For Reel


Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)
June 12, 2016, 11:20 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Monte Hellman
2.5 Stars
Beast from Haunted CaveDirector Monte Hellman would make a claim for his status as a major director only five years after the release of this oft-derided low-budget horror picture. Produced by Gene and Roger Corman, the film showcases the quick-and-cheap ethos that one would expect, although Hellman clearly shows that his interests lie more in his doomed characters than in the creature itself. Even if the material sags, there is also an energy in the filmmaking that should not be neglected amongst the schlock—the characters are young, hip, and sexy, and that many of them are brooding antiheroes predicts where American movies were headed in the next year or so. As for the titular beast, it looks like a few rubber tentacles were pasted onto the muck from a clogged drain, and Hellman can’t do much with the creature but have a tentacle or two sweep in from the side of the frame to terrorize the actors. Regardless, there is a smart inclination to focus more on the “feel” of the monster, typified by a woman suspended between trees by a web, or the dark, cold cavern where the beast saves its victims for later. The ski resort location is a nice touch, but of the performers only Frank Wolff leaves much of an impression. If Beast from Haunted Cave is not a classic by any means, it is a worthy object of study for auteurists interested in Hellman’s career.

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