action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: June 23rd, 2014 Movie – Raptor

raptor

This right here is probably my favorite movie in the Carnosaur series, but not for the reasons you may think. You see, several years ago, I was watching Sci-fi channel one weekend when I caught the tail end of this movie. I was absolutely floored, not because of how good it was, but because I recognized some of the scenes and knew that they were from different movies. Well, this obviously piqued my interest so I had to look up this movie and then immediately pick up a copy (this was also when I bought the other Carnosaur movies). So let me re-watch Raptor, then explain why I like it so much.

The plot: Three kids are joyriding in the desert and after stopping near a cliff, they are attacked and killed by a Velociraptor. Later that day, Sheriff Jim Tanner heads out to the site of the deaths and meets up with his deputy, Ben Glover. As the look over the bodies and the scene, they are joined by Barbara Phillips, the local animal control officer that Jim has dated. Barbara, who was called there by Jim’s daughter Lola, examines the scene and says that it looks like an animal attack but can’t determine what caused it. Suddenly, they all hear a roaring sound but none of them can identify it. Meanwhile, at the UNIS Corporation, Dr. Hyde is chastising his head of security Josh McCoy, his chief technician Lyle Schell, and his assistant Karen over the premature hatchling that escaped and killed the kids. Karen tells him that the hatchling will die in 3-5 days and when McCoy asks about the other embryos, Karen tells him that they can ship them to their Utah facility. The embryo-chickens are shipped out as part of a poultry shipment and sent to Utah but shortly after leaving the facility, something bursts out of one of the chickens, destroying the cage it is in and when the driver pulls over to investigate, he is killed by the raptor that had just hatched. Later that night, a deputy discovers the truck and calls it in to Jim, who tells him to wait there and he will join him, but as the deputy calls in to run the truck’s plate, he is killed by the raptor as well. Back at the police station, Ben hands Jim a notice that Carl Joseph had broken out of prison and he suspects he is coming back there for revenge. Jim tells Lola to leave when her shift is over and not to go out with her boyfriend Tommy, saying he is too old for her, and Lola teases him that she had told Barbara the same thing about him. Later that night, Lola meets up with Tommy and they have sex in the back of his truck but as they are leaving, Tommy is killed by the freshly hatched raptor and Lola drives off. The raptor manages to get onto the hood of the truck and tries breaking in but Lola jumps free while the truck crashes off a bridge, exploding and killing the raptor. Jim arrives at the truck and calls Barbara to have her take a look while he tries to figure out where his deputy has gone. They check the log and discover where the truck picked up the chickens when Jim is contacted about his daughter and he rushes off to the hospital. When he gets there, the doctor tells him that Lola is suffering from severe shock, rendering her practically catatonic, and Jim discusses what they should do when Ben tells him about finding Tommy’s truck and a severed hand close by it. The next day at Unis, Lyle is talking with Hyde and Karen about the deaths, saying he doesn’t want to go to jail for them, and Hyde tells him that he is free to transfer but before he leaves, he asks that Lyle check out the laser barrier around the T-rex. When Lyle heads down the corridor, Hyde speaks with him and assures him he is safe but Lyle panics and tries to run back, just as Hyde drops the barrier and allows the T-rex to kill him. Outside the facility, Jim and Barbara have shown up to question the person in charge but are told by McCoy that Hyde isn’t there. Suddenly, they hear the T-rex’s roar and McCoy tries to pass it off as steam venting but as they leave, both Jim and Barbara recognize the sound as being similar to what they heard in the desert. Barbara has an idea and they head back to the hospital, where Barbara plays back the roar she had recorded on her tape recorder to Lola, snapping her out of her catatonic state. Lola screams out and tells her father that a giant lizard had killed Tommy and Jim leaves her with the doctor to look after her while he continues investigating. Jim drops Barbara off at her house, where she kisses him and invites him in for a nightcap but Jim tells her he can’t, as he plans on staking out UNIS over night. Meanwhile, Ben has received calls about someone smashing windows downtown and he goes off to investigate, believing it to be Carl Joseph. When he gets there, he yells out for whoever is out there to show themselves and is attacked by the raptor, which he shoots with his shotgun, but as he moves in to finish it off, the raptor impales him with it’s sickle claw. The next day, Jim picks up Barbara and they head to the morgue to examine Ben’s body and when Barbara finds a large tooth in Ben’s thorax, Jim realizes that they will need more than just the local cops to deal with this. Jim contacts the FBI and speaks with Agent Wiley, who tells him that he has no information on the UNIS corporation but asks to be kept in the loop. After he hangs up the phone, Jim prepares to go back to UNIS with Barbara and asks her to get a search warrant from his deputy while he calls the power company and arranges for them to turn off the power to UNIS if they don’t hear back from him by 3. Meanwhile, Agent Wiley contacts Colonel Vandamar and asks him about UNIS but Vandamar tells him they sold it to the private sector years ago. Vandamar then calls Hyde and asks him to confirm that they had cancelled his research project 12 years ago and Hyde tells him that they did, causing Vandamar to question as to whether he has received funding from other sources. Hyde assures him that he hasn’t and Vandamar hangs up, just as Jim and Barbara show up at UNIS. Hyde goes to meet them and shows them around, with McCoy and some of his men following at a distance, and as Barbara and Jim ask him about his past experiments and research, Hyde pulls a gun on them, as does McCoy and his men, and they proceed to lock up Jim and Barbara. After Jim hasn’t been heard from in over an hour, his deputy contacts Agent Wiley, who then contacts Vandamar. Vandamar orders a special forces team to investigate and deal with the problem. The two marine special forces teams arrive and split up once they reach UNIS. Meanwhile, the power company representative remembers about Jim and has the power shut off, allowing Jim and Barbara to escape from the room they are locked in. As Hyde tries to figure out what happened, Karen is concerned about the animals being able to escape from their enclosures but Hyde is not concerned about the soldiers’ lives. The soldiers encounter the raptors, and though the soldiers manage to kill some of the raptors, some soldiers are killed as other raptors escape. After getting the back up generators on, the marines decide to simply blow up the building, killing all of the dinosaurs inside. Meanwhile, Jim and Barbara make their way to the elevator so they can leave but the T-rex has escaped from it’s pen and smashes the side of the elevator shaft, causing the elevator to crash to the bottom. Meanwhile, Karen accuses Hyde of purposefully allowing the dinosaurs to kill the men and decides to quit but as she gets on the elevator to leave, a raptor lunges down from the ceiling and drags her on top of the elevator, where it kills her. As the soldiers plant charges, they warn the helicopter pilots to keep any civilians from leaving but as the helicopter takes off, the pilot is attacked by a raptor that had snuck on board, causing her to crash on top of a fleeing McCoy. As more soldiers are killed by the raptors, Jim and Barbara run into a group of soldiers and are escorted out of there, just as an evac team shows up to help evacuate everyone. Hyde disguises himself as one of the evac workers to try and escape but the T-rex breaks through the side of the building and attacks and kills him. As the soldiers fire at the T-rex, Jim races out to a forklift and gets inside. Telling Barbara to open some nearby bay doors, Jim pilots the forklift to attack the T-rex and force it to bay doors, where he knocks it down the shaft that lay beyond them. Jim and Barbara stare at the body briefly before racing to safety just before the buildig explodes, killing all of the dinosaurs inside.

This movie is fantastic because of the simple premise it employs; reusing stock footage to make another movie. The acting was pretty decent, with Eric Roberts (Jim), Melissa Brasselle (Barbara), and Corbin Bernsen (Hyde) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was weak but that was due to the fact that they were trying to write a movie, with half of it’s scenes used in other movies. I’m serious, I think that out of the 80+ minutes in this movie, only half, (or maybe 50 minutes at most) was original footage. This made for some very funny issues, such as one of the marine teams wearing a grey and white checkerboard style uniforms, except for one member who was dressed in black. This was to match up with the footage of the soldiers from Carnosaur 3. However, my favorite was when Jim was fighting the T-rex in a forklift, and the footage kept switching from the forklift used in Carnosaur 2, and the bulldozers used in Carnosaur. The back and forth between the two vehicles during the same fight was incredibly funny to watch. The special effects were the same as the original movies, so rather low budget and somewhat cheap looking at times but still entertaining. A lot of fun, both for the silliness of the movie and the efforts in trying to work around the reused footage.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: June 20th, 2014 Movie – Carnosaur

carnosaur

Back in 1991, I read a book from arguably one of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, called “Jurassic Park”. Being the dinosaur nut that I was as a kid, this book was right up my alley. A year later, I heard about the major motion picture being made based on the book and I, like millions of other people, got excited about the news. However, what most people didn’t know at the time is that there was another dinosaur movie, based on a different book, that came out a month before Jurassic Park. Now I did not see this movie in theaters when it was out but I did hear about it as it came out on video and since it was made by Roger Corman, I knew I had to watch it. Over the years, I would catch Carnosaur on TV every now and then and after a coupe more years, I decided to go ahead and by the series on DVD and have yet to be disappointed in the decision.

The plot: In Washington D.C., a meeting is held at the Advanced Research Projects Administration concerning Dr. Jane Tiptree, a brilliant genetic scientist who has disappeared from the public eye. The head of the Eunice Corporation says she is working for them but they can’t legally interfere with her research due to the way her contract is structured or else they will lose their patents. At the Eunice Corporation testing facility in Nevada, disguised as a poultry plant, some men are checking on the chickens that Tiptree had been experimenting on when they notice one of the chickens had died laying a giant egg. As they stare at the egg, it suddenly hatches and the creature inside slashes one of the guard’s face before disappearing. The head of security, Jesse Paloma, tells the front gate not to let anyone in or out until the creature is found but the guard lets a delivery driver, carrying a load of chickens out. As the driver heads down the highway, something attacks some of the chickens inside the back of the truck and as the driver pulls over to investigate, he is killed by the creature, a small Deinonychus. Elsewhere, a drunken security guard named Doc Smith chases some environmental activists from the construction site he is guarding, but finds that they had disabled some of the equipment. As he goes to check the other machines, he finds another activist named Thrush (formerly Ann) hiding in the machine and takes her back to her trailer while he calls the sheriff. Sheriff Fowler tells Doc that he will send a car over when he can, as he is busy dealing with the dead delivery driver, though neither he nor the doctor can figure out what killed him. The body is taken to the nearby morgue and the coroner sends a wound sample to a friend to get his opinion. The next day, Fowler and Doc head to a local commune, as Doc fell asleep and let Thrush escape, but when they get there, Doc tells Fowler that the woman he saw is not there, even as he looks right at Thrush. Later that day, Thrush heads to the dig site to thank Doc but gets annoyed by his overly sarcastic and uncaring attitude. Meanwhile, Paloma is telling his men to find the creature, while his daughter sneaks out of the house to go joyriding with her boyfriend and another friend. As they drive off into the desert, they stop as they get close to a cliff but the Deinonychus attacks and kills Paloma’s daughter and her boyfriend, while severely wounding the third teenager. As a security team continues looking for the Deinonychus, they eventually see it and try to recapture it but it attacks and kills them, all of which is seen by Tiptree. At the same time, Thrush is walking back to the commune when Doc pulls up and offers her a lift, blackmailing her into getting into the car. As they are driving, they come up on the injured teenager and stop to try and help him. Paloma learns about his daughter’s death and blames Tiptree for her death. Tiptree tells him she had brought his daughter’s body to the facility and lets him go see her but she actually lured him into a trap, where Paloma comes face to face with a Tyrannosaurus that is being held behind a laser fence, which Tiptree lowers so that the Tyrannosaurus can kill him. Back at the dig site, Doc finds Thrush and other members of her group chained to the vehicles and he tries to get them to leave but decides to let them be while he goes to get some food. While he is gone, the Deinonychus, having grown bigger since it killed the kids, shows up at the dig site and attacks and kills everyone but Thrush, who was inside the cab of one of the vehicles. When Doc returns, he sees all of the dead bodies and Thrush, who had passed out from shock, and calls Fowler, who takes the bodies to the coroner and he tells Fowler that the creature that did this is either growing or there are more than one of them. Meanwhile, Doc discovers the Eunice Corp. truck and when he hears Tiptree calling for a status report, he pretends to be the driver and breaks into the corporation, where he confronts Tiptree. At the dig site, Thrush regains consciousness only for the Deinonychus to attack Doc’s trailer but she grabs Doc’s rifle and fires at it, chasing it away. The next day, Fowler is talking with his wife, who tells him that both herself and their kids have the flu that is going around town, and Fowler tells her to let him handle the cooking but when he goes to cook some eggs, he finds them all discolored and a Deinonychus embryo is in one of them, which he takes to the coroner to examine. Back at Eunice, Tiptree’s assistant says she isn’t feeling good and Tiptree tells her to come downstairs to her lab. When she gets there, it is revealed that she is pregnant and she dies giving birth but instead of a baby, she produces a giant egg. Doc is shocked at what he saw and discovers that Tiptree has even more eggs in an incubator by her lab and threatens to destroy the eggs unless Tiptree answers his questions. Meanwhile, the head of the A.R.P.A. has learned about what is going on in Nevada and orders the military to quarantine the area, killing everybody in the area, as they discovered that Tiptree had made a virus that infected women and made them give birth to dinosaurs, while dying in the process. At Eunice, Tiptree is explaining why she did what she did, convinced that human would kill the world so it was better to return it to a purer time. In town, Fowler investigates a break-in at the pet store and is confronted by the Deinonychus and shoots it but it stabs him with it’s claw as it dies, killing him. Back at the lab, Doc says that Tiptree must have made an anti virus, shooting the eggs until she gives it to him. Doc leaves, making his way through the laser fence and past the Tyrannosaurus but it chases after him, breaking free of it’s enclosure in the facility. Meanwhile, Tiptree lays down and gives birth to a dinosaur, that bursts out of her stomach. Doc heads back to his trailer and gives Thrush the anti-virus but as he tries calling for help, he hears about the military roadblock and the Tyrannosaurus on the loose and realizes that it is heading towards them, as the site was part of the dinosaur migration route. When the Tyrannosaurus arrives, Doc helps Thrush into a mini bulldozer, then gets into one of his own and they proceed to fight off the Tyrannosaurus, eventually killing it. Doc helps Thrush back into the trailer and when he hears someone calling out over the CB if anyone is alive, he responds and asks for a doctor but the military shows up and shoots both Doc and Thrush, then sets fire to them and the trailer.

Carnosaur met with poor results from the critics, holding an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all felt that while the movie may have been more provocative, it was hampered by the ridiculous and cheap feel of it. Despite being competing franchises, there is a funny tie in to the Jurassic Park franchise within the movie. Diane Ladd’s daughter Laura Dern, would play Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III while Clint Howard’s niece, Bryce Dallas Howard, would play Clair Dearing in Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $1.8 million off of a $850,000 budget and would go on to spawn 2 sequels and 2 spin-offs.

Ahh, this entire franchise is one of my favorite so bad it’s good movies and it all started with this one. This movie is not a good movie but it is a lot of fun to watch. The acting was ok, with Diane Ladd (Tiptree) and Raphael Sbarge (Doc) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was interesting and I liked the dual plot of the virus rewriting the human females’ DNA to both kill them off and give birth to dinosaurs, as well as the dinosaurs killing people themselves. While the story was good, the pacing of the movie was odd, as some of the scenes didn’t seem to sync up right or it would be daylight, then nighttime, then daylight again but it would still all be the same day. The special effects were incredibly cheap looking, especially the Tyrannosaurus, but that is honestly part of the charm to this movie, as they are rather laughably bad. It is not a major blockbuster source of entertainment, but it has it’s own charm that can be fun to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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