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Posted on August 5, 2016

Dinosaurs and the Horror Film, Part 2: Carnosaur

Dawn Keetley

Dinosaur movies are typically categorized as horror films, but not all of them are—and so I thought I’d use two intriguing-in-their-own-right dinosaur films as part of my ongoing exploration of what makes a horror film. In [part 1 of this discussion], I argued that Disney / Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (2015) is not only not horror but represents an explicitly anti-horror project. Carnosaur, on the other hand, a low-budget Roger Corman production, is unequivocally a horror film. Carnosaur was released on May 21, 1993, just four weeks before Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park—and it bears some resemblance to its big-budget competitor. While not as good a film as Jurassic Park, Carnosaur is vastly more interesting, especially for horror fans.

Carnosaur is a crazy film—and while it’s currently not easy to find, it’s worth the effort to try to get your hands on it. Diane Ladd plays Dr. Jane Tiptree, a woman whom one male character calls “the fairy godmother of military biotech.” Tiptree has been sequestered away, working to create a hybrid race of dinosaurs to whose eggs women give birth right before they die. Tiptree’s plan, it turns out, is to wipe out the human race for their sins, creating a new and more worthy species (genetically-modified dinosaurs) to continue life on earth. You might be forgiven for thinking that some of the finer points of Tiptree’s scheme are a little illogical—and my advice would be, well, to enjoy and not overthink it! Read more

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