Dino Dicember #21: Tammy And The T-Rex (1994)

As pointed out in the Super Mario Bros The Movie review, the 90s had a fascination with anything dinosaur related, and this is definitely another testament to that, a more obscure – not that obscure – comedy horror film that’s still kinda unique, and became a cult sensation, enough to warrant a 2019 uncut, restored to 4K re-release on Blu-Ray.. only in the U.S. Yeah, there’s no cheap UK DVD release for this one, and apparently the italian VHS version is rare as hell… and i draw the line at collecting VHS tapes. I’m sorry, i have to draw the line somewhere, for my own sake.

And yes, that title screen is correct, since the uncut edition has the movie’s original title, “Tanny and the Teenage T-Rex”. Regardless of what title you see, it’s both explicit and incredibly vague, as in, would you expect a teen drama that turns into horror, with a mad scientist transplating the brain of Tammy’s deceased boyfriend into a robot dinosaur, whom then goes around killing Tammy’s jealous ex-boyfriend and his thugs, as they are responsable for his death? No you wouldn’t.

And i gotta admit, i’ve never heard a plot like this.

If it sound like they slapped together things… yeah, they absolutely did, as director Stewart Rafill told of how the movie was made because a guy who owned theathers had a T-Rex animatronic, and he wanted to get some use out of it before he had to sent it to a park in Texas, as in make a movie, doesn’t matter if there’s no script yet! So yeah, it’s no surprise the script was written in a week and was filmed as fast and efficiently as possible for the above reason.

And also not surprising you can see the camera crew or some people on set in reflection, or spot some scene rigging and stuff that not meant to be seen, period. I’m not pointing this out to shame anyone, more to let you know it’s that kind of movie and go into it with more reasonable expectations. Also, i feel the need to point out it’s very 90s, aggressively 90s even from the beginning, so regardless if you have nostalgia for that decade (or it’s depiction in media) or not, brace yourself for everyone acting over the top, every characters being fueled by the “attitude” and just shy of a Troma movie, with no one acting nowhere near normal, people that just let crazed teen goon gangs enter their house, feral, psychotic bullies, bloodythirsty teenagers cheering the carnage and stuff like a mutual “nut grab” standoff between the two main guys. XD

On the plus, this is dumb but dumb hysterical fun, and it doesn’t take much for the dinosaur and the mad scientist to show up, even if it’s not that surprising once you know that damn T-Rex animatronic is the sole reason the movie was “conceived” to begin with, but you don’t have to wait even 30 minutes, and it does look quite damn good, a fuckton better than anyone might imagine for a movie like these. Gotta love how they wrote around having to mask that the dinosaur is a robot, because.. it IS a robot even in the narrative. A simple but brilliant touch born of pure necessity.

And yes, it still comes absolutely out of NOWHERE (and Dr. Wachenstein did the whole thing for the hell of it) , but it adds to the charm, and the script doesn’t waste too much time with drama shit, so even if you – like me – find the 90’s psycho bully to be a profoundly annoying tired, grating antagonist, it’s worth going through it, because pretty much anything involving the mad scientist and his crew is delightful hammy, the overacting is off the charts but fun, and this is a genuinely funny movie, the brain removal scene for example is plain offbeat, madcap tongue-in-cheek horror comedy, more graphical than expected, but also with better gore effects than expected as well.

I mean, how many movies have people using a removed skullcap (freshly removed, to boot) as trashbin for pizza slices? XD

This one passes with flying colors, fully deserving its cult status and the adoration, because it’s high quality trash, really something else, it’s so over the top and silly is delightful, and it’s also a funny movie on its own, this one commits to the absolutely wacko concept, and it being something cranked out less than a month just because a guy had a damn good animatronic T-Rex available for 2 weeks… makes Tammy And T-Rex fly directly into “so bad it’s good” heaven as a legend.

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