Browsing Tag


Posted on August 5, 2016

Dinosaurs and the Horror Film, Part 2: Carnosaur


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

Posted on July 27, 2016

Dinosaurs and the Horror Film, Part 1: The Good Dinosaur


Sometimes you watch a film that helps clarify what a horror film is by not being a horror film. Disney / Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (2015) is that film—and it set me thinking about the contested place of dinosaurs in the horror genre. Films with rampaging dinosaurs are often categorized as horror films. But should they be?

This will be the first of two posts that explore what makes a horror film by looking at two films about dinosaurs, identifying what is explicitly not horror (The Good Dinosaur) and what unequivocally is horror (Carnosaur, 1993).

To start with what is not horror: Disney / Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. While it is not a horror film, The Good Dinosaur, like many Disney films, contains horror, the appearance and containment of which seems necessary to the film’s construction as something other than a horror film. Read more

Posted on June 17, 2015

Review of Jurassic World: Of Dinosaurs and Monsters


PG-13             124 mins.        2015    USA    Colin Trevorrow

It may seem strange that I’m reviewing Jurassic World for a horror blog since none of the Jurassic Park films have ever been categorized as horror films: they are action, adventure, thriller, and science-fiction. But not horror. Why is that? Well, in large part it’s about marketing and studios striving to reach the largest possible audience; it’s about making sure the franchise is family-friendly. It’s also, though, because the films feature dinosaurs—natural creatures, not monsters. Right?

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