The Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2011)

Directed By: Larry Blamire
Written By: Larry Blamire
Starring: Larry Blamire
  Brian Howe
  Fay Masterton
  Dan Conroy
The Lost Skeleton Returns Again

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again is the sequel to the deliberately-craptacular 50’s-style B-movie pastiche The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, and true to form of all “successful” horror films from the 50’s, the sequel is bigger, bolder, crazier, in colour and worse. Yes, worse.

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again has a typically absurd plot; hidden deep within the jungles of the Amazon is a rock that contains the rare and powerful element Geranium-90. But the secret of its existence is out and it’s wanted by scientists, the American government, gangsters and the disembodied skull of the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra…

So the adventurers set out into the valley of the monsters (naturally) where the rock is protected by the tribe of the Cantalope people. The tribe claims its theft would bring about the return of the terrifying Magraclop – which would be very bad, apparently – but who will be foolish enough to tempt fate? Probably everyone.

Much like any 50’s sequels, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again shamelessly shoehorns in as many actors from the previous film as possible – the aliens Kro-Bar and Lattis (Andrew Parks and Susan McConnell) needlessly return to help scientist Dr Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) and his wife Betty (Fay Masterson), whilst Animala (Jennifer Blaire) somehow returns, this time created out of four random jungle animals. Some of the previous cast – who died in the original! – are passed off as twins of their deceased counterparts! This is good news, because Brian Howe is once again pitch perfect as the morally compromised Peter Fleming and Dan Conroy delivers some of the funniest lines as Jungle Brad.

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again is a cunning pastiche of late 50’s adventure movies that brings together a group of characters and throws them into a version of the Amazon jungle… which is inexplicably populated by garden ferns, stock footage of panthers, English-speaking white native Amazonians and “monsters”. This part of The Lost Skeleton Returns Again is well observed and hilarious because of it. The script, however, is where it is significantly let down.

Larry Blamire is a superb director and actor, and proved he has excellent writing skills in The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but tragically his script for The Lost Skeleton Returns Again appears tired, worn and uninspired. Instead of keen observations of what made 1950’s adventure horror movies titteringly stupid, he throws in jokes and openly makes a mockery of it all. This lack of subtlety fails to convince and provides many awkward moments; I’m looking at you “Slowly scene”. It is a crying shame.

The script for The Lost Skeleton Returns Again isn’t utterly abhorrent though, by any means, and there are some superb moments of deadpan comedy; “He knew the woods like the hand on his face”. The script is also laced with attempted profundity that is hilariously and deliberately daft. It works in places, but fails miserably in others.

It is significantly difficult to be mean about a film which contains such heart and love for its source material – it is a gentle, rib-nudging pastiche and not a mean-spirited spoof – but it simply does not meet the bar set by its predecessor. I honestly look forward to Larry Blamire’s future output, but The Lost Skeleton Returns Again fails to impress.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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