Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)

Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)
4.3
  • 1695
  • Approved
  • Genre: Crime
  • Release year: 1959 ()
  • Running time: 72 min
  • Original Title: Beast from Haunted Cave
  • Voted: 1695

Gangster Alexander Ward, his girl friend, Gypsy Boulet, and two henchmen come to Deadwood, South Dakota with the idea of stealing a few gold bars. They enlist the aid of a local ski instructor, Gil Jackson, and plan to use him as a guide out of the territory after the robbery. However, a blizzard forces them to take refuge in Jackson's cabin, where Gypsy lowers the inside temperature by giving the cold shoulder to Ward, her former sweetie until she saw Jackson. Ward don't care, as he plans to kill Jackson after they have no further use of him. But they had used an explosion in a cave to serve as a distraction during the heist, and this explosion had irritated the big spider that lived there and, sure enough, all hands have to seek refuge in the cave from the fury of the storm. All but two of them would have been better off facing the South Dakota elements.

#PersonCharacters
1Michael ForestGil Jackson
2Sheila NoonanGypsy Boulet
3Frank WolffAlexander Ward
4Wally CampoByron Smith
  • Great example of low-budget horror by 7

    One of the rarest experiences for a B-movie fanatic is to find a film you haven't seen in 30-plus years is much better than your childhood memory of it. While "Beast From Haunted Cave" was obviously made on a shoestring -- it's a Gene "Brother Of Roger" Corman production, so what do you expect? -- first-time director Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Two Lane Blacktop) had a better-than-average script and capable actors, not to mention a director of photography who made effective use of the stark winter landscape near Deadwood, South Dakota.

    The film starts out slow as a gang plans and executes a robbery, but then it veers off into darker territory as they and their guide are trailed to the hideout by a surprisingly well-realized and startlingly nasty monster.

    This is by no means a perfect film: There are occasional stumbles in motivation, dialogue and the timing of events, yet for me these inconsistencies actually contributed to an atmosphere of dreamlike disorientation as the story plays out against the bleached-bone white of the snow and the soot-black shadows of winter pines. The plight of the Beast's victims -- cocooned alive, and fully aware as it feeds on them -- yields a heaping helping of shudders.

    The DVD transfer (I'm talking about the most recent release, not the one paired with "The Brain That Wouldn't Die") was made from an excellent print; the soundtrack is quite clear. You may recognize the score as the same used for "Attack Of The Giant Leeches" and -- I think -- "Night Of The Blood Beast": These guys knew how to recycle!

    Even with its defects, this is a distinctly weird and surprisingly gruesome chiller, a fine example of how much can be accomplished even with limited resources.

  • Chilling Gangster/Horror Hybrid by 8

    This is chilling in more ways than one: actually filmed in the cold, snowy Dakotas, it's the story of crooks who create a diversion by blowing up a cave, so they can rob a nearby town. Trouble is they've disrupted the lair of a vampiric spidery beast which follows them as they head toward a hide-out in the forest. This is a truly eerie effort, enhanced by ripe dialogue, excellent direction (Monte Hellman), co-produced by the Corman brothers, to maximum effect. The music is especially shuddery, also used in at least "Attack of the Giant Leeches" (1958), "Night of the Blood Beast" (1958) and "The Wasp Woman" (1959). Three performers never reached their potential: Richard Sinatra as a crook (and relative of Frank's) only made a few pictures, Frank Wolff, the head honcho, committed suicide 12 years later at age 40, and lastly Sheila Carol, who did only 3 films, and is memorable as the Lauren Bacall-ish, unhappy moll who longs for the kidnapped guide (Michael Forest), but is stuck with the abusive Wolff. The final sequence in the atmospheric cave, (pre-dates "Alien" - 1979), will give you nightmares for years.

  • This one really frightened me by 8

    when I saw it on TV, back in the mid-sixties, when I was about 14 years old. I was then, and continue to be, a lover of horror films. For some reason, this one really got to me, more than just about any other in this genre, except maybe "The Pit and the Pendulum". I don't recall now just what the beast looked like but I recall that it was suitably realistic for its time. It took a while for the story to get moving but was well worth the wait. I recall that I was truly horrified as the beast fed on its living victims. I had some nasty dreams for several weeks after seeing it. I haven't viewed this movie since then but would definitely jump at the chance. I recommend it.

  • Too Slow but Has a Great Ending by 7

    This film details the plot of a group of gold-robbers who unwittingly run into trouble when they become stalked by a strange spider-like beast while hiding out from the police in the woods.

    This film is Slow..very slow..too slow for most people to stick with till the end and that's a shame as the ending has a surprisingly effective climatic showdown with the monster which is certainly entertaining. There's some decent thoughtful dialogue in this movie as well.

  • Gangsters and Monsters collide in a drive-in classic by 7

    Drive-in classic is the first time cult director Monte Hellman made a feature. Here its the story of a bunch of gangsters on the run after a robbery who hide out in a cabin in the mountains. Adding to the complications is a monster lurking in a near by cave. As the gangsters try to figure out how to get away from the law they also have to deal with the monster who is whittling away at their number.

    Its a creepy little movie thats perfect for late night movie viewing on a cold winters night. Far from the greatest film ever made its just an enjoyable little horror film that manages to balance both the crime and monster (although I'm the first to admit that the monster at times seems to have been a secondary thought.) Worth a look and a bag of popcorn, especially on Halloween.

    (The running time of this movie was originally 65 minutes. Additional scenes were added for TV broadcasts)

#PersonCrew
1Andrew M. Costikyancinematographer
2Alexander Laszlocomposer
3Monte Hellmandirector
4Anthony Carraseditor
5Gene Cormanproducer
6Charles B. Griffithwriter