Satirizing the worst of the fifties B-Movies, the intentionally absurd plot of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra features a bespectacled, dim-witted scientist (writer/director/star, Larry Blamire), his darling and ditzy wife (Fay Masterson), a nefarious rival scientist (Brian Howe) who's made himself a cat-woman girlfriend (Jennifer Blaire, Blamire's real-life wife) out of five different forest animals, a pair of clueless space aliens (Susan McConnell, Andrew Parks) and their a three-eyed pet mutant who has a penchant for mutilation, and of course the Lost Skeleton himself (who doesn't stay lost for long). The cranky skeleton is mildly amusing, but there is a problem with the film being too modern in the bag of bones' dialogue. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra wants to be a spoof, in turns it either tries to hard or doesn't try hard enough, making for an uneven viewing experience.
I admire what Blamire was trying to accomplish, and the actors certainly have their camp chomps (especially the beautiful Blaire, who was the only one who looked 50s-ready) but overall the movie, at a scant 89 minutes, is too short on substance and too long on tedium. I got the joke two minutes into the movie, and it never went anywhere from there. It reminded me of a cross between Swamp Thing, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and a Saturday Night Live "Cone Heads" sketch -- and not in a good way. When I saw it on the big screen, it was almost painful to sit through. I must admit, it's much more tolerable on DVD. It's easier to think back to watching all those B-movies on Saturday morning television, and it lets you swallow these bones with fewer 'bones' about it.
The DVD has a lot of additional release material, most of which is worthy of a look.
Making-Of Featurette: This is surprisingly (almost) spoiler-free, and it gives people who haven't yet seen the movie a good idea of where the filmmakers were coming from.
Director and Crew Commentary, and Character Commentary: These tracks are pretty interesting, especially if you'd like to know more about independent and low/no-budget filmmaking.
Blooper Reel: These outtakes ate in color, and are actually very funny (I got more laughs from this than I did from the scripted material)
American Cinematheque Q&A Featurette: A very cinema verité Q&A done after a Los Angeles screening of the film.
Obey The Lost Skeleton, Making of Featurette: The story behind the bones.
Virtual Skelectibles: While not exactly the toy-spawning franchise of Star Wars, this textual featurette shows "what could have been" had The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra had such potential.
Skeleton Frolic Short Film: This a mildly amusing 1937 short cartoon featuring a skeletal, bird-flipping boneyard band, directed by Ub Iwerks (in color).
Review by Staci Layne Wilson for Horror.com