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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 49: Carnosaur

Cheese! I mean "Rawwwr!"

Happy Saturday Creature Feature. My Dad used to tell me that a typical Saturday night involved watching a Creature Feature and the New York Rangers. In honor of that routine, I felt it was time to watch a animal-based horror movie. Thanks in part to the SyFy channel, there are tons of critter movies and most of them are a steaming pile of terrible with a side of awful. I decided to reach back into my own youth for a movie to watch and I came up with Carnosaur. I'm pretty sure I once rented this movie once and was too scared to watch it. Oh how times have changed.

Carnosaur takes place in a small Southwestern town. Eunice Corporation has employed former weapons creator Dr. Jane Tiptree (Diane Ladd, Rambling Rose, Ghosts of Mississippi) to work on modifying chickens. Unbeknownst to them, Tiptree is certifiably batshit insane and has be splicing chicken DNA with dinosaur DNA. A dinosaur hatches from a chicken egg and goes on a murderous rampage throughout the town. The story also follows an alcoholic security guard named Doc hooks up with an eco-activist named Thrush. People around town are getting sick from a virus caused by the modified eggs and women are actually giving birth to dinosaurs. Doc breaks into Eunice and gets the typical evil super-genius speech from Tiptree. A full-grown T-Rex escapes and its up to Doc and Thrush to stop it. Will they be able to stop the dinosaur and save the world from the virus?

Gah! Ice cream headache! Ice cream headache!

Carnosaur is pretty much the definition of a B-movie. It is loosely based on a novel of the same name. I say loosely because the movie is vastly different from the book. It's painfully obvious that the movie had a tiny budget. The novel had multiple types of dinosaurs, but the movie seems to only have a Tyrannosaurus Rex-like dinosaurs. They have some weird half-bird, half-human roar that jumps come off as weird and confusing. They look really cheap and rubbery, made worse by the fact that Jurassic Park came out just a few weeks later. Carnosaur does have Jurassic Park beat when it comes to blood and gore. If you ever wanted to see Clint Howard get his head bitten off, this movie is for you. The acting is fine and they do what the can with a ridiculous story. There are a few good one-liners throughout and some intentionally funny moments that actually made me crack a smile.

There are plenty of questions and plotholes. running throughout the movie that kind of bothered me, like how did Doc break into this super secret facility so easily? Why are people's first reaction to seeing a dinosaur complete terror? I know my first reaction would be something like “Holy shit, its a dinosaur!” Why does Dr. Tiptree give the world's longest explanation about why she's so obsessed with dinosaurs? Not one person knew what she was doing? No one noticed a full-grown T-Rex living at Eunice Corporation?!? You don't have to fix everything, but someone must have noticed some of these problems. The movie does manage to have a good down-note horror ending that would make George Romero proud. 

She's my cherry pie, taste so good make a dinosaur cry

I'm not sure if Carnosaur wanted to compete with Jurassic Park or mock it, but they failed either way. It looks incredibly cheap and silly, but they give you a decent amount of blood and guts. While most of the acting is passable, the story itself is just so hard to work around. Gene Siskel actually gave this movie a "Thumbs up!" Go figure. If you like dinosaurs (or Clint Howard), give Carnosaur a shot. If you like good movies, don't bother.


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