Beast From Haunted Cave

Year Of Release: 1959
Running Time: 72 Minutes
DVD Released By: Synapse Films
Directed By: Monte Hellman
Writing Credits: Charles B. Griffith
Filming Location: Deadwood, South Dakota.

Starring: Michael Forest, Sheila Carol, Frank Wolff, Richard Sinatra, Wally Campo, Linné Ahlstrand, Kay Jennings

Tagline: Screaming young girls sucked into a labyrinth of horror by a blood-starved ghoul from Hell.

Alternate Titles:

Creature from the Cave (1959) (USA: working title)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
This film is listed as being a remake of another Roger Corman film from two years earlier called Naked Paradise. Michael Forest who played Gil Jackson in this film, had a very long and wide ranging career which included everything from Italian films to soap operas to Power Rangers movies. You may also recognize him from an episode of the original Star Trek TV series that is mentioned later in this review.

Rogue Reviewers Round Table Review: August 2002
Review Topic: "The Roger Corman Roundtable"




Cast Of Characters
Alexander Ward: Alex is a scumbag thief who vaguely reminds me of Richard Dreyfus at various times. I'm not sure why, there's just something in the way he looks. He's the ringleader of this little gang of thieves, and completely ruthless. Gypsy is his main squeeze but what she really wants is to find love...and a good bottle of booze. He gives her lots of booze, but there ain't a whole lot of love there.

Gil Jackson: Oh my God! I just realized who this guy is! I checked on IMDB and confirmed it too. This screenshot was the shot that got me thinkin' and a quick check on IMDB confirmed it. This actor's name is Michael Forest, and he played Apollo on the original Star Trek television show in episode #32 entitled "Who Mourns for Adonais?" which first aired on September 22, 1967. This guy has a huge filmography and a huge number of television roles. He was a seriously working actor. He was born in 1929 and is apparently still alive. In this movie he plays a ski instructor/guide type guy who works at the ski resort. He was hired by Alexander to take them to this cabin in the mountains. Gypsy has the hots for him big time and Alexander don't like it one bit. But hey, why shouldn't she? He's Apollo baby!

Gypsy Boulet: You can't really tell from this picture, but she's actually quite a sexy woman when she's all dolled up like this. She spends about the first third of the movie drunk and slurring her speech, but then sobers up on the day of the robbery and actually manages to stay that way for almost two days before she starts in again. As I said above, she's totally got the hots for Gil even though she's Alexander's girl. Can anyone ever really stand in the way of true love?

Marty Jones: Also known as Dork #1. He's one of Alex's thugs who can't seem to hold to one character. One minute he's hooking up with girls like a slick teenager, and the next he's going nuts on this personal mission to find the creature and kill it. I wonder how long it took them to find a schitzo actor to play this part?

Byron Smith: Also known as Dork #2. This guy is a serious nut job. He's clumsy, stupid, wishy-washy, and always freakin' hungry. This guy does nothing but eat and act stupid. He eventually get's to be a slurpee cup for the monster though, so at least he's got that goin' for him.




The Plot
Four crooks decide to steal bars of gold out of a safe in a ski resort town. The plan was, to steal the gold, and then to escape into the mountains where they would be picked up by a plane that was to meet them there and fly them off to Canada. Unfortunately for them, part of their plan was to set off a bomb in an old mine where a vicious spider like creature lived. After the plan was carried out and the gang was led into the mountains by an unsuspecting ski instructor from the ski resort, the beast followed them. Will Gypsy and Gil ever find true love together? Will the gang of thieves ever make it to Canada alive? Will they ever show the stupid monster in this film? Let's watch and see...



What The Hell???
1. Ok the movie starts. We got two dopey lookin' guys who just took a picture of some building or something with a really old polaroid and then drove off to a ski resort to take another picture. What the hell is this about? Now we got credits and supremely cheesy and totally cool B-Movie music. Alexander Lazlo did the music for this movie and so far it's totally sweet.
2. Ok some drunk chick is talking to some guy now as she makes herself a martini at ten in the morning outside on a ski hill. I can't understand what the hell she's saying through her first three lines or so because she's slurring everything. The three of them are waiting for Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones to show up. So they show up finally, coming up on the lift, and it's the two guys who were taking the pics. Apparently they were out looking for a mine. Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones say their piece and then ski off. One of them takes a big dump in the snow as he's leaving, and the other one looks like he's about to. Neither one of these guys can ski worth a damn.
3. Now one of the dorks is trying to score a ski bunny. He doesn't seem like a criminal. He seems more like a teenager trying to pick up a chick at a sock hop. Turns out he's trying to score with Gil's sister Jill. Yes, I know...Gil...Jill...they ripped on it in the movie too.
4. Apparently, this gang of cheesy dorks is planning to blow up this old mine so that when everyone runs to see what happened, they can bust into the safe in the administration building of the ski resort. Yeah, that's good thinkin'. I'm sure that plan will work. Why do I have the feeling that the Keystone Cops are gonna show up right in the middle of it?
5. Now we go from their hotel room down to the ski lodge lounge. Alexander has this habit of calling his squeeze by men's names. I'm not sure what that's about. Seems a little kinky and twisted to me. Gypsy is actually rather attractive when she's all dolled up and doesn't look like a guys at all. She's got a bit of a thing for the ski instructor Gil. She's dancing with Gil now and Alexander is watching and getting jealous. He kinda looked like Richard Dreyfus there for a minute.
6. Well now Mr. Jones. Aren't you the player. He picked up the bar-girl Natalie and took her up to the abandoned gold mine to score with her. Unfortunately for him, he got the urge to go in and look around. Silly boy. Oh, I thought the monster was gonna get him or something. Actually, he just went in to plant the time bomb in the mine. He dropped it off and came back to Natalie without even gettin' killed or nothin'. Um, I spoke too soon. The beast just showed up and killed them both. I wonder if dorks give B-Movie monsters indigestion?

7. Whoops, apparently I spoke too soon. Marty just showed up at the bar and he was all freaked out. He told alexander that he took the girl up to the mine with him and that it killed that good lookin' chick. Before he could tell him what killed her, Alex freaked and popped him a good one and slammed him into a wall. Gypsy walks in and doesn't seem overly concerned since she's floating around in her usual drunken mellowness. Marty tries to tell Alexander what killed the girl but he's still in shock and never really says what it was. Alexander ignores him. Personally, I'd have been payin' real close attention if someone was tellin' me something like that.

8. The next morning comes around and Gil meets Gypsy and Alexander at the lodge. Alex sends them off on their own and says that he and the boys will catch up later. Then as Gil and Gypsy go up the ski lift together, the scene cuts back to the mine and there's some guy looking around in there. At least he was until the bomb went off and killed him. Now that's a hell of a thing to have happen to you at nine o'clock in the morning. The poor schmuck probably didn't even get to have breakfast yet.

9. Ok now what the hell is this? They blow the mine and then blow the safe and go in to steal the gold bars out of it, but they only steal two a piece because that's all they can handle!!! Now seriously, if I was gonna go through all this trouble to steal gold bars out of a safe somewhere, I'd sure as bloody hell make sure I could pack out more than two bars to a man. That's just completely stupid. Anyway, they get away and meet Gil and Gypsy at the top of the mountain where they start off cross country towards that mountain cabin. Not sure what they plan on doing there, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.
10. After they stop to rest for a bit, Marty says that he feels like they're being followed by the thing that got the barmaid girl in the cave. The rest of them think he's nuts. Alex just told Gypsy to knock off the talk with nature boy. She's totally got the hots for him and it shows.

11. Marty hears some kind of a monster sound in the woods and finds the body of the barmaid girl all wrapped up in spider webs wedged between two trees. She opens her eyes, which even gave me the creeps. The effect in this scene was really well done. I don't know if he hallucinated it or what though because as he was running away, there was a kind of a transparent effect of what I think was supposed to be the monster killing the girl. Marty runs back to camp but then doesn't tell the rest of them what he saw. Man, if I saw that I'd be screamin' it to everyone who'd listen.

12. Morning comes, and they find a big track of something that came by in the night. Alex get's extremely angry and grabs Marty by the shirt and demands to know why he didn't see it since he was the one who was supposed to be on watch last night. Again, Marty says nothing. Dork.
13. They get to Gil's cabin and stop to rest there and Byron, yet again for about the hundredth time in this movie, shows what a moron he is. Byron is the first one in the cabin, and all of a sudden he comes running out screaming and falls face first in the snow. Seems that he was frightened by Gil's Indian housekeeper who's name is Small Dove. There ain't nothin' little about her though. She looks pretty tough.
14. Man I swear nothing can kill Byron's appetite. He eats like a freakin' pig no matter where he is and what he's doing.

15. Well that's not cool. Gypsy just grabbed Gil right in front of Alexander and kissed him. Alex pulled them apart and punched Gil. Gil punched him back and then punched Marty, and was doing ok until Byron came up with a gun and put an end to it. Gypsy threw a drink in Alexs' face and he slapped her several times. She ran out of the cabin and Gil went out after her. When he catches up with her, she gives him the whole story of how she hooked up with Alex. It's a sad tale really. Makes you almost wish that Gypsy and Gil would make it through the end of the movie and get together.

16. Byron is in the kitchen with Small Dove and he hears something outside. He and Small Dove go outside with Marty and look around. Marty freaks and starts shooting around, but the beast sneaks up behind him and grabs him by the shoulder. He spins around and shoots it a couple times and it screams and goes away. Back at the cabin, Gypsy is taking care of his wounds and he still refuses to say what's going on or what attacked him. Again...dork.
17. The next morning comes and Gypsy is hanging out with Gil while he's chopping wood. He knows the whole story now and she says that she doesn't want to go with the gang when they leave. They were supposed to meet a plane that was going to take them to Canada, but it got delayed by the weather. Gypsy wants to stay with Gil and he's going to give her the chance to. He's planning on sending Small Dove home to her relatives while he heads back to town to turn in the gang. He said she could come with him if she really wanted out. I think he should go for it. She's pretty sexy, and he could sure do a hell of a lot worse. I mean, sleeping alone in a cabin on a snow covered mountain couldn't be all that great.
18. Gypsy went out to meet Gil on the ridge and Alex sent Byron out to follow her. Small dove grabbed him before he could and started kissing him and telling him to stay. Just then, the monster showed up and grabbed Small Dove and tried to grab Byron too. Unfortunately, it only got Small Dove, so she ended up dead. All we've seen so far of the monster is the tentacles. I hate it when movies never show the monster until the end.
19. Byron went out on his own to find the monster and kill it. I guess he actually had some feelings for Small Dove and now he wants revenge. He goes to the beast's cave and as he's looking around, we see a tentacled shadow moving around on the cave wall. I hope this ain't gonna be like those other movies where you never see the monster until like the last three minutes of the film. Nope, they just showed it. Small dove was stuck to the cave wall all covered in spider webs. He tried to rescue her but got caught himself. Now he's stuck to the wall next to her. Neither one of them can move but they're both conscious. The bar maid is there too. She's still alive but the beast is sucking the blood out of all three of them bit by bit so it doesn't kill them right away. Kinda reminds me of Attack of the Giant Leeches.
20. Gil and Gypsy got stuck trying to head back because of the weather. Her and Gil are at the beast's cave now for whatever reason and Gil is being chased by the beast. He's shooting it over and over but it doesn't seem to be having much effect. Gypsy comes up from behind and starts huckin' rocks at it. She gets it to follow her and then runs away. She's a pretty brave girl. I guess all that alcohol had a permanent calming effect on her nerves.
21. Alex and Marty show up at the cave now. Gypsy leads them in but the beast grabs Alex and kills him. Marty shoots the beast with a couple of flare guns and burns it to death. Gil walks back over to Gypsy and then um...that's the end. Um...seriously. That's really the end. It says The End on the screen. It doesn't feel like the end, but it is. Um...ok.



Best Quote

"It's suckin' her blood!"

 

- Byron watching the beast suck the blood from the barmaid that it had captured early on in the film. - (Reviewer's Note: Well duh Byron. What the hell did you expect it to do to her? It is a tentacled spider creature after all you freakin' moron. I mean, we're not talkin' about Barney the friggin' dinosaur here that's gonna kill her with stupid songs or something. Jeez, what an idiot.)



 

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Beast From Haunted Cave
Towards the end of the film we get to see the beast feeding on his victims. Kinda cool actually.



The Conclusion

Whoa. I gotta start this by saying that the end of the movie came out of nowhere and was very blunt and quick. It felt like there should have been about ten more minutes of stuff or some kind of a major struggle or something, but all that happened was, the beast gets shot with two flare guns and goes up in major flames and dies. The end. That has to be one of the most abrupt and weakest endings I've ever seen in a movie.

Now I'll go on with the rest of this since I got that off my chest. This is one of those films where you never see the monster until close to the end. If you've noticed in a few of my other reviews, that's one of my big pet peeves. There's building suspense, and then there's just being aggravating. When I'm watching a movie, I like to see the monster by, at the very most, two-thirds of the way through the movie so that the characters have time to really struggle against it and build up to a great ending. Having one small fight with the creature during the last two minutes of the film just doesn't do it for me.

The acting is ok, and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the actor playing Gil was someone that I remembered from the original Star Trek. As far as character development goes though, it was kind of a hit and miss proposition. I felt like Alexander and Gypsy were both done quite well, while Byron ended up as little more than just a cheesy nutball who had many inconsistencies in his character. Sometimes he was a clumsy, food gobbling doof, and other times he was the boss' tough guy thug.  Although that aspect of his character was very limited, it was inconsistent with what we saw of him throughout the rest of the film. His character very much reminded me of the character Pete in another Corman film, Creature From The Haunted Sea. It was the same goofy acting dork kind of character who ends up falling in love with this big beast of a woman. The similarities between these two characters really makes me wonder if one wasn't taken from the other. Gil's character was ok development wise. There was a couple things that seemed out of character but nothing major. Marty had almost no character development at all. His character was kinda all over the place and could have been written far better.

The monster in this film had a very creepy look to it. It looked like a big hairy spider creature with tentacles instead of legs. Now in a low budget film, wouldn't it seem like you'd want to make the most out of having a cool looking monster by showing it more often? You'd think so huh? Unfortunately, the people that made this film apparently didn't think so, and I think they really missed a great opportunity by not showing it more.

Looking back on this movie, I actually enjoyed it even though there were parts that didn't really need to be in there and other parts that should have been there but weren't. Overall, I'd have to say this movie found a middle ground with me, even though the ending left me feeling like I got short changed somehow. It is good enough though that I'm going to give it...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3 Bees

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