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Carnosaur

It would be one very long stretch to suggest that Concorde's "Carnosaur" was raising the anxiety level over at Universal, which has "Jurassic Park" opening in two weeks. A market quickie that is guaranteed a fast two weeks in regional playoff, the contemporary dino tale harks back to '50s monster epics in style and sophistication. The ever-vigilant Roger Corman film factory is once again first in the marketplace with an exploitable sensation.

It would be one very long stretch to suggest that Concorde’s “Carnosaur” was raising the anxiety level over at Universal, which has “Jurassic Park” opening in two weeks. A market quickie that is guaranteed a fast two weeks in regional playoff, the contemporary dino tale harks back to ’50s monster epics in style and sophistication. The ever-vigilant Roger Corman film factory is once again first in the marketplace with an exploitable sensation.

Replete with scientific mumbo jumbo, this breezy outing is a not-very-filling popcorn treat. Predictably plotted with bargain-basement effects, it’s a serviceable programmer destined for a quick trip to the tar pits of video shelves and cable screenings.

Somewhere in the Nevada desert, genetic scientist Dr. Jane Tiptree (Diane Ladd) is hatching diabolical experiments with chickens. Just exactly what it’s all leading to not even her employers know.

As best as can be gleaned early on, Tiptree has cross-fertilized chicken eggs with T-Rex DNA. The result is a lethal little pecker that dines on the Southwest smorgasbord of truckers and military/industrial support staff. But more and bigger horrors are to come.

The unwitting hero is “Doc” Smith, a plant operations employee who hooks up with Thrush (Jennifer Runyon), a member of a commune of eco-freaks. Together they dodge the rapidly growing prehistoric terror, eventually winding up in the underground lab of the off-kilter scientist.

There the full horror is revealed. Tiptree’s next step is to fertilize her dinos via the human reproductive system. What appears to be a fierce fever is just a prelude to an unwanted pregnancy.

Ladd chews up the scenery as the distaff mad doctor of the piece. Her raison d’etre is to end the lousiest of species. Sbarge and Runyon are not called on for anything more than obvious characterizations.

Writer/director Adam Simon keeps the action movingabout a step or two ahead of the silliness. But it’s a true footrace for his fleeting diversion.

Carnosaur

(Horror -- Color)

  • Production: A Concorde-New Horizons Corp. production and release. Produced by Mike Elliott. Executive producer, Roger Corman. Writer/director, Adam Simon.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Keith Holland; editor, Richard Gentner; music, Nigel Holton; production design, Aaron Osborne; visual effects supervisor, Alan Lasky; creature designer and creator, John Carl Buechler, Magical Media Industries. Reviewed at the Arcade Cinema, Cannes, May 15, 1993. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 82 min.
  • With: Dr. Jane Tiptree ... Diane Ladd "Doc" Smith ... Raphael Sbarge Thrush ... Jennifer Runyon Sheriff ... Harrison Page Trucker ... Clint Howard
  • Music By: