THIS WAS THE DAY THE EARTH WAS DISEMBOWELED IN TERROR!
If you, dear reader, have not yet experienced the supreme shock sensation of our time, otherwise known as THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA! you should do so immediately (if you dare, that is). Filmed in the new screen wonder of our age, SKELETORAMA, you may not be able to keep your own sanity once you have experienced the awful, diabolical plans of THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA!
Also! On the same giant program! Ub Iwerks' SKELETON FROLIC! In bone-chilling COLOR!
Or maybe it's a joke. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is an absolutely hysterical comedy film that takes the conventions of old B-movies and uses them masterfully to make their own off-the-wall satire. Sure, this does sound like one of those "would-have-been-good-but-always-turns-out-terrible" ideas, but in the case of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra it actually works.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra follows Dr. Paul and Betty Armstrong (writer/director Larry Blamire and Fay Masterson), who are staying at a cabin in the woods so that Dr. Armstrong can do his science on a meteor that's landed nearby. It is, of course, rich in atmosphereum, a very rare element that just happens to be of great interest to Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) and aliens Kro-Bar and Lattis (Andrew Parks and Susan McConnell). The aliens need atmosphereum to power their spaceship, which has crash-landed on Earth. Dr. Fleming is hoping to resurrect The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (The Skeleton) and take over the world.
So Dr. Fleming uses an alien gun to turn four entirely different forest animals into Animala (Jennifer Blaire), to pose as his wife, while the aliens disguise themselves to try and steal the meteorite (while also trying to recapture their escaped Mutant, who also happens to be rich in atmosphereum). This leads to many things, including an awkward dinner, abduction, picnics, more science, Ranger Brad (Dan Conroy), bad dancing, a wedding, horrible mutilation (PG rated), and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra being a skinny, bony jackass.
The movie references tons of B-movie science fiction films. I could list them all here, but that would take forever. The most notable include Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and Plan 9 From Outer Space. It was shot in two weeks in and around L.A., including Bronson Canyon, which was a common shooting location for many of the B-movies Lost Skeleton spoofs. The film is in black and white (of course), and is a family-friendly PG. Shot in 2001, the film first appeared at the Mill Valley Film Festival in September of that year, and then "premiered" on January 24th, 2002. It also popped up February 6th, 2004 in Los Angeles (likely at the ArcLight Theater, see the DVD info for a bit more), and at the Texas Film Festival 10 days later. A limited run finally started on March 12th, 2004, and the movie was released on DVD on June 22nd. Fans of TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000 should find the movie very much to their liking.
The DVD includes a ton of great bonus features, including not only the aforementioned Ub Iwerks' Skeleton Frolic cartoon, but also a making-of featurette, a blooper reel (in color), a gallery filled with Lost Skeleton "merchandise," including board games, fan club info, cereal, and even Linbooba Bars (that's cherry on the aliens' home planet of Marva). There are two commentary tracks by basically everyone involved with the film, footage from one of the film's L.A. screenings (the ArcLight one), the film's great trailer, and best of all, a bunch of trailers for the films of William Castle, including Mr. Sardonicus, The Tingler, 13 Ghosts and Homicidal.
Update: On December 12th, 2007, AICN user Uncapie posted a message from Larry Blamire on the site in which Larry announced the shooting of a sequel, called The Lost Skeleton Returns Again.