While the genetic mutations of Jurassic World tear the box office apart, they are not the only terrible lizards who lurk among movies…
Released just before Jurassic Park, Carnosaur was the low-budget cash-in by the lord of all things b-movie, Roger Corman. The two look nothing alike, but they do have a few things in common. Firstly, in both a scientist resurrects dinosaurs. Both are based on books and Carnosaur‘s was published nearly a decade before Michael Crichton’s novel. Carnosaur also starred Diane Ladd, whose daughter Laura Dern starred in Jurassic Park.
- The Valley of Gwangi
Released in 1969, Valley of the Gwangi is actually a bit boring. It features a bunch of cowboys who discover a secret canyon filled with prehistoric beasts. But it is one of the best showcases for the work of Ray Harryhausen, the god of stop-motion. A passion project he inherited from his late mentor, this would also be the last dinosaur-themed movie Harryhausen created special effects for.
The tyrannosaurus rex is arguably the most-used dinosaur in films. Caveman, the early Eighties slapstick movie starring Ringo Starr, would not be complete without one – you know, since it takes place in caveman times. My history is shoddy, but the last book I read explained quite clearly how the earth is 6,000 years old and man roamed with dinosaurs. Stupid, lazy dinosaurs who rolled their eyes. This also means Ringo Starr is 6,000 years old…
- My Science Project
The mid-Eighties loved films about genius teenagers who cause all kinds of science fiction havoc with their inventions. The hero in My Science Project isn’t a genius, but he does manage to find some kind of alien gizmo at an abandoned military site. Turns out this thing can alter time, so it was inevitable a dinosaur would arrive in the picture. The t-rex’s cameo is a short one, but definitely one of the highlights of this movie.
- We’re Back!
Two decades ago Steven Spielberg really wanted to expand his media empire beyond live-action films, so he invested in animations and games. Today we remember more popular creations such as The Neverhood and Animaniacs. But the star-studded We’re Back! was a big stab at box-office glory. Sadly it bombed and has been forgotten, but if you ever wanted a t-rex that sounds like John Goodman, find this bit of animation history. Fun fact: John Malkovich hates this film.
- Tammy and The T-Rex
It would be years before Denise Richards and Paul Walker became stars, which explains why they headline this curious low-budget comedy. Walker is Michael, a teenager who is nearly killed by a lion after he confronts the bully dating his sweetheart, the titular Tammy (played by Richards). His drunk uncle transplants Michael’s brain into a giant robotic dinosaur and Michael goes out to get revenge and win Tammy’s heart back.
- The Land Before Time
Before Steven Spielberg made his own animated dinosaur film, he teamed up with legendary animator Don Bluth to create The Land Before Time. It may have used every dinosaur cliché in the book, but this was a huge hit and spawned no less than thirteen sequels. There were also games, two music albums and a short-lived television series.
- Super Mario Bros
Super Mario Bros was not the worst of the Nineties video game adaptations. That honour belongs to the truly appalling Double Dragon. Still, Mario Bros was pretty stupid and made no sense. Yet it did have dinosaurs. That was the plot: the villain King Koopa was some sort of dinosaur king from a different dimension. Strange, tiny-headed dinosaurs and a bad hair day for Dennis Hopper. No wonder he hated it.
- Theodore Rex
Whoopi Goldberg’s career was already tanking by the time she starred in this dud, so let’s assume she did it for the cheque. In the future people and dinosaurs not only live side-by-side, but dinos even wear clothes and get jobs. Whoopi reluctantly teams up with the most annoying movie creature since Howard the Duck.
- King Kong
Peter Jackson’s King Kong raises a lot of mixed feelings, usually of the bored variety. Also, the monkey dies at the end, which is a terrible conclusion to watching 3.5 hours of footage. But can we tip our hats to the awesome fight between Kong and a group of t-rexes? If only the entire movie was about that…
Last Updated: June 18, 2015