Another weekend, another Jack Harris production. Harris has made a name for himself cranking out colorful, enjoyable B-movie fare, and his latest contribution to the cinematic universe, Dinosaurus!, is no exception.
Make no mistake: Harris has yet to produce a masterpiece. But then, I don’t think that’s his goal. Rather, he creates fun monsters and cool heroes to fight them. All while offering up a ear-catching soundtrack.
This time around, Harris has traded in the frenetic jazz for soothing calypso, as befits the setting of Dinosaurus!–the idyllic Caribbean paradise of St. Croix.
In contrast to his previous movies, The Blob and The 4D Man, Dinosaurus! opens up right quick with the action. In brief, a test of underwater explosives off the coast of the island uncovers a pair of dinosaurs and a caveman, all of whom have been frozen solid for ages at the bottom of the sea. They are hauled ashore for investigation, whereupon they thaw and wreak havoc upon the island. But the real monster of the piece isn’t one of the dinosaurs or a prehistoric Neanderthal. It’s a sinister island manager named Hacker, who treats the islanders like his property, and who has designs on seizing the ancient creatures for his own profit.
Beefcake, two for one sale, with a cheesecake dessert–but you have to order a side of slime…
Rather than spoil the plot, for the movie is worth watching (so long as you understand what you’ll be getting), I’ll just tell you the things I learned during the course of the film:
1) Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and Neanderthals lived contemporaneously;
2) Creatures can be quick-frozen such that they will return to life, no worse for wear, once exposed to warm sun and rain;
3) Tyrannosaurs are malicious, spiteful creatures; they are motivated by murder and mayhem rather than by hunger;
4) Brontosaurs are adorable and make excellent steeds;
5) Neanderthals are noble, self-sacrificing creatures, but they lack the ability to speak. They also are best used as comic relief;
6) Stop-motion and puppet dinosaurs are much more satisfying to watch than lizards with taped-on accoutrements;
7) Harris hopes to make a sequel even though there is no way to continue the storyline.
Rest assured that the good guys win in the end, although not without taking casualties–to wit, an Irishman and a Brontosaurus. I suspect that, if my daughter had been with me, she would have walked out when the sauropod bought the farm. I know I was tempted.
My magazine subscriptions should be here by tomorrow, so I’ll have the first revew of the October 1960 issues next time around!