Carnosaur

Year: 1993

Production: Concorde

Director: Adam Simon

Starring: Diane Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyun, Harrison Page, Clint Howard

Screenwriter: Adam Simon

Based on Carnosaur (1984) by John Brosnan

82 minutes; Color


In a characteristically ingenious exploitation move, Roger Corman set out to cash in on Jurassic Park (1993) by buying the rights to a paperback by Harry Adam Knight (John Brosnan) which dealt with genetically engineered dinosaurs well before Michael Crichton tackled on the subject, then casting Diane Ladd, the mother of Steven Spielberg's leading lady Laura Dern, as a mad scientist responsible for ringing some lumbering dino-puppets into the world. However, in an era when major studios stage lavishly-mounted throwaway exploitation pictures in the Corman style (cf: Tremors [1989]), this cutprice effort fails to make much of its promising material, lumbered as it is with dinosaurs that look like 1960s Dr Who effects and move like Sooty or Kermit. Simon, who made the promising Brain Dead (1990), drops in a few cynical touches and some sick comedy scenes: a group of environmentalist protesters padlock themselves to bulldozers and can't escape when a dinosaur trundles up to chomp down on them. Ladd, as the mad scientist who hopes dinosaurs will replace mankind, hams outrageously, but the rest of the cast, headed by Sbarge as a drunken Sheriff, fail to make an impression.

Given the ineptitude of the effects and the slapdash plot, Simon is forced to crib irrelevant bits of business from Humanoids From the Deep (1980) as dino embryos hatch in human women and explode through chests and The Crazies (1973) as decontamination-suited government hit men turn up and wipe out all the characters to cover up the disaster. Naturally, it was a big enough video hit to prompt Carnosaur 2 (1995), an even sillier rip-off of Aliens (1986).

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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