The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is an independent film spoofing 1950s era B-movies. It was videotaped on a budget of less than USD$100,000, and converted to black and white film in post-production. It was partly filmed in Bronson Canyon, a legendary B-movie location. Actors were instructed to give wooden performances to help with the intentional cheesiness of the film. In total, it took five days to write, and just over ten days to film. Larry Blamire acted in and directed the film, wrote its screenplay and provided the voice of the Skeleton. Jennifer Blaire, who performs Animala, is Blamire's wife.
Acquired by Sony Pictures' Michael Schlesinger after a screening at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood, the film was released in theaters in February of 2004, and on DVD in June of 2004.
A sequel, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, was filmed in March of 2008, again written and directed by Blamire, and featuring virtually all of the original cast (though three actors whose characters were killed in the original are back in different roles), as well as several actors who appeared in Blamire's subsequent Trail of the Screaming Forehead. However, unlike the first film, it does not repeat the "ultra-cheap independent" feel, but is intended to look more like a studio B-picture from the same era, such as those produced by Sam Katzman or Edward Small. It is scheduled to have its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October of 2008.
Set in 1961, the film begins with hardworking scientist Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) and his dedicated wife Betty (Fay Masterson) driving into the mountains. Dr. Armstrong is searching for a meteor that has fallen in the nearby woods, suspected to contain the rare element atmosphereum. Another scientist in the area, Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) questions Ranger Brad (Dan Conroy) about Cadavra Cave, a site held in awe by the locals and rumored to contain a "Lost Skeleton."
In the evening, both the Armstrongs and Dr. Fleming observe in the sky another falling meteor. An instant later, a farmer (Robert Deveau) encountered by the Armstrongs on their way to the cabin is horribly mutilated by a mysterious beast. The second meteor is, in reality, a pair of aliens in a spaceship. Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell) are from the planet Marva and are stranded on Earth, in need of the element atmosphereum to repair their powerless ship. The ship's pet mutant (Darren Reed) escapes from its cage while they are distracted.
The next day, Dr. Roger Fleming finds and enters Cadavra Cave, at last locating the Lost Skeleton. The Skeleton commands Fleming to locate atmosphereum to return him to life. Meanwhile, Dr. Armstrong and Betty adventure into the woods, finally discovering the meteor just outside Cadavra Cave. Dr. Fleming overhears them, and begins to plot to steal the meteor from the pair.
Kro-Bar and Lattis journey into the woods, locating the cabin containing the meteor. Using a device called the "transmutatron," they disguise themselves as "Earth people" and clumsily manage to talk their way inside the cabin, being mistaken for the property owners. Not long after they arrive, Dr. Fleming discovers the aliens' transmutatron, left outside the cabin since it would ruin their disguise. He uses it to create an ally for himself, the alluring Animala (Jennifer Blaire), created from four different woodland creatures. After briefly teaching Animala the basics of human interaction, he leads her to the cabin and convinces the Armstrongs to invite him inside.
Soon it becomes clear to Lattis and Kro-Bar (calling themselves "Turgaso" and "Bammin" on Earth) that Fleming knows their secret. They soon ally to steal the meteor, after Betty is mentally attacked by the Skeleton and Dr. Armstrong is entranced by Animala's dancing. The evil scientist has tricked the pair, however, and the Skeleton uses his mind powers to freeze the aliens in place once Dr. Fleming has the meteor.
Dr. Fleming and Animala soon use the atmosphereum to resurrect the Skeleton. Meanwhile, Betty — alone in the woods — encounters the Mutant…
Dr. Fleming: Hello. I'm Dr. Roger Fleming, and I seem to have lost my way.
Ranger Brad: I'm Ranger Brad, and that's what I'm here for. You can call me Ranger Brad. Most folks do.
Dr. Fleming: Yes, of course. Ranger Brad. I like that.
Skeleton: That is for you to know. That's not my problem. I sleep now!
Lattis: I yell not from the volume required by great distance, but from happy excitement.
Dr. Fleming (many miles away from the cabin): I also wonder.
Skeleton: Shut up.
Skeleton: (in a distant cave) That would be me.