|BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE
|Copyright 1959 Gene Corman Productions.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 July 2007
- Gil Jackson - Stoic ski instructor. This guy is so serious that even I cannot make fun of him. Watch: _______. There, see that? I tried to say something silly about Gil and it didn't work.
- Gypsy - She has led a self-destructive life, but now yearns for clean air, fresh venison, and a hunky ski instructor to fill in the gaps.
- Jill - Gil's younger sister. Their parents were amateur poets, emphasis on the amateur. She never really does anything. I just wanted to point out the lack of creativity displayed by Gil and Jill's parents, since he is obviously off limits.
- Small Dove - Gil's Native American housekeeper. His cabin is two days travel from anywhere! I guess that she snowshoes for two days each way when they need a new quart of milk. Killed by the arachnid horror.
- Natalie - Flirtatious waitress who works at the ski lodge's bar. Used as a travel snack pack by the creature.
- Alex - This guy has spent his entire life planning and executing big heists. Nothing is worse for commerce than a bank robber who is also a workaholic.
- Marty - He is the one who set the bomb that disturbed the Beast. The idea of an arachnid horror coming after him causes the nervous criminal to come partially unglued. Stands a little too close to his target when he fires a nuclear napalm flare into the monster's face.
- Byron - This guy is a complete goofball. Just look at that alpine hat of his. Dies from massive loss of blood.
- The Beast from Haunted Cave - A creature from the distant past (no, not Pete Townsend, though it looks like him). It did not have time to sample every variety of the delicious morsels that now walk the Earth before being permanently moved from the "Endangered" to the "Extinct" list.
|This is an interesting mixture of creature and criminals. Most of the human characters (except Gil) are members of a professional group of robbers. The gang's operations are well planned and often quite profitable. Their latest target is the ingot-filled safe of a small gold mine near a ski resort. Unforeseen complications, including a horrific spider-like monster, make for an interesting story.
Part of the robbers' getaway plan is to escape the local area by skiing cross-country. A small plane will land on a frozen lake, then whisk them away to Canada. The only problem is that all of the felons need skiing lessons, which is the reason that Gil finds himself on the slopes early in the morning, watching Alex ski and Gypsy make herself a martini. Keep in mind that the heist and cross-country ski escape is scheduled for the next day, because Marty and Byron are barely able to navigate the bunny slope. Those two will be lucky if they can lift their legs in the morning, let alone rob the mine office.
I have not mentioned two elements of the gang's plan. Alex tasked Marty with distracting the local law enforcement and other possible witnesses. A bomb is to be planted in the mineshaft and timed to detonate at 9:00 AM (they are also making their move on a Sunday, to ensure the mine and mine office are empty). The second important fact is that the cross-country skiing expedition will be led by Gil; their destination is Gil's cabin in the mountains. The robbers will hole up in the cabin until the escape plane arrives.
Something that complicates the carefully-thought-out plan is that Gypsy likes Gil. I mean, she really likes him. Whether she is drunk or sober (most commonly, in fact almost always, the former) Gypsy comes on to the ski instructor like a freight train (one filled with gin). Eventually, this starts to make Alex jealous; he regards Gypsy as personal property. The amusing thing is that Gil is so straight laced. He does not show any interest in the alcoholic woman until Gypsy lets some of her real feelings show through.
By that, I mean that Gypsy is not satisfied with the life she is currently leading. Gil does not know that Alex and his cohorts are bandits, but picks up on the worrisome vibes. The ski instructor understands that his pupils are not the sort of people he would normally hang out with.
While everyone else dances and drinks at the ski resort's bar, Marty disappears with Natalie. The crook has two things in mind. One of those is planting the bomb like he was told, but the other involves the dark-haired waitress. Once the pair is inside the mine, the first task is simple. Marty just tells Natalie that he wants to poke around and finds a dark corner to leave the ticking bomb. While taking care of that he finds a thick mass of cobwebs and pieces of an unusual egg. It is only after the would-be Casanova rejoins Natalie and commences to sucking face (foreshadowing of Marty's second goal for the evening) that things go wrong. The beast watches the guy suck on the girl and thinks, "Gee, that looks like fun!" and grabs Natalie; the coward gets away. He is unable to explain to Alex what happened because of the shock, but he does survive.
Okay, the monster probably did not perform any brain activity above an instinctual level before grabbing Natalie. Without being able to throw direct taunts at Gil, I am pretty strapped here. What I want to do is lampoon him for being such a _____. Gosh darn it! There it goes again. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?
Missing (presumed et) waitresses do not stop Alex. The bomb and the robbery go according to plan with the three men taking two bars each. The take might sound low, but the ingots stored in the mine company's safe are quite large. I would estimate each must weigh twenty-five pounds. If Marty and Byron had sore thighs before, this should cause them severe muscular distress. I hope that their cross-country rations package includes bananas. Anyway, the three bandits meet up with Gil and Gypsy at the top of the ski lift.
The cross-country trek goes fairly smoothly, except for Marty chasing shadows while on watch. He hears a spooky sound in the night and stumbles through the deep snow in search of its source. What the paranoid man finds is Natalie, webbed high in a tree, and something stalking him in the darkness. A viewer's first thought is going to be that Marty is hallucinating, but I am not so sure. Later, we see Natalie stuck to the wall of a cave. The arachnid horror is large enough to have clutched the silk-bound girl to its abdomen and carried her as it tracked Marty through the forest. It is no wonder that Natalie is little more than a screaming near-corpse for the remainder of the film.
The desolate, snowy landscapes lend themselves to the fear aspect of the story. At night, the snow reflects a ghostly glow that is interrupted by the black specters created by individual trees. Wind howls through the mountains, but not loud enough to completely cover the mewling cries of the lurking monster.
Gil's cabin is amazingly cozy for a home located two days cross-country from anything. The group settles in to wait out an approaching blizzard and everything is fine until Gypsy kisses Gil in front of Alex. She causes a battle royale! Beset by all of male robbers, the heroic ski instructor proves that he is more than a match for three dime store crooks, but a cheap .38 pistol is another matter entirely. Once Byron pulls the gun the fight is over, though Gil maintains his backbone. He reminds Alex that they are guests and should act like guests.
Byron reminds me of Joe Pesci. Probably unimportant, but does anyone know if Joe Pesci has a weakness for graham crackers, warm milk, and heavyset Native American women?
Just because they have reached the cabin does not mean that the characters are safe. The blood-sucking Beast has followed Marty and the others to their mountain hideaway. It attacks one night, but is driven off by rifle fire. Marty sustains a wicked-looking bruise from one of the creature's long appendages during the encounter.
Between the personal conflicts and the added stress of an unknown horror stalking them through the snow, the micro-society really starts coming apart. Gypsy warns Gil about Alex and the others as she watches him chop wood one afternoon. When the plane comes, Alex intends to kill Gil (note: Alex looks nothing like Uma Thurman). The stoic hero is not surprised in the least. He tells Gypsy to meet him in the woods above the cabin after dark. They will travel back to the resort and notify the authorities of the bandits' whereabouts. Gee, if you are going that way, could you tell somebody about the spider monster from Hell that is lurking in the woods?
Alex notices Gypsy's change of attitude, probably because he makes a living of reading people. He orders Byron to keep an eye on her until the sudden return of the Beast causes a complete change of plans for everyone. Small Dove and Byron end up stuck to the wall of a cave near Gil's cabin, watching the monster slowly suck Natalie dry. It is a chilling scene, especially once the unfortunate waitress starts screaming. The agonized wails do not stop the creature from feasting on her warm blood. Natalie is simply screaming her head off, because she can't do anything else and being turned into a meal by a creepy spider monster sucks.
Before the film ends, a final confrontation between the characters and the Beast is required. Amusingly, at one point the monster is advancing on Gil as he ineffectually delivers shot after shot from his rifle. Gypsy starts throwing rocks at the arachnid menace and it stops pursuing Gil to chase the girl. Either the creature is stupid or Gil is shooting blanks. Bullets have no effect, but Alex and Marty are carrying Very (flare) pistols. Maybe those can hurt it. It's a 50's monster movie, do ya think?
I did it! I managed to slip a possible insult to Gil into that last paragraph! Take that, you _______! Damn it!
Somebody tell Gil that, while women like Gypsy can honestly desire change and even manage to do so, more than likely he is hooking up with a lot of trouble. People who have been self-destructive as long as that girl rarely straighten out. If they do, a life-altering experience helps. Okay, so maybe surviving an attack by a prehistoric spider horror counts. I still think that dating Gypsy is a bad idea. Gil must like his women like he likes his martinis: unbruised and heavy on the gin.
Hey! That works! I can say something silly about Gil; it just has to be oblique. Oh, sure, now I figure that out...
The Darksider posts a cold reminder of winter and Santa every year, despite it being the middle of summer. He was kind enough to allow Side Order of Ninjas and me to tag along this time.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Knitting is full of double entendres.
- Alcohol does not improve a woman's singing voice.
- Women love the strong, silent, ski instructor type.
- Alcohol is like antifreeze for people.
- Spider silk is an excellent insulator, but very flammable.
- A full hand slap beats a royal martini any day.
- The answer to "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" is "Spontaneous human combustion."
- Boobs have bones in them.
- Flare guns and fire extinguishers are the most powerful weapons known to man.
- Opening Credits - What idiot decided to use white text superimposed over a ski slope?
- 8 mins - If this conversation was a "Mark Target" call on rifle qualification day, the reply from the pits would be, "No impact, no idea."
- 13 mins - Look, just take her to bed so we can all get a rest!
- 25 mins - Good thing that the bank put an outlet next to the vault door.
- 35 mins - Is it just me or do people's names change constantly? Who the heck is "Charles?"
- 42 mins - Who taught Byron how to hold a pistol?
- 50 mins - Gil has an axe to grind. No, really, I think that his axe is dull.
- 68 mins - This is an absolutely huge cave.
- Gypsy: "What happened to him?"
Alex: "Stupid idiot!"
Gypsy: "I know all that."
Alex: "He took the barmaid to the mine and, somehow, managed to let her get knocked off."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Gypsy: "Don't you, ah, ever get thirsty?" |
Gil: "Not at ten in the morning."
Gypsy: "Well it was exactly at Ten AM that Mr. Martini invented the olive."
||Gypsy: "Well, what do you think of me?" |
Gil: "What do you mean?"
Gypsy: "Well, this is the first time you've seen me sober, isn't it?"
Gil: "I'm paid to teach people how to ski, not to think about 'em."
||Alex: "What's eating you?" |
Byron: "Hey, you gotta forget that girl!"
Marty: "I'm not thinking about her."
Alex: "Well, what are you thinking about?"
Marty: "The thing that got her. Now, it saw me and it means to get me and that's what's been following us."
Gypsy: "You're a bundle of cheer!"
||Alex: "You knock off the funny talk with Nature Boy." |
Gypsy: "Can't stop me from talking!"
Alex: "Don't tempt me."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The creature webbed Natalie, Byron, and Small Dove to the cave's rock wall and is feeding on them.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Re: Beast from Haunted Cave
Posted on July 07, 2007, 12:04:32 PM by JaseSF
This is another one that probably belongs in allhallowsday's "Underrated" thread. It's really quite an effective low budget chiller in its way and shows originality by adding in the robbery/hoodlum apsect given it a little noirish feel. Andrew, you examined its flaws terrifically in your review and made me laugh out loud several times. Good show.
|Re: Beast from Haunted Cave
Posted on July 16, 2007, 03:47:00 PM by CoreyHeldpen
I'm sorry to say I didn't think quite so highly of this one. It certainly is a decent little flick, I'm not saying it sucks, but it still didn't quite work for me.
|Re: Beast from Haunted Cave
Posted on July 18, 2007, 11:40:24 AM by Flangepart
Now, why do i hope The Film Crew will riff this one next, Hummmm?...
Keep up the good work, Marine. You pick good "partners in crime"
|Re: Beast from Haunted Cave
Reply #4. Posted on December 18, 2008, 12:41:59 PM by Joe the Destroyer
I watched this film finally last night, and I have to say I'm quite disappointed. The pacing was the issue. It really felt like someone meant to make a decent bank heist drama, but the producers didn't like it and said, "Hey, let's throw a monster into it!" I know, many movies have turned out this way, especially one including a certain "godmonster," but if this is the case then they should have completely rewritten the script to emphasize the horror a little better rather than give it a back seat, or say screw the monster and make it a bank heist drama.
|Re: Beast from Haunted Cave
Reply #5. Posted on July 10, 2009, 09:03:11 PM by Duck
The DVD had such bad sound quality that we could barely hear what any of these morons were saying. The best parts of the film were the parts with the monster, yet those were few and far between. The ending had to be the best part, right after the monster dies- THE END flashes onto the screen. They just leave everyone in the middle of the cave, and we don't even get to find out who survives. I wish I could have heard the dialogue properly because this was one of the most boring movies I have seen. The title Beast from Haunted Cave had so much promise too.
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