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Bad Movie Night

Barebones Script Meets a Killer Skeleton
Posted by Socrates Crenshaw and Orlando W. Harris on Jun 11, 2004 - 8:07:00 PM


Every once in a while, a movie of a lifetime comes along, filled with drama, love, comedy, and probing questions into the very nature and existence of Mankind. This was not that film. It knew it wasn't. That's why we loved it.

A loving homage to no-budget, no-thought sci-fi drive-in thrillers of the '50s and early '60s, "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" is so bad, so terribly wrong, its perfection. Every detail is painstakingly accounted for, making it an on the mark tribute to the criminally bad.

Photo Taken By Rachelle Sadler
We begin our romp in the mountainous woods near Lake Idyllwild. A scientist, Paul, who practices science (no, really they say that), and his wife, Betty, are up to witness a meteor crash and hope to find the rarest element in the known universe, Atmosphereum. Paul and Betty's one-dimensional patriarchal interaction sets male-female relations back to the times before Sadie Hawkins.

A wayward alien couple are marooned in the same canyon, unable to locate their pet killer mutant, and desperately need some Atmosphereum to power their ship back home.

Another scientist, who believes in nothing because he's a scientist, is also in the area, to find the Cave of Cadavra and the lost skeleton said to dwell therein. He wishes to revive said skeleton to help rule the world.

Skeletor steals every scene that he's in, whether it's battling the giant mutant, forcing the alien couple to dance so awkwardly they make junior high kids look graceful, or climbing/falling down a rock face. His verbal missiles are just as awesome, always ready with a loud, forceful "Shut up," "That is how stupid you are," or the magical utterance, "I sleep now!" to explain a lapse in telepathic possession.

Photo Taken By Rachelle Sadler
The dialogue is mind-numbing in its cyclical nature, characters repeating what others repeated of their repetitions and so on. Forced laughter at terrible jokes ("I didn't know you humans are all mind readers, ho ho ho," "I guess we've both got rocks in our heads,") to the alien couple's hilarious posture when sitting down, the movie misses so wide it hits the bulls-eye.

The details: Three deaths, or four?; one hysterically stupid mutant costume; priceless life-and-undeath struggle between the mutant and Skeletor; awesome cheesy ray-gun FX; a beatnik dancing woman composed of four different forest creatures by said ray-gun; and the topper, when the evil scientist is choked to death by the Skeleton (yes, he held the hands to his throat and pretended to croak). No breasts, and this movie still got five kegs out of five. See it tonight.

Think you've seen a worse movie? Or have you seen one at the video store but you're too scared to watch it yourself? E-mail any and all comments/suggestions (that aren't called Manos: The Hands of Fate) to


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