I wasn’t expecting a lot when I sat down to watch BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE, Terril Langford had clued me in on a Facebook posting that Turner Classic was running this Saturday morning at 6:15 a.m. Eastern. When the credits rolled and I saw the name Gene Corman, it didn’t take much to learn he was Roger’s brother. This film and SKI TROOP ATTACK, a WWII film, were shot at the same time in South Dakota utilizing the same set of actors. Roger helmed the war picture. Screenwriter Charles B. Griffith, never one to waste anything, rewrote the script from an earlier effort, NAKED PARADISE. It was also used for a third film, CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA, that I touched on before. This one falls in with those. Now I need to see Naked paradise and my life will be complete.
The plot here is a gold heist from a vault in Deadwood. The three gangsters and their moll plan a cross country ski trip to an isolated cabin owned by guide/ski instructor Gil Jackson(Michael Forest best known, for me anyway, as the God Apollo from an original Star Trek episode) where a plane was to fly in and pick them up for a quick trip into Canada. The woman, Gypsy Boulet(Sheila Noonan) was a distraction for Jackson while her man, Alexander Ward(Frank Woolf) and his two thugs(Richard Sinatra and Wally Campo)> The plan was to take only two bars each, then make the cross country stint to await the plane.
Several things get in the way. One thug was to plant a bomb with a timer in an old gold mine, timed for 9:00 a.m., to cover their blowing the safe open. The thug is getting it on with bar-maid Natalie and takes her along, where she’s promptly grabbed by the creature, he barely escaping. A heavy blizzard is moving in, slowing that plane.
Jackson’s cabin is so remote that they must make camp for the night along the way. The one thug that had already seen the Beast is nervous, thinking they are being followed. His buddies don’t believe his story, thinking it an alcoholic vision. At the cabin, where Jackson has a housekeeper, a native American woman, with whom the second thug strikes up a relationship.
The beast has indeed followed them and located in the title cave(what he was doing in the gold mine is never explained. He brought along the bar-maid as well, still alive and wrapped up in cobwebs as the beast drains her blood a bit at a time.
Jackson would have to be a moron not to realize something strange is going on. he’s heard about the gold heist and that a man had been killed in the gold mine explosion. His plan is to go back and turn them in. The girl, as in all good monster movies, has fallen for the stalwart hero and wants to help him out.
On the monster: the weirdest looking spider I’ve ever seen. It was designed and built by by actor Chris Robinson, who wore the suit. He was more known for the soap General Hospital where he later starred. The picture to the right is the design. We never see that though, just a hairy head with a few waving legs that reach out and grab the victim. And lots of cobwebs.
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