When Roger Corman’s Carnosaur made some nice pocket change this legendary B-movie producer turned to Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray to come up with another film that could also cash in on the dinosaur buzz surrounding Steven Spielberg’s colossal hit, but instead of a Jurassic Park rip-off what Wynorski and Ray decided to make was a cavewoman movie, and who can argue with the idea about a film full of dinosaurs and boobies?
With the decision to take the route of a dinosaur picture more in the vein of 1950s The Lost Continent, a film where a small group of people were stranded on an island full of prehistoric creatures, instead of meeting genetically engineered ones ala Jurassic Park, co-directors Wynorski and Ray took a page out Playboy rather than that of Arthur Conan Doyle as this particular dinosaur adventure would be more titillating than thrilling. The main premise of Dinosaur Island deals with army captain Jason Briggs (Ross Hagen) on a flight across the Pacific with three misfit deserters, who will be facing a court-martial when they reach home, the deserters consist of John Skeemer (Ross Hagen), fitted to be this film’s wisecracking comic relief but, to be honest, it’s more a relief when he does shut up. Next is Turbo (Peter Spellos) the big and dumb one of the group and finally there is Buzz (Bob Sheridan), who is apparently the brains of the trio, though I doubt any of these guys are going up for Mensa anytime soon.
It’s clear from the outset that Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray were trying to make up for the lack of budget by throwing as many jokes at the audience as they possibly could in the hope that it would distract them from realizing how bad the dinosaurs looked, and when these creatures do make an appearance it’s with bad puppets that poorly placed via bad optical effects, but most of the jokes seem recycled from playground fights such as when Skeemer becomes offended by the cavewomen when they insult the intelligence of the male species, and he retorts, “Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us” but then the cavewomen are quick to point out that they are all well equipped with both sticks and stones. There you have it folks, the military’s finest being outwitted by a group of primitive Playboy Playmates.
When this group of military misfits is captured by the cavewomen they are immediately sentenced to work in the mines by Queen Morganna (Toni Naples), a chore these guys are probably more suited for than any position in the military, but when one of the women spots a “Smiley Face” tattoo on Skeemer’s arm, which matches the one depicted on the tribe’s sacred scroll, they are assumed to be gods that have been sent to end their famine and defeat the Great One, unfortunately, the Great One isn’t Jackie Gleason but a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a particularly nasty one who has been ravaging the cavewomen for centuries. Previously to the apparent arrival of the “gods”, a virginal sacrifice was made to the Great One to keep the T-Rex from entering their village but now with divine intervention on their side things are looking up, that is if these chuckleheads didn’t unload all their remaining ammunition into a poor hapless Triceratops.
• The movie opens with a blonde woman being sacrificed to a monster, much in the way that Fay Wray was sacrificed to King Kong, only in this movie the woman’s top is torn off so her breasts are free to jiggle. This is what one would call progress, I guess?
• Are “heroes” fire round after round into the first dinosaur they encounter but with little to no effect, yet this is just a regular dinosaur and not Godzilla so a few well-placed bullets should have put that creature down.
• Being mistaken for gods and then being exposed as frauds is a plot point lifted right out of Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King.
• We get a shot of a dinosaur howling at the Moon which is a gag lifted from the Ringo Star movie Caveman.
• Preparing the “gods” for battle apparently involves three half-naked cavewomen frolicking together in a pool followed by the “gods” getting a sponge bath. Could someone tell me where you can apply for godhood?
Note: You’d think a tribe of women who despise men would be more into each other than this group of asshats who washed ashore.
In Carnosaur a lot of the special effects failings were hidden by having almost all of the action scenes pertaining to the dinosaurs take place at night or in the dark corridors, while in this movie, pretty much all of the dino attacks take place in broad daylight where such a setting is not at all forgiving when it comes to hiding how cheap your low-budget effects look, and I’d bet my life that much of this stemmed from Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray’s desire to hang out with half-naked women, “Who cares if the dinosaurs look like crap, we’ve got boobies to ogle!” Okay, maybe I’m being a little unfair but this film is such a collection of bad sexual innuendos and scenes of softcore pornography, which are only occasionally broken up by a dinosaur attack, that you can’t help but ponder the idea that there may have been ulterior motives when pen went to paper on this project.
It’s clear that a film featuring scantily-clad cavewomen fighting dinosaurs is not to be taken seriously but an almost non-existent budget is no excuse for the terrible dialogue in this film, and any time Skeemer opens his mouth you’d wish one of these nubile cavewomen would shove a spear down his throat, that most of the cast consisted of swimsuit models and Vegas showgirls will give you an idea as to what kind of acting calibre is on display here, and that’s not to say that the men in this film are any better because they’re definitely not. With Dinosaur Island Wynorski and Ray attempted to make a throwback to the goofy dinosaur movies of the 1950s but the end result was a film with very little charm and even less entertainment value.
Dinosaur Island (1994)
Movie Rank - 4/10
In this attempt at cashing in on the success of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, we get a film that had neither the budget nor the script to make it even worthy of playing in the same multi-plex as Spielberg’s film.