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Film / The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

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"I sleep now."
Dr. Fleming: Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a skeleton to bring to life!
Skeleton: (in a distant cave) THAT WOULD BE ME.

A 2001 Affectionate Parody of campy 1950s B Movies, complete with nonsensical plot, intentionally stilted acting and cheap Special Effects. Directed by, written by and starring Larry Blamire.

The plot revolves around Dr. Paul Armstrong (a man OF SCIENCE), Dr. Roger Fleming (a man OF EVIL), and Kro-Bar and Lattis (aliens FROM OUTER SPACE), all of whom wish to acquire the rare radioactive element "atmosphereum" for various reasons: to do science, to revive a mysterious lost skeleton and to power their spaceship, respectively. A mutant (WHO KILLS FOR KICKS!) and a woman made out of animals factor in here somehow also.

In 2008 a sequel, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, was made by Blamire with most of the original cast, this time in the style of a 1960's color cheapie; it was released on DVD in August, 2010.

This movie provides examples of:

  • The '50s: There's nothing in the movie that is overly 1950s in nature, but the movie itself is a parody of 50s B movies.
  • Affectionate Parody: The movie was clearly made in good fun as a tribute to classic B-movies.
  • Agent Scully: Dr. Fleming is a scientist; he doesn't believe in anything but Science.
  • Aliens Speaking English: And in true 50s B-movie style, they don't even try explaining it.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Skeleton declares that he will marry the alien woman Lattis and tries to have a wedding ceremony.
  • Antagonist Title: The film's title is the "name" of its Big Bad.
  • As You Know:
    • Crobar is fond of pointing out to his wife that they are aliens from the planet Marva. He also likes to explain technology that's just as familiar to her as it is to him.
    • Paul actually pulls his car onto the shoulder in order to explain Atmosphereum and its implications (actual advances in the field of Science) to his wife, who must have already known this prior to being asked to go out to the middle of nowhere to look for some.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Everyone.
  • Bad Boss: The Skeleton. It constantly mocks Roger for no real reason, and once Roger outlives his usefulness, the Skeleton tries to strangle him.
  • Bears Are Bad News: "I've seen bears do things that even a bear wouldn't do."
  • Beast and Beauty: The Mutant is smitten by Betty. The Skeleton decides to marry Lattis.
  • Between My Legs: A bizarre and very brief example, when Betty has to Show Some Leg.
  • Big "NO!": Twice. First, from Lattis when the Skeleton decides to marry her. Second, from the Skeleton himself upon defeat.
  • Brainwashed: The Skeleton, Animala and the aliens can all do this to people.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the movie, Dr. Fleming states that skeletons have always hated him. At the end of the movie, the Skeleton tells Dr. Fleming that it always hated him.
  • Bronson Canyon and Caves: It wouldn't be an Affectionate Parody of '50s science fiction if it wasn't shot here, would it?
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Used inconsistently. Cranberries on the planet Marva are "cranberroids", cherries are "linbooba", but grapes are just grapes.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dr. Fleming's Evil Laugh, which doubles as an Overly Long Gag.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Not in the film's final cut, but the actor in the Mutant costume swore up a storm during his fight with the Skeleton which can be heard on the gag reel.
  • Compelling Voice: The Skeleton, used on Kro-Bar.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: After their Heel–Face Turn, Kro-Bar and Lattis invite the Armstrongs over for dinner, and discuss the differences between Earth and the planet Marva, even though a mutant (WHO KILLS FOR KICKS) and an evil skeleton are running around. It goes on so long that it goes from funny to tedious to funny again.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Three sets of people just happen to be looking for Atmospherium in the same place at the same time.
  • Dead to Begin With: The Lost Skeleton himself. There's no discussion of who he was when he was alive, or whose skeleton he is, or how he got lost, or why there's a local legend about him. He's just a skeleton, and he's evil.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire film was shot in color, and then made black and white in post-production for the Retraux look.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Played for Laughs as a parody of the casual sexism often seen in 1950s genre films. Betty is very much a prototypical housewife, as well as a Damsel in Distress. Even Lattis, who claims to be from a society where the genders are equal, defers to her husband Kro-Bar without question.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Much of the script, especially in the case of Kro-Bar. Blamire wrote the whole thing as if he was a hack writer who wanted to have a lot of thought-provoking dialogue, but didn't have the time and/or skill to pull it off, turning it all into mindless babble.
  • Dem Bones: The Skeleton has no trouble moving around despite its lack of muscles.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • As sayeth the Skeleton: "When I am brought to life, together you and I will rule the world together!"
    • There's a lot of this in the alien's dialogue as well, such as "You think the earth people think we are strange, you think? It is strange how the ways of different people on different planets differ."
    • As mentioned above, Krobar and Lattis are described as "aliens FROM OUTER SPACE!"
    • When Dr. Fleming discusses sharing the atmosphereum with the aliens, they reiterate what "sharing" entails several times.
    • Even Paul gets in on the fun.
    Paul: It's tough being a scientist's wife, the wife of a scientist.
  • Disney Villain Death: At the end of their fight, the mutant throws the Skeleton over a cliff. When it hits the ground, it breaks up into its component bones.
  • Easily Forgiven: The Mutant (even though he KILLS FOR KICKS)
  • The End... Or Is It?: Parodied.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Despite being the title character of the movie, the Skeleton is never given a name. He's just the Skeleton. "Cadavra" doesn't even count, as it's the name of the cave he's found in.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr Fleming, when he finds the Skeleton. Also an Overly Long Gag.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Kro-Bar against the Skeleton's Compelling Voice... though not very effectively.
    Kro-Bar: I won't like it!
  • For SCIENCE!: Paul's motivation in locating the Atmosphereum.
  • For the Evulz: Dr. Fleming never gives any reason at all for wanting to resurrect the Lost Skeleton, so this trope seems to be his only motivation.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Only to be expected from a movie parodying films made in the heyday of The Hays Code.
    Dr. Paul Armstrong: Now for the love of Mike, will someone please explain what the heck is going on here?
  • Green Rocks: That rarest of all metals, Atmosphereum, which can do such things as fuel spaceships and bring magical skeletons back to life.
  • Housewife: Betty, to ridiculous degree as it's almost all she ever talks about.
  • Hugh Mann
    Lattis: I certainly am a normal Earth female. Isn't that right, my little space comet?
  • Human Aliens: Kro-Bar and Lattis. All they have to do to blend in with Humans is to put on a suit and dress, respectively.
  • Humans Are Bastards: When Crobar and Lattis realize that Dr. Fleming had no intention of sharing the atmosphereum with them, he taunts them by saying that a lot of sharing on Earth works that way.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Animala is said to be a person-shaped mix of four different animals, but is not even a Little Bit Beastly outside of acting like an... animal. At the end, these are revealed to be a fox, two ferrets, and a squirrel.
    • Paul Armstrong and Roger Fleming are both scientists. Paul spends a couple scenes staring into a microscope (and doing other things that could be called experimentation by someone feeling charitable), but otherwise seems more interested in discussing what a scientist's life is like than doing anything scientific. Roger doesn't even do that much, as the actor puts it, he spends all day laughing in a cave. In one scene he does have what appears to be a child's chemistry set laid out on the floor of the cave, though he doesn't actually do anything with it.
  • Large Ham: Andrew Parks decided to play Kro-Bar as though he thought it was the role of a lifetime. There's also a lot of Eros in there. It's really something to behold. He manages to steal one scene simply by staring intently.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Animala, who looks completely human, aside from wearing gloves with claws on them (except for the shots when the actress isn't wearing them).
  • MacGuffin: The meteorite containing atmosphereum. Paul wants it to study, Roger wants it to resurrect the Lost Skeleton, and Crobar and Lattis want it to fuel their spaceship.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Dr. Fleming at one point complains that skeletons have always hated him. Fantastic Racism? Insanity? Who knows?
  • Mars Needs Women: The Mutant and Betty, though its intentions seemed to be pure. Inverted with the Skeleton wanting to marry Lattis, as she's an alien and he's presumably from Earth. However, she's a Human Alien and he's...a skeleton, so it still looks like this trope played straight.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: In true cheesey villain style, Roger indulges in this during his Evil Laugh scene.
  • Monochrome Casting: Just like the movies from the era it's spoofing, the entire cast is white.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Animala if you're into Cat Girls. Rowr.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Krobar and Lattis don't understand anything about human society. Including dresses, stairs, and sitting.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The mutant.
  • People Jars: Averted by the ethical principles of Science!
    Skeleton: You must find the Atmosphereum.
    Animala: Amish Terrarium. Must find Amish terrarium.
    Dr. Paul Armstrong: I don't understand. Why does she need an Amish terrarium?
    Betty Armstrong: Don't the Amish live in open air, like us?
    Dr. Paul Armstrong: Of course, Betty, it's absurd. Putting the Amish in glass cases would be inhumane.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Someone asks Paul if, since he studies meteors, he's a meteorologist. Paul laughs, and explains that a meteorologist is a weather man. No, he's a meteographer. Which, if that was a real word, would mean something like "one who writes in the air."note 
  • Phlebotinum: Atmospherium. It can power a spaceship, resurrect skeletons, and presumably do other things.
  • Retraux: The film was made to look like a B-Movie from the 1950s.
  • Say My Name: "Paul? Paul? Paul!? PAUL!?!"
  • Shaped Like Itself: Everyone talks like this:
    Dr. Armstrong: Do you realize what this meteor could mean to Science? If we find it, and it's real, it could mean a lot. It could mean actual advances in the field of Science.
  • Show Some Leg: Betty draws the mutant to the Skeleton's wedding to Lattis this way.
  • Space Clothes. Kro-bar and Lattis, when not disguised in human clothes, wear stereotypical Raygun Gothic style metallic jumpsuits.
  • Stylistic Suck: Everything about the film, from the script to the acting, was done in the style of low budget 50s genre films. Even minor gaffes, flubbed lines, and inconsistencies were deliberately added, to the point that it's impossible to tell if a mistake was done on purpose or not.
  • Sue Donym: Nearly half the cast takes on a pseudonym at one point. Dr. Roger Fleming becomes Rudolph Jaber (even though he doesn't need to), Animala becomes Pammy Jaber (even though she's just been named "Animala" simultaneously, and it would have been easier just to name her "Pammy"), Kro-Bar becomes Bammin Taylor, and Lattis becomes Turgaso Taylor.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Kro-Bar: I'm sorry, my wife sometimes forgets that she is not a space alien.
  • Tempting Fate: Ranger Brad, who gets killed moments after warning everyone about the horribly mutilated farmer that had been found earlier.
    Ranger Brad: Say, I must be crazy walking around in these woods at night with a horrible mutilation practically around the corner. Oh well.
  • Very False Advertising: The trailer presents this as an Epic Movie!
    "Years in the making — on the world's most spectacular locations! A cast of thousands! A cost of millions!"
    • Well, the locations part wasn't totally off. Bronson Canyon is a pretty well-known place... to movie buffs. Hell, most of the film's budget went to getting the rights to film there.
  • Weirdness Censor: During the Armstrongs' first interactions with the aliens and Animala, Paul refers to their guests as "odd ducks," after witnessing actions that would have most people calling for the police within seconds.

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again

  • Anticlimax: The Skeleton vs. the Magraclop. crunch
  • Author Appeal: The foxy Animala is the director's wife.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: "Prepare for the battle of the century!!" crunch
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The first part of the movie, as if only a black and white print could be found.
  • Dem Bones: The Skeleton is now only a skull, much to his annoyance. He can levitate however.
  • Department of Redundancy Department/Revenge of the Sequel: The title.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Armstrong after becoming disillusioned with Science. The idea of him becoming a bitter drunk was actually the entire reason Larry Blamire made the movie, as he usually hates sequels but found this too good to resist.
  • Economy Cast: The Cantaloupe Tribe, all three of them. When you can see them at all (they're very good at hiding).
  • Evil Chancellor: Averted, although the character of Bentivegitantus was made to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to this trope.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted in Peter Fleming's case. He's good, and hoping to clear the name of his villainous brother Roger, but the Skeleton is controlling him too.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
    Bartender: Si, I know a gringo. We call him... the Man in the Corner. (indicates man sitting in the corner of the bar)
  • Flying Saucer: Kro-Bar and Lattis upgrade from their previous rocketship.
  • Green Rocks: This time it's Jerranium 90.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Kro-Bar's attempt at 'normal' human dress in the jungle. Which, being that it's Kro-Bar, this is the most normal part of his disguise.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: "Fleeeeeming, Fleeeeeming..." According to the commentary, the only direction Blamire gave for the "song" was "Don't do what anyone else is doing."
  • Hypocritical Humor: Armstrong is now disillusioned with Science after a colleague took credit for the discovery of a new metal and named it after himself (Armstrong had planned to name it after himself!)
  • Identical Grandson: As well as Peter Fleming, they also encounter Ranger Brad's twin brother, Jungle Brad.
    Paul: Wait, you're twins, and you're both named Brad?
    Jungle Brad: We have different last names.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Subverted, since it turns out that Animala had the Jerranium 90 all along.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: We get to see a monster sneak up and attack Jungle Brad, the same way the mutant snuck up on Ranger Brad. He even shrieks the exact same way. In a massive subversion, Jungle Brad is not only perfectly unharmed, but he was able to correctly identify the creature and warn people NOT to act like he did, or they'll get killed.
  • Jungle Japes: The expedition to find a Mineral Macguffin version.
  • MacGuffin: The Dalp of Anacrab.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Animala returns. Rowr. Again.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The Skeleton charges towards the Cantaloupe Monster declaring this will be "THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY!" only to be instantly crushed. Likewise Chinfa's dance is built up as something flamboyant, but it consists of tiny hip twitches.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • The "show me your card slowwwwwly" scene.
    • Lattis and Kro-bar mourning. Eventually the cast joins them.
    • Chinfa's failure to understand double negatives.
    • Bentivegitantus' speech.
    Bentivegitantus: But my Queen, was it not foretold in the Time of the Coming of the Other Ones, when the… The thing with the… That other thing came to pass… When it was… Lo, heed the warnings, that the Outsiders, lest they… When they come to… And it is! Lo! Seize them! That they… I swear, when the moon has… Infidels! For was it not the great… Are you heedless of the power of the… Behold! It is the… A wrath upon you all, that the… Mighty is the… For it is… Know this! By the time the… For it is written that… Dare you violate… The forbidden… Parts!? I have spoken.
    Chinfa: Your words are well chosen, Bentivegitantus.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Two this time. The gralmanopidon and the dreaded Magraclop.
  • Retraux: Meant to look like a studio B-Movie of The '60s, as opposed to the independent cheapy-look of Cadavra.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Peter Fleming, now free of the skull's influence, saves Lattis from a Man-Eating Plant but is fatally injured.
  • Share Phrase: Almost everyone in the film at one point or another says "Oh well."
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Paul Armstrong is very bitter in this movie. You know this, because he helpfully informs you that he's filled with bitterness every time he opens his mouth.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Animala first seems to be her usual ditzy self, but then it's revealed to be an act when she abandons the Skeleton after it keeps insulting her, cheerfully saying "Bye bye!" Unsurprisingly, the commentary notes that the audience at the premiere cheered wildly.
  • Weirdness Censor: Still in place for the Armstrongs, who recognize Animala, but as "Pammy," and think Peter Fleming is "Rudolf Yaber," not the evil Dr. Roger Fleming who used that as his Sue Donym.

Oh well.

Alternative Title(s): The Lost Skeleton Returns Again