Beast From Haunted Cave (1959)/Ski Troop Attack (1960) – 2-Disc Double Feature: Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

A thing I always enjoyed about Roger Corman’s movies is that they were very ambitious. Sometimes they were too ambitious for their own good. Thematically, “Beast from the Haunted Cave” has a good idea. It’s an action themed heist picture but it throws in an icky monster to the mix to contribute to the horror element. A movie like this is begging to be remade, and could become a pretty fun monster picture and action hybrid similar to “Deep Rising,” per se.

In a skiing station in Dakota, a gang of criminals leaded by Alexander “Alex” Ward plans the heist of golden bars from a small bank. While the lover of Alex, Gypsy Boulet, goes to an isolated cabin with the ski instructor Gil Jackson, a time bomb explodes a cave to divert the attention of the locals and the gangsters steal the gold. But the explosion releases a spider-like monster and due to a storm, the group becomes trapped in Gil’s cabin and threatened by the creepy beast…

In either case, “Beast from the Haunted Cave” is a pretty simple and barebones movie with a run time barely clocking in at seventy minutes. The movie is so barebones that it literally ends on the monster fleeing in to the cave smothered in flames from his final fight. There’s no indication on who survived the film, or if the beast was tracked down or further exploration of the aftermath. Director Monte Hellman has the advantage of filming all of his film on the snowy tundra on snow drenched mountains in Dakota, where a mixed bag of criminals and thieves join for a very sought after bundle of gold.

And wouldn’t you know it? In the midst of their heistings and criminaling, said monster enters the scene. “Beast from the Haunted Cave” is very stripped down and minimalist despite the premise hinting at a lot more. Director Hellman’s movie is primarily an action heist and neo-noir picture with a bit of a monster movie thrown in for good measure. While the monster itself is goofy and hard to discern thanks to the dark and murky photography, director Hellman works with what he has and pulls off a somewhat spooky blood sucking, spider creature.

The new release from Film Masters comes with the Theatrical and longer TV cut of “Beast from the Haunted Cave,” as well as the extra feature film, the 1960 “Ski Patrol Attack” – “An American patrol has to cross behind enemy lines by skis in order to blow up an important railroad bridge. The task is made harder by conflicts between the platoon’s veteran sergeant and its inexperienced lieutenant and by constant attacks by pursuing German troops.” The Film Masters Blu-Ray offers a commentary on “Beast from Haunted Cave” by Tom Weaver with help from Larry Blamire. There is also a commentary on the extra feature “Ski Patrol Attack” by C. Courtney Joyner and Howard S. Berger.

Film Masters include part one of Daniel Griffith’s “Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story” as written by C. Courtney Joyner. There is also an original trailer for “Beast from Haunted Cave,” and a 2023 re-cut of trailers for both “Beast from Haunted Cave” and “Ski Patrol Attack.” Plus, there is a behind the scenes Beast Still gallery. The package also comes with a full color booklet with essays by C. Courtney Joyner and Tom Weaver. Finally, there’s a hidden “Easter Egg” interview with Chris Robinson who portrayed the titular monster and has some fun memories of his start in the industry.