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