Movie Sixty Eight
The second film in my Roger Corman double-feature, Carnosaur is a bit harder to like. Roger Corman’s answer to Jurassic Park has not aged very well.
As a kid, I still remember being whipped into a frenzy by Jurassic Park. I have had a lifelong love for all things dinosaur and it sounded like an amazing movie. I also remember leafing through an issue of Fangoria and reading about a movie called Carnosaur, a violent counterpart to Jurassic Park. My pre-teen mind raced at the awesomeness of what I was reading. It would be years before I would finally see Carnosaur, but comparing it to Jurassic Park is apt but a bit unfair.
Carnosaur is, on many levels, similar to Jurassic Park in that it deals with genetic experiments and dinosaurs. Carnosaur uses the genetic part for more devious purposes instead of the dream of a man. The dinosaur models are pretty bad, but considering the budget of the film (about a million dollars) they are acceptable. If I had to explain Carnosaur to someone in one sentence I would say “it’s like if Jurassic Park and Tremors had a low budget spin-off”.
If it seems unfair to compare Carnosaur to Jurassic Park, I would agree except for one glaring reason; Roger Corman made this movie simply because of Jurassic Park. It’s not a cash-in exactly, but it does blatantly ride the coattails of awesome dinosaur movies. After watching a Corman film with talent from the 60s and watching this from the 90s, my clear favorite is The Terror. Carnosaur is only 83 minutes long but it is a long 83 minutes. The shoestring budget in the 60s clearly went further than it did here.
Carnosaur is not a terrible movie, but it’s close. It has some likeable elements but the end result is barely worth watching. Even if you know you are in store for a bad movie, it is almost bad to the point of being good. Roger Corman’s mark on cinema history is evident. The man has produced over 400 (!) films (he didn’t actually direct Carnosaur) over the course of 60 years. His films are not great, but many of them are fun.
I give it 2 hand puppet dinosaurs out of 5.