Corny, pretentious dialogue. Hokey special effects. Stereotypical characters. Inept pseudo-science. A lame plot full of holes.
So why even bother watching "Lost Skeleton of Cadavra"? Well, to start with, there's the fact that it's not a hokey sci-fi movie, but a clever, hilarious spoof of those old cheap movies made in the 1950s. It's gloriously pompous and idiotic, with some of the best/worst dialogue outside a Christopher Guest mockumentary. ("Why shake when we can touch other things... like lips.")
Scientist Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) and "scientist's wife" Betty (Fay Masterson) arrive at a rural area, looking for an asteroid made out of (I am NOT making this up) "atmosphereum." Little do they realize that evil Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) has found the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which needs atmosphereum to move, and subsequently conquer the world, yada yada.
To make matters worse, a pair of aliens have landed. Not only do they ALSO need atmosphereum, but they have let a lethal Mutant loose on the countryside. Both the aliens and Roger manage to infiltrate the Armstrong cabin to find atmosphereum. Now Betty and Paul must befriend the aliens, and stop the evil Skeleton and the killer Mutant.
The entire movie is mockingly affectionate of those old sci-fi movies -- it's even filmed in the same location as most of them. The costumes are cheap, the aliens are cheesy, and very few of the events make any logical sense. When the Armstrongs and aliens sit in a spaceship and drink "cranberroid" juice from decorative candleholders, the goofiness is officially complete.
Admittedly, the plot does slow down to a crawl in the middle, and seems to temporarily lose its way. But fortunately it's peppered with high-school special effects (check out the skeleton climbing down the rocks), ridiculous props (spot the caulk gun), and the giant fish-faced Mutant, who falls for the Earth girl. It's practically a checklist for old cliches.
And then there's the horrible dialogue. One clunky gem: "It is different, this 'Earth' as it is called. But then are we of the planet Marva -- as we call our planet -- not also strange and different to think planet and its people also?" The best plot twist would have to be the "Bride of the Lost Skeleton" scenes, which would have made a great title for the movie.
Director/writer/actor Larry Blamire is wonderfully emotionless as Paul, saying lines like "Betty, you know what this meteor could mean to science. It could mean actual advances in the field of science!" with a straight face. I certainly couldn't. He's solidly backed up by a cooing Fay Masterson, intentionally wooden Andrew Parks, and a goofily seductive Jennifer Blaire.
Made on a shoestring budget, with terrible effects and costumes and a clunky script, "Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" is a delicious little spoof. Now to wait for the sequel, "Trail of the Screaming Forehead"!