Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)

Beast from Haunted Cave
Director: Monte Hellman
Writer: Charles B. Griffith
Cast: Michael Forest, Sheila Noonan, Frank Wolff, Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra, Kay Jennings, Linné Ahlstrand, Chris Robinson
Seen on: 12.6.2021

Content Note: One of the character’s names is a racial slur (g*psy), sexism

Plot:
Under guise of taking a simple ski trip, Alexander (Frank Wolff) is planning a robbery with his two accomplices (Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra) and his girlfriend G*psy (Sheila Noonan). As they stake out the situation, they take skiing lessons with Gil (Michael Forest) who is very intrigued by G*psy. The group’s plan awakens something in a cave, though, something monstrous that goes on the hunt now.

Beast from Haunted Cave has some nice special effects but overall, it left me pretty cold. I was hoping for a charming old B-movie, but it lacked charm for the most part.

The film poster showing a very pulpy drawing of a green monster that has a tentacle wrapped around a woman in ripped clothing.

Beast from Haunted Cave tries very hard to have snappy dialogue, with G*psy getting quite a few snarky remarks. Unfortunately Noonan mumbles a lot and/or the sound quality isn’t great (I actually turned on the subtitles), and the dialogue isn’t quite as brilliant as the film seems to think. I constantly got the feeling that I was supposed to laugh at the dialogues, but I just didn’t find them particularly funny, neither ironically nor in earnest.

But that was probably mostly because I was very much annoyed by how G*psy is portrayed. She is such a sexist stereotype, constantly dependent on the men around her, always flirty and scorned for it, while her beauty and sexiness are apparently her only traits of value. It was pretty unbearable.

Gil (Michael Forest) stalking the monster in its cave.

The monster is fun, though, and the practical effects are the most charming thing about the film. They aren’t exactly great, especially not from today’s perspective, but they did have some good ideas.

But trapped in a non-sensical plot with insufferable characters, it appears more like the monster is in trouble rather than the people around it. I certainly sympathized with its desire to eat everyone.

G*psy (Sheila Noonan) and Alexander (Frank Wolff) in the hotel bar.

Summarizing: there are better movies to look back on.

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