Carnosaur

Tagged: Film

Film (1993). New Horizons Picture. Directed by Darren Moloney and Adam Simon. Produced by Roger Corman and Mike Elliott. Written by Adam Simon, very heavily revising a screenplay adaptation by John Brosnan of his novel Carnosaur (1984) as by Harry Adam Knight. Cast includes Diane Ladd, Harrison Page, Jennifer Runyon and Raphael Sbarge. 83 minutes. Colour

This exercise in exploitative Horror in SF, set in Nevada, was initiated by Roger Corman to cash in on the massive Dinosaur-themed advance promotion of Jurassic Park (1993). Mad Scientist Dr Jane Tiptree (Ladd), initially working with chickens modified by Genetic Engineering, plans to destroy the human race with a tailored virus and replace them with her own "worthier" creations; the virus impregnates women and causes them to give birth, gorily, to dinosaurs. An escaped Deinonychus (the velociraptor of Jurassic Park) hatched from a chicken egg causes some initial havoc; a huge Tyrannosaurus rex is also deployed in the cause of general mayhem, though for budgetary reasons the film omits the wider range of dinosaurs featured in Brosnan's novel. Doc Smith (Sbarge), watchman at a nearby quarry, and mysterious trespasser Ann Thrush (Runyon) help local lawman Sheriff Fowler (Page) investigate the rash of gruesome deaths-by-dinosaur, with Smith eventually confronting Tiptree in her laboratory and forcing her at gunpoint to reveal her extermination scheme. The US government also gets wind of it and places the area under quarantine, with orders for potentially infected civilians to be shot. Thrush is duly infected. In set-piece gorefest battles, the sheriff and the Deinonychus fatally injure one other and Smith takes down the T. rex with a backhoe, only to be shot by government soldiers.

Carnosaur was critically excoriated but did well enough to spawn two sequels, Carnosaur 2 (1994) directed by Louis Morneau, and Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996) directed by Jonathan Winfrey, plus two further spinoffs using some recycled footage from the above: the direct-to-video Raptor (2001) directed by Jim Wynorski, and the made-for-Television The Eden Formula (2006) directed (and written) by John Carl Buechler. All but the last had Corman as producer. [DRL]

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