Tirano’s Claw (1994) – movie review

Rare and Obscure Dinosaur films

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Tirano’s Claw (1994)
aka: Dinosaurs vs Cavemen

Tirano’s Claw is a South Korean film about caveman life with no dialogue, much like One Million BC. When one caveman’s love interest is about to be sacrificed to the tribes God, a huge tiranos claw 1994 - posterTyrannosaurus, he risks his life to save her, getting them both banished from the tribe. They battle a Pachycephalosaurus, a giant man-eating rat, and their fellow tribesmen as they fight for survival. There’s some nasty and grotesque scenes depicting the savagery of prehistoric life. The worst part is watching them eat. Despite its sometimes sub-par special FX it’s somewhat engaging as you root for the young couple to escape the clans relentless, and often silly/comical pursuit to bring them back to the sacrifice stone.

As far as dinosaurs are concerned, there’s a very rubber looking, man in a suit Pachycephalosaurus (slightly more realistic than Barney the purple dinosaur), a man-in-suit Pteronodon and a large animatronic Triceratops. However, the star of the show is a full-sized Tyrannosaurus, mechanical/animatronic dinosaur. I can imagine that this ungainly monstrous contraption most likely killed or maimed some of the stuntman making the film. Tirano’s Claw might only be enjoyable for Dinosaur completists, but I found it entertaining. For a long time it was very difficult to get your hands on a copy, but now you can watch the whole film on YouTube. see link(s) below.

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fXQ8hiVebsw


Dinosaur Film Reviews on Parlor of Horror – overview

Valley of the Dragons (1961) – movie review

Rare and Obscure Dinosaur films
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Valley of the Dragons (1961)Creature Features logo

 –
directed by Edward Bernds 

Starring:
Cesare Danova
Sean McClory
Joan Staley
Danielle De Metz
valley of the dragons 1961 dvd

Here we have a dinosaur film that did not shoot one frame of dinosaur footage for its own production. Every scene of dinosaur and prehistoric beast was reused footage from films that have come before, most notably, One Million BC (1940). The production got fairly creative with this, going as far as filming the characters (new footage) in the foreground over the reused footage in the background. They even use b&w footage of Rodan to stand in as a pterodactyl. The premise of the film is far-fetched. Two men about to have a gun duel are swept up by a comet colliding with earth. They find the comet has earth’s prehistoric life still living as it had been a million years ago. The men are attacked by a parade of lizards and reptiles posing as dinosaurs including, a skink, a gator, an iguana, a monitor lizard, and a snake. There’s even some armadillo mixed in with some fake mastodons and a mongoose. Well, the two men get separated and each makes friends with a separate tribe of humans. In the end they get the warring tribes to get along, shake hands themselves and make a new life with their respective new cave-girl love interests. One of the big draws to the film, especially for young men, was the underwater swimming scene with star, Joan Staley. This film is not at all important in the history or legacy of dinosaur films. However it is enjoyable in a train wreck, sort of hokey-silly-pseudo-science, way. I just wouldn’t go out of my way to find it.


 

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valley of the dragons - joan staley gif

a big draw for the film in 1961 was this scene…huba, huba!


Dinosaur Film Reviews on Parlor of Horror – Overview

Horror Movie Poster art – Postcard Collection- Part II

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Horror Movie Poster art – Postcard Collection- Part II

From my personal collection – post card sized replications of all the famous classic films I love
The middle era horror films, 1960’s to 1980s, plus some non-horror flicks:

 

1960’s horror, sci fi and other!

1970’s and 1980s horror and sci-fi

My Clint Eastwood poster repros:

movie poster art - collection - 60s - 80s 2

 

The People That Time Forgot (1977) – movie review

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The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Amicus Films
Directed by Kevin Conner

Starring:
Patrick Wayne
Doug McClure
Sarah Douglas
Dana Gillespie
Thorley Walters
Shane Rimmer

This is the sequel to The Land that Time Forgot. Overall it is a step down from its predecessor but there’s some exciting dino-interaction scenes, especially early on. The script, plot, and story is sub-par even for a dinosaur/action adventure film. It was directed by Kevin Conner as were all the E.R. Burroughs Films done by Amicus (and AIP).

Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) sets out on a mission to rescue Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) from the mysterious land of Caprona, where he was the people that time forgot dvdabandoned in the first film. Their plane is downed by a pterodactyl and the gunman/ mechanic is tasked with fixing the plane while the rest of the rescue team searches for Tyler. They meet a cave woman who had learned English from Tyler and she leads them to a race of more advanced warriors who are holding Tyler captive. Naturally the team sets Tyler free, a volcano erupts (because that’s how all dinosaur films end) and the team escapes. There is some fun sparing between the male team members and a female photographer, Charly (Sarah Douglass) early in the film. The cave woman, Ajor, (Dana Gillespie) provides some eye candy, with a bursting bust-line and big hair.

The main scene that makes the film worth watching is the pterodactyl fighting the plane. It is much like a dog-fight in war films and makes for an outstanding action sequence. It goes on for a bit of time and is wonderfully choreographed. The film goes downhill after that, but it’s occasionally bolstered by a funky looking Stegosaurus, some cave monsters, and some sword and sorcery type hand to hand combat. There were a couple of Ceratosaurus, but truthfully I made better looking dinosaurs as a kid from playing with my mashed potatoes at dinner. A few of the creatures in the skull caves looked like repainted monsters leftover from At the Earths Core. The film doesn’t give much credit for the dino effects, but I’m quite sure they didn’t use Roger Dicken who crafted some impressive looking puppets in the first film. Ironically Tyler dies after they rescue him which kind of makes the whole film feel redundant. Amicus Films actually closed before the film came out, but AIP, the distributor, went ahead with the release.

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Fun Facts:

Dana Gillespie was primarily a singer whose teen single was produced by Jimmy Page, did folk music thru the 1970s, sang back up vocals on David Bowie’s, Ziggy Stardust album, and starred in the London Palace Theater’s Production of Jesus Christ Super Star. She finally settled into the blues genre and has over 25 albums to her name including her most recent, Cat’s Meow in 2014. Every year she runs a Blues Festival in the Caribbean that attracts name musicians from all over the world.

The Land That Time Forgot review
See more Amicus Films reviews at the Amicus Films Overview page
See more dinosaur films at the Dinosaur films Overview page

Crater Lake Monster (1977) – Movie review

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Crater Lake Monster (1977)

If it weren’t for my love of stop-motion animation, this film would be too difficult for me to watch. There is tons of goopy dialogue that offer exposition we don’t need and character development of people with no character. It takes nearly a half hour before this Monster sneaks up on an unsuspecting camper. This thing is 30ft long and several tons, don’t know how this thing would sneak up on anyone. Bad hair cuts (or lack of them) and 70s porn star Crater Lake Monster 1977 - postermustaches abound. We’re forced to follow the antics of two stooges who are not funny, (maybe if I was 6), and a Sheriff who is supposedly the smart one…supposedly.

The Monster is a Plesiosaur let loose from its underwater cave during a small earthquake. It eats a cow, it eats a chicken, it eats a camper and a guy that goes fishin’ – but nobody notices these people gone missing. The stop motion is outstandingly smooth and the plesiosaur model has great character (at least one character in this film does). The close up shots are terrible and consist of a large, stiff, fiberglass head that has no life in it. The soundtrack music consists of 70’s light fm and elevator music. Then, when the monster shows up it turns to 1950’s style sci-fi music used plenty of times in The Beast, the Deadly Mantis, and the Giant Behemoth.

 

David Allen:
If you like stop motion animation you have about ten minutes of great monster footage in this flick. The animation was done by David Allen. Allen was an active animator in film starting in his early career on the series, Davey and Goliath and the Gumby Show. He went on to animate sequences in Equinox and Flesh Gordon in the 70s. His work can be seen in Q, the Winged Serpent, Puppet Master, Caveman, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Batteries Not Included. In the circles of effects people he is most praised for his animation of Kong in the VW commercial in 1972. Perhaps his most known work was animating The Pillsbury Dough Boy.

If you like the art of stop motion animation you will find some nice work in this film. For the rest of you, leave this in the crater it had crawled from.

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Fun Facts:
Stop Motion Animation is not necessarily claymation. In fact most films do not use clay for their stop motion effects. They use sophisticated puppets with metal skeletons inside called an armature, that enabled the animator to move it in small increments. The skeleton is covered with foam, rubber and latex, sculpted to simulate dinosaur skin and sometimes covered in fur (King Kong, Mighty Joe Young).

One Million BC (1940) – movie review

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One Million BC (1940)

Directed by Hal Roach, Hal Roach Jr.

Stars: Victor Mature, Lon Chaney Jr., Carole Landis

Hal Roach is a company you wouldn’t have expected to produce a serious film on prehistoric life. Yet that is exactly what is presented here. We follow the story of Tumak and his struggle to get out of the shadow of his father and tribe leader. Early in the film he battles his father over food and is forcibly kicked out of the clan. Wounded, he floats down river and is saved by a clan of people that are less savage and have a different sense of community. The cave woman Luana takes a liking to Tumak and nurses him back to health. He observes their ways of sharing, even letting the children eat first rather One Million BC 1940- poster 3than fighting over scraps as his tribe was accustomed to doing. They work as a community for the benefit of all and even provide for the elders who can no longer hunt and gather. It is a real community rather than a winner-takes-all social hierarchy.

There’s one silly looking Allosaurus to which thankfully they never show a clear view. After that display, the parade of lizards posing as dinosaurs is a welcome sight. This film has the famous scene where the dwarf gator fights the monitor lizard which has been used in half a dozen other future films. Eventually Tumak returns to his tribe with Luana to teach them his new ways. The tribe learns quickly. Unfortunately there’s a nearby volcano that erupts destroying Tumak’s homeland. Luana seeks shelter in a cave with many of the children and they are trapped in the cave by a giant iguana. This iguana-saur ain’t budging. It barks like a dog, growls like a lion and hisses like a snake with a toothache. The two tribes work together to free Luana, the women and children trapped in the cave. And they all live happily ever after.

This is the first film in a line of films that presents the life of prehistoric man without any recognizable dialogue. It’s followed by the loosely based remake, One Million Years BC (Hammer Films), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (Hammer Films), Clan of the Cave Bear, 10,000 BC, and even Cave Man (1981). Roach originally hired GW Griffith for the production because of his experience with large scale special effects, but they parted ways after differences in opinions. Despite the departure, the film won two academy awards, best special effects and best music score. There are some noteworthy effects in the film including the volcano lava that just misses swallowing a child and the giant Iguana sequence trapping the women and children in the cave. It’s plot is fairly basic and it’s dinosaurs are limited in appeal but it is notable as a film of its genre for imagining the life of the Cro-Magnon man, however scientifically inaccurate some aspects may be portrayed.

Publicity shots and behind the scenes shots:

Dinosaur Island (2014) – movie review

Dinosaur Island 2014 - pterosaurs

Dinosaur Island (2014)

This is the movie where the Tyrannosaurus looks like a Giant Parrot!

Directed by Matt Drummond

Staring:
Darius Williams
Kate Rasmussen
Joe Bistaveous

This is an Australian release involving a boy who’s plane goes through an electric storm that opens up a portal to a world of lost things. There’s planes, boats, and vehicles of all sizes, killer plants and giant centipedes, and of course, dinosaurs. Once there, he meets a young lady (age 15) from the 1950s and together they survive and even find a way out. To give the film some credit, the dinos are brightly colored and creatively rendered. They use all the latest information from dinosaur discoveries and theories to portray a more modern picture of dinosaur life. The coloration seems to take cues from the Amazon jungles where there are many bright colored animal species.

The film tries to pull a page from the book of Disney and be fun for kids of all ages, but fails to pull it off. The film’s actors are stiff and unsympathetic. I don’t wholly blame the kids here because the script often dumps blocks of information through the Dinosaur Island 2014 - posterdialogue like text book chapters, just to clarify the story’s progress. The jokes fall flat and the plot is fairly monotone never building to a climax.

I do like the dromaeosaurus and the new-fangled iguanodon. Also the pterosaurs look good and fly gracefully. The raptors look good despite having feathers. The biggest drawback is the T. Rex. Latest fossils have shown skin textures in some of the later Cretaceous Rexes to have chicken-skin bumps mostly associated with feathers. However, they are only in certain areas of the body and thought to be present only on juveniles. In this film we have a full grown T. Rex, fully feathered and brightly colored, looking like some deranged nightmare parrot. I was neither impressed nor menaced by this gaudy creature.

Initially I had been excited about this film and impressed with some of the dinos in the trailer. The CG was very well done and incorporated into the live footage seamlessly. However, the film seems to be pandering to an American audience, mimicking a summer blockbuster and is all the more dull because of it. I would say it is better than most of the shot-on-digital-video, SyFy-style dino flicks. The CG in this is much better than in those flicks. I’m a huge fan of dinosaur movies and try to see them all. Except for a few dino action scenes, DI 2014 is lackluster. I enjoy most dinosaur movies (even the bad ones), but I just can’t recommend this one to anyone but the completist dinosaur movie fan. I think I would have enjoyed it more as a half hour documentary depicting the feathered dinosaur for debate.

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Some cool dinosaur coloration and ideas but overall a lackluster dino film.
I can only give it a 2.0 out of 5 on the feathered dino freak scale.