I wanted to love “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again.” Truth be told I’ve spent a lot of time trying to love Larry Blamire’s first film and then tried anxiously to really love and be enamored by his spoof of science fiction cinema with a title that’s about as redundant as any disposable sci-fi cheese released, but… I just can’t. Even though the cineaste in me is begging that I should. And while he does take great pains in committing to his tribute by writing some of the most quotable moments in independent cinema in a while, along with some rather comical performances, “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again” is a ninety minute gag that you’ll enjoy for the first thirty minutes, like after forty five minutes, and then wonder when it will end after an hour has passed.
To say that it overstays it’s welcome is an understatement as Larry Blamire adds some clever jokes to his follow-up by casting the exact same cast from the first film and explaining that they’re in fact twins of the characters from the previous film. This is hilarious until they’ve mentioned it ten times in an hour and you’ve sat thinking “Okay, I get the point, it’s funny, let’s move on!” Blamire counters the obvious fact that he just re-cast the same actors, but doesn’t just allow us time to soak in the first reaction and ridiculous explanation and the film basically follows on that same road for a long time. An ancient queen and one of the heroines spend about five minutes explaining to one another the meaning of a double negative, there’s the drawn out death scenes that will give a chuckle until Blamire drives it in to the ground. There’s of course the return of Anima that should be cause for cheers, but is a sadly misguided return as she’s wasted for a good portion of the film only to appear every so often to deliver the same jokes we heard from her in the first film.
Blamire does provide some entertaining one-liners including some by the Lost Skeleton who returns again to haunt the twin brother of the main character from the first film and engages in some ridiculous murder sequences that are cause for laughter until Blamire drags the joke in to the ground by featuring some interrogations on the skeleton whose own knack for over the top dialogue can become pretty grating even for the most patient devotee to these niche films that pay homage to the science fiction cheese of the forty and fifties. The skeleton this time plays second fiddle to much of the barrage of overdrawn gags and instead of becoming a maguffin and wacky source for nostalgia to the classic science fiction cheese he feels much more like an annoyance, especially when we learn mid-way that this group’s whole trek may end up benefiting him and his means.
When not engaging in fights with rubber monsters that aren’t as funny as they could be, or exchanging redundant dialogue that could be much funnier, the whole film really is much too long. With a tighter script and fifteen minutes chopped off, it may have been better than the original by a mile. I know I wanted it to be when I was done with it. Director Larry Blamire’s “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again” has potential to be much better than the original mini-cult hit, but in the end it tries much too hard to top its first act by hurling jokes at us that go on too long, are dragged through the dirt, or just aren’t funny, all the while writing a sequel that could be much shorter and twice more effective if allowing the cast to improvise much more. Fact is, when you spend time trying to be entertained than just letting the film entertain you, odds are the movie just isn’t doing its job.