It looks like everyone from the first film, THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA, returns for this movie although a couple of them aren’t playing their original characters.
Several years have passed since the events of TLSOC have taken place. Dr. Paul Armstrong (Writer, Director and Star Larry Blamire) has been missing in the jungle for two years. His perpetually cheerful wife, Betty (Fay Masterson), is contacted by a Government agent who talks her into going on an expedition – first to find Paul and then to search for Jerranium 90, an element of national importance.
They are later joined on the expedition by Dr. Peter Fleming (Brian Howe), twin brother of Roger Fleming. Roger had fallen under the evil influence of the Skeleton and was eventually killed in TLSOC. Peter now has the Skull, the only remaining part of the Skeleton of Cadavra. The Skull sparks to life again and takes hypnotic control over Peter and off they go to find and join Dr. Armstrong’s expedition. The Skull needs that Jerranium 90 in order to become a full skeleton again – and then to rule the world.
Mr. Blamire has a real gift for delivering his “yes, I am bitter” lines in a deliberate monotone voice that really brought to mind the wooden performance of Dudley Manlove in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (the cinematic lesson I learned from Dudley was that someone still breathing could walk around looking like rigor mortis had already set in).
Susan McConnell and Andrew Parks return as the friendly aliens Lattis and Kro-bar. Together they have one of the biggest laughs in the movie as they “sing” the name of Fleming over and over. “Fleming! Fleming!” got stuck in my head in the same manner that Anita Ward’s 1979 disco hit “Ring My Bell” just wouldn’t go away – even for months after they quit playing it on the radio. The difference is I can live with “Fleming! Fleming!” rattling around in my brain simply because of the exquisite comic delivery of Ms. McConnell and Mr. Parks.
Special mention must be made here of Alison Martin, who plays Chinfa, leader of the Cantaloupe people. Chinfa’s “Cantaloupe Dance” is hysterical – if it doesn’t catch on as a dance craze, then there’s no justice in this world. Ms. Martin has a bright future playing off-the-wall characters as have actresses like Joyce Jameson and Jennifer Coolidge.
Jennifer Blaire reprises her role – Thank God I say! – as “Animala”, though she christens herself here as “Pammie”. I’m guessing that Ms. Blaire has some real-life dance experience because she has absolutely nailed those feline movements with dignified ease and a statuesque grace. It was a very skilled performance.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Skull was an on-set diva. It is easy to imagine the Skull acting very much “The Star” while on set; bossing around the extras, preferring not to eat with the rest of the cast and crew, demanding his own trailer, make-up artist, etc. He must have been insufferable. Kudos to everyone there for tolerating the Skull’s “artistic tantrums”. I'm sure that Mr. Blamire has some good stories to tell on this subject.
For those of us who loved those 1950’s creature/”what the hell was THAT?” kind of films predominant at that time period, TLSRA is truly a gift. It’s a loving tribute to the time when Bronson Canyon was used as locations to shoot films like “Robot Monster” and when Richard Carlson never really visibly expressed much surprise at any creature he came across in the movies.
Watching TLSRA was probably the most fun I’ve had (with my clothes on, that is) in a long time. Highly recommended.
Extras include a “making of” documentary and a gag reel. The movie is in both Black & White and Color at two different points.
Available for ordering through “Borders”, “Barnes and Noble” and at shoutfactory.com.