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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Heist > Beast From Haunted Cave – Special Extended Version (1959/Synapse Films)

Beast From Haunted Cave – Special Extended Version (1959/Synapse Films)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Film: C+



Monte Hellman is one of the great independent filmmakers, making a name for himself on remarkable films before Nick Cassavetes began making films.  His Existential Westerns Ride In The Whirlwind and The Shooting are considered as important in many ways as the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns.  Turns out that he was good from the first film, Beast From Haunted Cave has an interest situation, script and Horror story which remakes a Roger Corman heist film from a few years prior without the beast.


A group of thieves intend to lift a huge amount of gold from a small town.  Adding to what they hope will be a help and not a hindrance, it is winter and there is snow all over the place.  Maybe that will keep the streets empty and people preoccupied.  To help them find the exact location of the goods, they hire a skiing instructor very casually, but all that goes wrong when it turns out a killer creature is on the loose.


Though the film is a short 72 minutes, it is effective enough while it lasts, both for its unintentional humor and interesting Horror/Monster elements that, Hellman shot extra footage with the actors for TV use and they made the film work better.  That is the Special Extended Version Synapse has put together here.  There are other lesser cuts out on DVD, but they are poorer, butchers, lame and inferior to this release.  As you are about to see, the film has rightly been influential and it is great someone cared enough to honor the film and Hellman enough to issue a suitable edition nearly a half-century later.


The black and white image is available in a 1.33 X 1 full frame version and 1.78 X 1 anamorphically enhanced version, both of which come form the best elements the company could find.  Video Black is consistent, but detail is limited by the original sources, possibly 16mm in some cases.  Cinematographer Andrew Costikyan, who later when on to shoot Woody Allen’s memorable comedy Bananas in 1971, proves he can shoot black and white as well as he does color.  Some of the shots here are very memorable, enough to have influenced James Cameron’s Aliens in 1986.  Extras include the original theatrical trailer and liner notes by Bill Warren in a foldout inside the DVD case.  Another solid Synapse release film fans will appreciate.


For more information about this and other great titles from Synapse Films, be sure to visit their site at the following link where you can also order these discs:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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