The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)

This is such a great movie. I generally don't go for movies that are funny on purpose but The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is the right mix of subtle parody and off the wall zaniness.

Created to mimic the style of a 1950s black and white scifi movies, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra concerns the experiments of Dr. Paul Armstrong, a "meteographer" who is studying the properties of a meteor that is full of atmospherium. He is convinced that in the right hands atmospherium could benefit mankind in many ways. Meanwhile, a pair of aliens and their pet mutant have crash landed on Earth and need the atmospherium to fuel their ship. And an evil scientist is looking for the meteor so he can being the titular skeleton back to life.

I'm not a big fan of 1950s scifi movies. They tend to be goofy (good) but really boring (bad). I have a hard time sitting through them, but I've seen a few. This is why I love The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. It's like a bad 1950 scifi movie with all the boring stuff either cut out or exaggerated to the point of hilarity. Filling in the space left by cut out boring stuff is more goofy stuff. It's like a big hunk of cheese, the kind with holes in it, but where the holes are filled with more cheese!

This is the kind of movie where you can tell that everyone involved really loves the subject they are parodying. Toned down a little bit, you could put this on one of those 50 Scifi Classics DVD sets and it wouldn't seem too out of place.

The acting is all purposefully wooden and/or melodramatic. Just like in the 50s!

Having said all that, sometimes they try too hard. I would have liked a slightly more subtle approach, and some jokes go on for too long. One of the best parts is near the beginning when Mrs. Armstrong out of nowhere points off screen and comments, "Look! They've got the right idea!" You're then treated to several seconds of stock footage of squirrels. It's funny because it isn't really exaggerated or anything, but it's just the kind of thing that happened in these old b-movies!

Now, will you like this movie? It's hard to say. You have to have at least a passing familiarity with bad 1950s scifi movies in order to get all the jokes, but there are plenty of jokes that work in this movie regardless. I watched this one with a couple friends who aren't as familiar with these kinds of movies and they both had a blast.

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