Today’s trash: Carnosaur (1993)
Directed by: Adam Simon and Darren Moloney
Number of Jurassic Park movies it’s better than: 4
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is, regrettably, a terrible movie. The trajectory of the Jurassic Park films is fascinating because you’ve got one all-time classic blockbuster in the bunch, followed by four sequels that fail to deliver on the promise of insane dino carnage. You’re never gonna nail the mystery, wonder and awe the original Jurassic Park had, so you might as well just stick with ridiculous dinosaur murder fests with increasingly ludicrous plot twists.
Jurassic World (2015) and its new sequel cautiously flirt with the insanity I crave, with their plots about genetically engineered dinosaurs, but neither film goes far enough. So, if you’re one of the eight people who haven’t already seen Fallen Kingdom, may I offer a bit of counterprogramming? A film exists that dares to be stupid more often and to a higher degree than committee-produced blockbuster films like Fallen Kingdom can ever dream of, and it probably cost less than World’s craft services budget.
I’m talking about Carnosaur, a gleefully idiotic killer dinosaur film that beat the original Jurassic Park to theaters by a handful of weeks. Produced by cheap movie mastermind Roger Corman, Carnosaur feels like three or four mediocre but readable airport novels rolled into one film. Diane Ladd plays an evil geneticist who seeks to rule the world—through dinosaurs! Specifically, genetically modified dinosaurs that hatch out of exploding chicken eggs and spread like a virus. The only man brave (and drunk) enough to stop her maniacal plan is Doc Smith (Raphael Sbarge), a small-town rent-a-cop who protects a local construction site from tree-huggers.
The film may not make much sense, and the dinosaurs may not look any better than those goofy blow-up T-Rex costumes you sometimes see in viral videos, but Carnosaur has enough enthusiasm and heart that it’s easy to get wrapped up in it, especially when watching with a group. It also contains what might be the single best deathtrap of all time—a room filled with deadly lasers and also a giant dinosaur. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom doesn’t have a room filled with deadly lasers and a giant dinosaur. I feel like I can comfortably rest my case here.