Carnosaur (1993)

Carnosaur (1993)‘Humans are the ants crawling through their living rooms…’

A top geneticist has been working in secrecy at an underground government facility in the desert. By the time the bigwigs take any notice, her plans to repopulate the world with dinosaurs are well advanced. To make matters worse, one of her pets escapes and begins tucking into the local population.

What could be better than 3-time Oscar nominee Diane Ladd breeding dinosaurs from chicken eggs laid by young blondes in an early 1990s Roger Corman schlockfest? Well, as it turns out, almost anything really!

This is dreary stuff indeed, with a premise so contrived and ridiculous that the script doesn’t even bother with a great deal of pseudo-scientific gobbledygook to explain it. Instead Ladd just pontificates a lot about how awful humans are and how great the dinosaurs were. In typical low-budget fashion she was obviously only available for a few days filming so never leaves her lab and has only limited interaction with the rest of the no-name cast. A lot of the other main characters never meet each other either, so the story doesn’t so much develop as fragment into a series of vaguely related scenes almost randomly stuck together.

The SFX are truly laughable as well, ranging from a desperately stiff and unconvincing ‘full size’ creature to a selection of gory hand puppets used for close ups. This does make for some laugh out loud moments, of course, but they are few and far between, and the audience is left adrift in a sea of dull mediocrity. Nods to George A Romero’s classic ‘The Crazies’ (1973) only highlight the production’s deficiencies, and attempts to add a layer of authenticity by inserting very official looking ‘time & place’ captions at the start of every scene are completely doomed.

Carnosaur (1993)

Carnosaur’s table manners left a little to be desired…

Ladd bares up as well as she can, and she is handy to have around when you’re laying an egg, but her climatic scenes must rank as a career low, and rather a humiliating experience for this respected actress. Elsewhere, a lot of the burden falls on the shoulders of nominal hero Raphael Sbarge and pretty, young environmental activist Jennifer Runyan. Unfortunately, it’s hard to care about two such underdeveloped characters, which becomes a serious liability at the supposedly hard-hitting climax.

Lengthy scenes in a local diner feature the usual assortment of generic stereotypes favoured by lazy (or ‘in a hurry’) scriptwriters, and we’re treated to some truly idiotic, unrealistic dialogue. Our scaly anti-hero also squares off against construction vehicles at one point in a tired nod to the climactic confrontation in ‘Aliens’ (1986).

Corman was only executive producer, leaving ‘on the job’ chores to writer-director Adam Simon (‘Body Chemistry II: Voice of A Stranger’ (1992)) with help from Darren Moloney, whose only other directorial credit to date is ‘Andomina: The Pleasure Planet’ (1999). The whole mess was apparently taken from a novel by John Brosnan, who was also involved here.

The fact that the film came out in the months following worldwide smash ‘Jurassic Park’ (1992) was obviously a complete coincidence. Even the fact that one of the advertising lines was ‘It’s no walk in the park.’

Sequels followed.

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