Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)

Article 1818 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-7-2006
Posting Date: 8-4-2006
Directed by Monte Hellman
Featuring Michael Forest, Sheila Noonan, Frank Wolff

A group of thieves pull off a heist of gold bars and lay low in a cabin in the wilderness. However, they soon find themselves threatened by a mysterious monster.

There’s a lot of things I like about the this movie, most of which have to do with Griffith’s script. It’s one of those cases where the monster action is forced to take back seat to the heist plot, but the characters are rather interesting, and if it weren’t for the rather sluggish pace of the movie, it would hold the attention just fine. What I find most interesting is the way Griffith was able to rework script ideas and stories into new forms. This is apparently a remake of NAKED PARADISE, though that movie (which I haven’t seen) has no monster. Furthermore, this movie would later be rewritten as CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA as a comedy. Comparing these two movies is fascinating; I love the way Griffith would borrow and rework characters, sometimes keeping them basically the same (both movies feature an eccentric oddball who falls for a portly native woman), and sometimes reversing the situation completely (whereas the kept woman in this movie tempts the hero in her attempt to get away from her abusive lover, the equivalent character in CREATURE is thoroughly content with her relationship with a criminal and rebuffs the hero’s every attempt to draw her away from him). I also think the monster is fairly cool looking, but I also think it was a good idea that you never get a really good look at it either.

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