pair of audio commentaries kick off the supplements, one with director Larry Blamire and a group of cast members, the other with Blamire and a collection of crew members. The cast track tends to be more fun, with a lot of anecdotes and jokes, while the crew track is more technical, but has more in depth information. So a nice mixture of tidbits if you combine the two tracks, so all the bases are well covered. A half hour question & answer session is next, in which the cast takes cues from a live audience, then we move over to Obey the Lost Skeleton, a brief selection of cast and crew interviews. This disc also includes the animated short Skeleton Frolic, a gallery of promotional items, and the film’s theatrical trailer.