Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)

A gang robs a mining company then takes off on a cross-country ski trip with an unsuspecting ski instructor, to reach their rendezvous with the airplane that’s going to carry them away.

Unfortunately, they run into a cave monster on the way.

While Roger Corman’s brother Gene is listed as the Producer, this is really one of Roger’s films, as he recruited novice director (and future member of the Corman stock company) Monte Hellman to make this one from yet another Charles B. Griffith script.  As he was tired of shooting in his stock Hollywood locations, Bronson Canyon and the Los Angeles Arboretum, Roger took this film to the badlands of South Dakota.

Mind you, it’s a familiar script, as Roger wanted Griffith to re-use his Naked Paradise script — which also became the basis for both Creature from the Haunted Sea and Corman’s Sword and Sandal epic, Atlas.  

And, of course, Roger used the same cast to film Ski Troop Attack on the same locations immediately afterwards. 

Let’s face it:  the monster is terrible.  It’s probably the worst spider monster I’ve ever seen — although it’s more of a humanoid spider thing, with a guy inside of a suit he made himself.  But, fortunately, we see little of it for most of the film, although no amount of hiding is really going to help this thing.

But the film itself is moderately interesting, and goes out of its way to develop its characters.  While the monster follows them on their trek, it really doesn’t get much to do until the last third of the film, so I suppose they had to do something to fill the rest of the time.  Still, it’s an interesting set up for a monster movie, and reasonably well made in an ultra-cheap, Roger Corman Fifties quickie sort of way.

So don’t expect much, but it’s enjoyable as long as you remember what it is:  yet another Corman cheapie.

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