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Beast from Haunted Cave

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1959; vt The Beast from Haunted Cave; vt Creature from the Cave). Northern productions/Allied Artists. Produced by Gene Corman. Directed by Monte Hellman. Written by Charles B Griffith from his original story. Cast includes Linné Ahlstrand, Wally Campo, Sheila Carroll (credited as Sheila Noonan), Michael Forest, Kay Jennings, Richard Sinatra and Frank Wolff. 75 minutes, cut to 71 minutes for home video release. Black and white.

Gangster Alexander Ward (Wolff) his girlfriend Gypsy Boulet (Noonan), and his gang arrive in the small gold mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota, planning to steal gold bars stored in old mineshafts. One of henchman, Marty (Sinatra), plants a bomb in one shaft to serve as a distraction while they steal some of the gold; he takes barmaid Natalie (Ahlstrand) with him. In the shaft they encounter a huge spider-like Monster (Robinson) which kills Natalie; Marty sets the bomb and escapes. Nobody believes his story of a monster, but the bomb explodes and the gang successfully steals what gold they can carry. Obtaining the services of Gil Jackson (Forest), a local mountain guide, they trek up a snowy mountain towards a remote cabin. There they plan to hide until an aeroplane designed for use in snowy terrain can and pick them up. Bad weather delays the plane's arrival; Marty feels something is following them; the rest dismiss his worries as imagination. Gil finally realizes the group are thieves at about the time they reach the cabin. The giant spider soon attacks and drags away Byron (Campo), convincing the others that Marty was right. Gypsy is taken with Gil, and quietly tells him that Ward intends to kill him when the plane arrives. The two flee, but a renewed blizzard forces them to take shelter in a cave. The rest of the gang pursues; the cave which proves to one of the monster's lairs. It captures the gangsters one by one, and stores them in a huge spider web for later consumption. Gil finally kills the beast with a flare pistol.

Despite a low budget, Beast from Haunted Cave successfully combines the crime and Monster Movie genres. Extra scenes with Gil's sister Jill (Jennings) were filmed for television prints; she has little to do in the story. The film was shot in South Dakota at the same time as Roger Corman's war film Ski Troop Attack (1960); Corman was involved in some capacity, but uncredited. It played in a double-bill with The Wasp Woman (1959). [GSt]


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