Millipede Press
Underground Reading: Paradise Motel by Jack Sheridan

The Cinematic Black Hole: Carnosaur


I saw this movie once, like fifteen years ago. It came out in 1993, and I watched a VHS version, so I must have seen it in '94 or '95. Picking on a film I haven't seen since I was a freshman in high school doesn't seem exactly fair, but I've been working on a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen review for two weeks now, and it has spiraled entirely out of control, and I need a stop-gap until I can rein the damned thing in and post it.

Carnosaur wins because it was the first movie on this website's list to which I had the following reaction: "oh, shit, that was a terrible movie."

First: a plot summary without looking it up on IMDB. Dinosaur fetuses are cloned and implanted into unsuspecting women. The women deliver giant, Mentos-eggs which hatch dinosaurs which mature really fast and eat everyone. Eventually the evil scientist who came up with this brilliant plan lays her own Mentos-egg and dies. The End.

IMDB says something about a night watchman and a lovely idealistic environmentalist, and chicken eggs. Otherwise, I appear to have recalled the basic plot pretty well. (Link) I guess the dinosaurs are a virus, not a clone? I don't know.

Carnosaur looks like it ought to be good fun, doesn't it? Who doesn't love rampaging dinosaurs? Of course, that's the attitude that got me into trouble with 10,000 BC ("who doesn't love rampaging saber-tooth tigers!").

How is it that ingredients for cinematic brilliance so often wind up not as a delicious, lovably-bad-movie stew but instead reduce to the most foul-smelling morass this side of a 14th century cesspool? Dinosaurs should automatically elevate the most base movie, shouldn't they? I mean, c'mon: Jurassic Park is a pretty mediocre movie, but it's full of dinosaurs! And dinosaurs are awesome! They totally distract from the two-dimensional characterization and heavy-handed moralizing! Because they're totally awesome!

If Carnosaur serves no other purpose, then, it gives the lie to that apparently basic tenet. Dinosaurs, as it turns out, are not always awesome. With celluloid dinosaurs may also come eggs that look uncannily like a mediocre candy (I haven't eaten a Mento since) and some number of hours that I'll never, ever get back; hours that could have been spent more profitably doing... well, anything. A decade and a half later, I still resent their loss.