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Confessions of a B-Movie Fanatic: Beast From Haunted Cave (1959)
Reviewed by AJ Landon, © 2011

Format: Movie
By:   Monte Hellman (director)
Genre:   Monster flick
Review Date:   September 19, 2011
RevSF Rating:   4/10 (What Is This?)

This movie is, in sum, about a group of people who enrage a "beast" whilst blowing up a mine to distract a small town so they can steal some gold. The director thanks (apologizes to?) the people of South Dakota in the first few minutes for being allowed to film in (desecrate?) the state.

The Beast from Haunted Cave, directed by Monte Hellman, who is also known for Flight to Fury (1964), begins at a ski slope in the Black Hills. The group arrives and the giddiest member proceeds to take pictures. At some point, he happens upon a mine shaft, which later on we find out he meant to find.

At this point, it is time to place the charge in the mine. For some reason, the man who is sent brings a waitress from the bar with him, who, of course, gets killed by the "beast."

This scene is our first glimpse of the "beast," who from here on out shall be referred to as the Cotton Candy of Doom!.

All we really see is some cotton-candy like substance (with a spider-like leg in it), which poke the woman, who proceeds to "die."

The mine is set to blow in the morning the next day, and the posse needs somewhere to hide. They convince some guy named Gil to let them visit his very remote cabin that can be reached only by cross-country skiing. The true reason is, of course, so they can meet a plane on a frozen lake that will take them to Canada.

The next morning, the mine does in fact blow, and does manage to empty out the entire town (right, everyone would leave, including the people guarding the gold that is kept behind unlocked or badly locked doors).

What happens next is incredibly dull, so I will not get too much into it.

Imagine watching a cross-country ski race, only very slow and with one interruption from the Cotton Candy of Doom! with the still somewhat alive woman.

They arrive at the cabin and Gil discovers his guests are not very good people. He and Gypsy, the only woman in the crew, hit it off fairly well, mostly because she does not enjoy her life as a robber and wants to find a way out.

The leader of the robbers does not approve, and some mediocre-to-boring arguing and fighting ensue.

Why, Hellman, why?

The only reason that I was still watching was so that I could see some more of that awesome monster. All I've seen up until this point is this very fluffy thing with a spider leg. A single spider leg that it grabs people with, or pokes them, depending. Monster movies like this always show the monster in its full "glory" eventually, so I stayed strong.

Fortunately, all of my suffering would be worth it.

There is a shrieking noise outside (must be the cougar!), the maid is abducted (there is a maid!), Gypsy decides to run off with Gil, and a horrible storm approaches.

Gypsy and Gil find themselves without shelter and must go to Haunted Cave to weather out the storm. Of course, the Cotton Candy of Doom! is hiding in the cave.

The beast is not in fact from the cave, but from the mine shaft. The miners disturbed an egg that was a million years old, which then hatched this abomination, which then moved to Haunted Cave.

In the cave, Gypsy and Gil battle the Cotton Candy of Doom! after discovering the waitress, the maid and someone else cotton-candied to the wall.

The beast is more glorious than I could have hoped.

From across the cavern comes this humanoid-spider thing covered in its own fuzzy stuff (cotton candy, I guess, because it is certainly not spider silk). It uses its prehensile (yes, prehensile) spider legs to intimidate or grab people. It lives off of human blood (because there were humans in North America 1 million years ago?).

During the epic battle, the rest of the gold-purloining posse shows up and takes Gypsy hostage. I will not ruin the ending. Do Gypsy and Gil escape? What happens to the monster? What happens to the bad guys?

This is a truly awful movie. It is boring, slow and full of holes.

Its only redeeming quality is the monster, which makes the 65 minute wait for its revealing quite worth it.

Sometimes it looks like a pile of yarn and cotton candy, and sometimes it looks like a spider-human-thing. I recommend fast-forwarding through any scenes involving skis.

Flow: 4 out of 10
Special Effects: 2
Character Development: 4
Entertainment value: 6

Watch this

In this clip, the beast looks like a mop..

Check out the trailer! An orgy turns into a nightmare of terror!


AJ Landon wishes all cotton candy was of doom.

 
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