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BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE ($25) is a fun grade "B" fifties horror movie that is most notable for its director Monte Hellman of TWO LANE BLACKTOP fame. Combining elements of a gritty crime melodrama with the creepy monster on the prowl premise, BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE is a somewhat quirky horror film that is well served by a careful DVD release from Synapse Films. Synapse has gone to the trouble of created an extended version of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE that combines the original theatrical version of the film with additional footage shot years later for television broadcasts.

The plot of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE follows a group of small time crooks that pull off a daring gold robbery of a mining company, which utilizes an explosion in the mine as a diversion. Unfortunately, the explosion unleashes an indescribable insect like monster that feeds on the blood of human victims. When the thieves make their escapes through the forest on cross-country skis, they soon find that the strange creature is following them. BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE isn’t the kind of movie that would have won any awards for acting, but the leading performances are certainly better that the awkward work of some of supporting cast members. Additionally, the dialogue is a bit leaden in spots, but the movie does move along a good pace and director Hellman does create the necessary tension. The cast of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE includes Michael Forest, Sheila Carol, Frank Wolff, Richard Sinatra (Frank’s cousin), Wally Campo, Linné Ahlstrand and Kay Jennings.

As I said above, Synapse Films has put a lot of care into their release of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE. Synapse has made BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE in both full screen and 16:9 enhanced wide screen presentations on separate layers. The wide screen version of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE is framed at 1.78:1 and the black and white presentation is very respectable for an un-restored, low budget film from 1959. There are a number of blemishes and scratches on the film element, but they never become too distracting. Film grain is also somewhat noticeable throughout the presentation, but it has to be expected in this type of low budget production. The transfer does offer up a fairly sharp image and more than decent detail, making this the best version of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE that fans are ever likely to see. Black are suitably inky and the whites are completely stable. Contrast is good, although the level of shadow detail limited by the film’s budget, plus a desire to keep the film’s monster hidden in the shadows as much as possible. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed during the presentation.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is decent in the respect that noticeable hiss and distortions have been seemingly cleaned up. However, there are times when some of the dialogue is muffled sounding, which makes certain passages hard to understand. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection feature, as well as a choice of aspect ratios, and a theatrical trailer.

As I said above, BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE is a lot of fun and Synapse Films obviously put a lot of care into the production of this DVD. If you are a genre fan, you are going to be pretty pleased with Synapse’s DVD release of BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE.


Beast From Haunted Cave


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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