Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (Larry Blamire, 2001)

This is a film that I hadn't seen before, but now that I have watched it (thus, completing the appropriate function that renders a film as "seen," or, to be technical, "observed with open eyes"), I can tell other people (those who enjoy watching films they haven't seen yet) that I have seen it without having to resort to tawdry lies or transparent diversionary tactics. The amount of weight that fell off my figurative shoulders after I watched The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra was so immense, that I felt the need to reference its size by employing a sentence that alludes to its weightiness. A cautionary tale that sheds a twisted beam of light on the dangers of sleeping skeletons and the risks that might arise when a scientist dedicated to science is lured into following a dancing animal/woman hybrid into a secluded forest, writer-director-actor Larry Blamire has somehow fashioned the most sincere science fiction epic of our time. A film that has no limits when it comes to terror and depicting madness in an unclouded manner, the totally earthshattering, totally engrossing, and totally elongating endeavour will leave you gasping for an oxygen-like substance. Not because you're inadvertently asphyxiating yourself, but because you won't be able to stop yourself from making sounds that resemble laughing.

The fact that a film this terrifying is also tremendous in size when it comes to providing the mirth-based relief that all us mouth breathers need to survive, has to be one of them miracle thingies. Now, I don't want to flaunt my brilliance too wantonly, but I think the humour in this film was completely unintentional. I mean, no film can be this funny on purpose, can it? If the comedy was purposeful, then that would imply that someone was being fraudulent, and I don't think the movie producers would be dishonest like that. No, the humour in this film was entirely accidental. Either way, the dizzying mix of genuine scares and undesigned laughter made for one strangely intoxicating stew.

Of course, this film isn't a moisture-covered meal that encourages drunkenness when consumed with one's mouth; that would be profoundly stupid. However, it does teach you how to drink liquid beverages that promote refreshment and how to correctly sit on a chair or sofa. Apparently, when drinking, you're supposed to press the edge of the cup or glass to your lip and tip it slightly until the watery contents pore out in a gradual manner. Sitting, on the other hand, is even simpler. In that, you just approach the item you want to sit on, and then fall backwards towards your desired seat while bending the middle part of your body.

It's sort of weird that I never knew how to do these things beforehand. But nonetheless, thanks to The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, I'll never again find myself in a situation where my complete lack of drinking or sitting skills will be in the position to hamper my attempts to commingle with the drinking and sitting elite of our hard-and-fast society.

Taking place in a lush and wondrously bushy landscape, the film–you know, the one I seemed to stop writing about eighty words ago– is about science and the marvels that science can achieve if implemented scientifically. If it appears as though I'm using the word "science" a little too often, you should hear Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire). A scientist not only dedicated to science, but also science as a verbal accouterment, the science-obsessed doctor is search of a fallen asteroid that contains atmosphereum, a substance that could greatly benefit his beloved field of science.

Traveling with his sexy, yet mildly dim wife, Bettie (Fay Masterson), the laughter-prone scientist drives out to a secluded cabin that is close to where the space rock landed. Near by, another scientist, Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe), is on a journey as well. Though scientific in nature, this scientist has more sinister plans in mind, as he wants to find and awaken the lost of skeleton of Cadavra, a bony creature that apparently wields great power. And, as you would expect, the only way to wake up the skeleton is by acquiring some atmosphereum. Which brings me to a couple of space aliens named Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell), whose rocket ship crashes in the neighbourhood and can only be fixed by, you guessed it, employing the restorative nectar that only the juicy goodness of atmosphereum can provide.

The quality of the performances ranged from awesome to extremely awesome, as each thespian brought their own unique perspective to the proceedings. Populating the regular awesome spectrum would have to be the director himself, who, like I said, takes scientific language to whole new level of hilarity. The gorgeous Fay Masterson is wonderfully obtuse as the dutiful scientist's wife. Her cute nose and excessive laughter were a pleasure to observe. I found myself relating to the aliens played by Andrew Parks and Susan McConnell very much, as their ignorance of Earthlings and their peculiar Earth ways mirrored my own at times. For instance, the way Susan's Lattis character reacted to the sensation of wearing an Earth dress ("an inverted cloth funnel") for the very first time was eerily similar to way I behaved when I wore my first dress. (Self-molestation while in drag is the best invention since the toaster oven butt-plug.)

The performance that elevates this skeleton in the stratosphere in terms of sexy cool was the black leotard-sheathed allurement of Jennifer Blaire's Animala. A creature formed out of a scientist's intense loneliness, the amount of contorted charm Miss Blaire brought to the film via her catlike writhing and coquettish roaring was innumerable. Hell, even the exposed skin on the back of her neck was a reason to celebrate (her boyish haircut was sublime). I like to think that Animala was dreamed up with me in mind when Larry Blamire created her using his mind, because it's been like, at least five, maybe ten minutes since I've found myself this drawn to a cinematic character.

Alliances are formed and broken, mutants are unleashed, beastly women are created, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is the perfect metaphor for the need for there to be more understanding between humans and aliens. Boasting sharp writing, realistic skeleton effects, and some of the most deadpan acting I have ever seen, this loving tribute to cheesy movies from the past is an infectious lark of galactic proportions.

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  1. I think Russ likes this movie.

    I wanted to comment on your previous movie. When I looked on Wiki for more information, as I'm want to do, I found this tidbit:

    "The Driller Killer is a 1979 movie directed by and starring Abel Ferrara. It is notable for being one of the first video nasties in the United Kingdom, in addition to being banned in Germany."

    I always thought "video nasty" was something The Young Ones made up. "Nasty" is one of my favorite episodes of TYO.

    Speaking of nasty...
    "Toaster oven butt-plug"?

  2. Yum-Yum, this was a very scientific review of the kind this film most deeply deserves. For me, the most interesting part of the narrative from a scientific perspective was the scene in which the aliens were terrified by the concept of a flight of stairs, followed by a door. Science has much to learn from observing the peculiarities of alien life as documented in Blamire's film.

  3. Karim Amir: This Russ fella keeps getting cooler. (Give him an awkward high five the next time you see him.)

    I've only seen four from the list of "video nasties." :(

    (or 'smiley face' depending on your point of view.)

    The toaster oven butt-plug is just a marketing gimmick geared towards the members of the butt-plug community. In reality, it's just your average toaster, except it's been fitted with subtle nuances that appeal to your average butt-plug user.

    If that explanation sounded a little on the wonky side, blame the awful migraine I'm suffering right now. Ugh.

    Samuel Wilson: Hey, man, thanks for bringing up the aliens' unique approach to stair climbing and door opening. I would have brought it up myself, but as you could probably tell, I was busy going on and on about their sitting and sipping ways.

  4. I haven't even heard of this one..but speaking of SCIENCE, did you know there is a rectal foreign body article on Wikipedia?

    Me neither...I found it when I was reading the Wiki article on butt plugs.

  5. I had never even heard of this one before. It sounds really cool. I definitely wanna give a try now.

  6. Mr. Canacorn: "...inserted through the anus, rather than reaching the rectum via the mouth."


    "...designed to be inserted in the anus and rectum for sexual pleasure."

    The key word there being "designed," as you don't want to know what I do with my butt plugs. Okay, I don't have any butt plugs. But if I did, I guarantee, you wouldn't want to know what I'd do with them.

    Keith: I hope you dig it. It's the kind of film the whole family can enjoy.

  7. That was some interesting reading, Mr. Canacorn.

    Yum squared, hope your migraine is gone. I hate migraines. :(

  8. The Susan McConnell IMDB entry lists her as also appearing in Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007) and (you guessed it) he Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2009)!