By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 12, 2004 at 5:15 AM

{image1}If it's meant to be trash, does that make it any less trashy? That's the question you might ask yourself once the credits start to roll on "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra," a spoof -- or homage, depending who you ask -- of cheesy 1950s sci-fi b-movies ... unless you're laughing too hard to ask yourself anything.

Writer and director Larry Blamire and the small cast get everything right in this 89-minute pic. The shots are cliché and the dreadful dialogue delivered in fine b-movie style. The space craft looks like cardboard covered in tin foil and the "effects" are truly and riotously pathetic. Best of all is the "mutant" unleashed on earth, which looks as it was one of the scrapped renderings of HR Puffinstuff.

Best of all, the film starts with an animated short -- a la the vintage all-day cinema experience -- featuring a graveyard skeleton orchestra.

A pair of aliens (Susan McConnell and Andrew Parks) crashes to earth and finds that its pet mutant has escaped. They need to capture him before "untold millions" die. They also need to find some of the extremely rare atmoshperium to fuel up their ship to their return home to the planet Marva, which seems remarkably similar to Earth.

{image2}They stumble upon a "man of science" (Blamire) and his wife (Fay Masterson of "Eyes Wide Shut"), who have found a small meteor that contains plentiful amounts of the desired element.

Meanwhile, an evil scientist (Brian Howe) hopes to cement his reputation by reviving the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which he's found in a cave and which has told him that it needs atmospherium to be brought back to life. To help achieve his goals, he uses one of the aliens' tools to create a sassy, sexy woman out of four forest animals. He calls her, appropriately Animalia (Jennifer Blaire).

As the three couples meet and struggle to gain and/or maintain control of the all-powerful meteor, HR Puffinstuff is out mauling humans, much to the dismay of the odd local forest ranger.

The evil scientist succeeds in reviving the skeleton who then wants to take over the world and take the alien woman as his new bride, her alien husband be damned.

It's taken a while for this 2001 film to make its way to Milwaukee, but if you like a good spoof or if those cheeseball old scf-fi hold a place in your heart, this is the film for you.

"The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" runs for one week only at Landmark's Downer Theatre, starting Fri., March 12.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.