Beast from Haunted Cave
directed by Monte Hellman
(Northern, 1959)

No discussion of the silliest-looking monsters in film history would be complete without mention of Beast from Haunted Cave (which was reportedly nicknamed Humphrass). It's some kind of diaphanous, tentacled, spider-like thing that likes to wrap his victims up for later blood-sucking. Its costume looks to consist predominantly of saran wrap. There's nothing the least bit scary about it -- and the same goes for the movie, which plods along for some 72 minutes.

You've got these three crooks with an elaborate robbery plan near a ski resort. After making plans for a squeaky-clean ski instructor to take them on a cross-country trip to his remote cabin, they set up an explosion in the local mine and then rob the bank while nobody's looking. Their haul? Six measly gold bars. Six. That's it. Just six. There's oodles of gold right there for the taking, but they figure they can only haul two bars apiece on their backs. Things go according to plan -- except the one guy took a girl with him to the mine and managed to get her killed by some strange monster. Speaking of girls, the gruff leader's having woman problems of his own; his annoying girl is tired of the robbery business and wants to make nice with the ski instructor. Needless to say, I was pulling for the monster to show up and clean house at some point, as he's actually the least annoying character to be found here.

You might suspect this was the work of Roger Corman -- and you'd be right -- sort of. Beast from Haunted Cave was produced by Roger Corman and Gene Corman -- yes, I know it's frightening, but Roger wasn't the only filmmaker in the Corman family. Monte Hellman directed, and Alexander Laszlo supplied the music. I think it's an average low-budget monster flick at best, but it's certainly better than many a Corman B-movie.

by Daniel Jolley
29 April 2006

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