Behind the Screams!
Some fun behind the scenes shots of horror and sci-fi films…
and the films in the Franchise
Steven Spielberg, in preparation for Jurassic Park, assembled his own group of scientists, paleontologists, engineers and biologists (much like John Hammond) to get an accurate picture of dinosaur life before shooting the first JP film. This provided many great resolutions of theory and conjecture to become accepted knowledge. Dinosaurs could not have dragged their tails like reptiles, dinosaurs were warm blooded and active creatures, dinosaurs moved and acted more like birds than reptiles.
However, for the sake of making a fun Hollywood film some facts were intentionally discarded and overlooked. I don’t personally have a problem with that. No one should be writing a thesis based on the films. I accept that a fictional story will have some wiggle room in order to support the fictitious adventure.
Here are some of the hard science facts:
Most of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park movies were not from the Jurassic Time Period in earth’s history. Most were from the Cretaceous era, 100 million years later.
Velociraptor – in the first film they called the one type of ‘human sized’ dinosaur a velociraptor. They were not velociraptors at all. Velociraptors are only 2- 3 ft. tall, approx. 6 ft in length, about the size of a medium sized dog. The dinosaur portrayed on-screen was a Deinonychus, as it was in the book, which is in the ‘raptor‘ family. Velociraptor just sounds cooler. In the later films they are just called raptors.
Dilophosaurus were actually a much larger creature than portrayed in the first film. There was no indication of a frill or that it spit poison. At 16 ft. long it had no need for such weaponry. It was one of the largest predators of the early Jurassic period.
My cousin is a bird – It is commonly accepted that dinosaurs eventually evolved into birds and were closer in species to birds than today’s reptiles. It is also accepted that many of the later species, especially the carnivores, probably had some feathers in some areas of the body. The films prefer to keep the dinos featherless for continuity with the first film. Also, I’ve heard a lot of war cries from armchair scientists stating, “Dinosaurs Had Feathers!” We are talking about over 200 million years of evolution when they had existed on earth. It is possible and probable that the first raptors and Rex’s didn’t have feathers but the later one’s (100 million years later) had grown them through a process called evolution.
I’m not a CG – The Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park movies are not all CGI. Most of the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park films are real-life animatronics robots, magnificent wonders themselves, created by Stan Winston’s team at his special effects studios. CG was used to enhance the movements and/or fill in pieces when the dinosaurs were fully framed. CG was also used in wide-screen shots to show herds.
Dinosaur stars in Jurassic Park (1993):
Gallimimus (seen in herds)
Dinosaur stars in Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997):
Parasaurolophus (seen in herds)
Pachycephalosaurus (seen in herds)
Gallimimus (seen in herds)
Dinosaur stars in Jurassic Park III (2001):
Corythosaurus (seen in herds)
Parasaurolophus (seen in herds)
In preparation for Jurassic World, you may want to catch up on the genre of Dinosaur films. For this list I am speaking of dinosaur worlds, not just single dinosaurs that have been awakened in modern times for the purpose of a film. Dinosaur worlds include; Islands, continents, planets, prehistoric times, underground caverns, etc. I’m also talking about real dinosaurs for the most part, animals that once roamed the earth, not fictional beasts created for sci-fi films.
5) Planet of Dinosaurs (1977)
We got some beautifully crafted dinosaurs in this film. One of the final forays into stop-motion dinosaur extravaganzas, it is a cult favorite for dinosaur fans. The script and plot ain’t so great but the bevy of fantastic creatures make it worth a viewing.
Dinosaurs: Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Rhedosaurus, Ceratopsian, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Kentrosaurus, Allosaurus, and Struthiomimus
4) The Land that Time Forgot (1978)
The dinosaurs in this film aren’t perfect but this film gets the nod for variety of species and prehistoric beasts. The dinos were scale rod-puppets which made interaction with humans minimal, the giant pterodactyl that carries off the caveman being the exception. A good story penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs lands this in the Top 5. Extra points for the awesome movie poster!
Dinosaurs: Mosasaurus, Plesiosaur, Diplodocus, Pterodactyl, two Allosaurus, two Styracosaurus, Ichthyostega, Triceratops, Ceratosaurus
3) When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
With Victoria Vetri running around in a dino hide bikini, it would be hard to take notice of the dinosaurs. However, these dinos are noticed because of their fabulous renditions in stop-motion artistry. The stop-motion dinos were the work of Jim Danforth. There’s not a lot of dinos in the film but they are top notch-Danforth’s work in this film rivals the greats, Harryhausen and O’Brien.
Dinosaurs: Plesiosaur, Chasmosaurus, Rhamphorhynchus, A carnivorous dinosaur based on the Scelidosaurus, (and it’s baby).
2) King Kong (1933)
This is the first mega dinosaur-land presented to the public at a time when most people didn’t have a clear picture of what dinosaurs looked like and were just discovering these creatures. The T. Rex is a fast moving, active beast as described by Charles R. Knight, not the slow sluggish reptiles other scientists were in favor of portraying. The film made Willis O’Brien the father of stop-motion special effects and giant monsters, influencing future directors and filmmakers, Ray Harryhausen, Ishiro Honda, Peter Jackson, Steven Speilberg, and Tim Burton, to name a few. Marcel Delgado built O’Brien’s models and was largely responsible for capturing the look O’Brien wanted for the dinos (and Kong).
Dinosaurs: Pteranodon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Styracosaurus (edited out), Elasmosaurus and although he’s not a dino, King Kong
1) One Million Years BC (1966)
Although given moderate praise through the years, this film contains some of Ray Harryhausen’s most impressive dinosaurs. I think the special effects were overshadowed by Raquel Welch and her fur bikini – (the original furkini, accept no substitutes!). But take a look at the beautiful renditions of the Triceratops and Brontosaurus and you’ll see some master craftsmanship. I’d like to mention that the models were sculpted by Arthur G. Hayward with direction from Ray and designed from Ray’s artwork.
Dinosaurs: Archelon, Brontosaurus, Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, Rhamphorhynchus
Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Once again Harryhausen applies his talents to prehistoric beasts with great success.
Despite being a Disney film with talking dinos, it has some great scenes and dino imagery.
Because this post is about Dinosaurs, I’m going to refrain from posting yet another pic of Raquel in her fur bikini. But if you really want to see one look here!
This is the movie where the Tyrannosaurus looks like a Giant Parrot!
Directed by Matt Drummond
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 dialogue 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.
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.
I bought this kit ‘new’ and complete in the box. It was originally released in the early 1970’s in the second wave of Aurora Prehistoric Scenes kits. It was never re-released so any that you may see on the market would be original Aurora product. This one cost me a bit more than others because of its new (unused) condition.
The only problem in building, which I remember from when I was a kid, was getting the body top (back) in place. It never seemed to fit exactly right. This prompted me to use super glue to build the kit so that piece would dry in a minute and not ‘pop’ off or move to a crooked position while drying overnight.
I always liked this kit because it was the same giant bird as in the Schneer/Harryhausen feature, Mysterious Island (1961). I built it as instructed with no modifications.
Be sure to check out all my other Aurora Prehistoric Scenes build-ups:
with custom base
This kit was re-issued by both Monogram and Revell and is still widely available to those who look for it. It originally hit the market in the 1970’s. It had it’s own base for one year, then, for unknown reasons, Aurora dispensed with the base and sold the Dino, only.
The kit I purchased is an original Aurora Prehistoric Scenes kit (without base) in a ‘used lot’ collection. It was missing a hand and the outer half of it’s left arm.
I sculpted a new hand and arm piece.
I never liked the kit’s original green color, so I primed it gray and decided to go with a brown color with snake-like designs along it’s back.
Flowing from the mouth is slather which attempted to make the beast look like it was salivating over a kill. I debated cutting it off and just having a tongue. I think most kit builders agree, it wasn’t very authentic looking, but I decided to leave it to represent the original kit.
In Jurassic Park, I believe the effects crew set up this shot as a homage to the kit. Instead of slather, the T. Rex had bits of the rubber from the car’s tire hanging from his mouth.
Once the kit was complete, I decided to make a base from scratch. I started with a Styrofoam board and cut out a random shape. I edged it with rocky molding and outcrops to mimic the Aurora bases.
I molded grass and plant designs similar to those on the cave-man kits. I could have used more realistic Scene-it products but I wanted to keep some aspects of the Aurora look. I did use Scene-it trees and some branches.
I liked the idea of the Allosaurus crashing through the trees, onto the scene.
Produced by Jack K. Harris (The Blob, 4D Man, Equinox), this 1960 B- movie is more likely fun for kids but adults might enjoy the campy humor, especially associated with the caveman (Gregg Martell). Construction crews building a port on a Caribbean Island accidentally dredge up two long buried dinosaurs from the ocean floor. They have been preserved by the cold deep waters. The Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus are pulled onto the beach and the foreman, Bart, calls a scientist to come investigate their find. Little do they know, but they have also beached a Neanderthal Man tangled in the seaweed. Overnight there is a violent thunder storm and the dinosaurs are struck by lightning, bringing them back to life (ala ‘Frankenstein’ science). An orphan boy, Julio, befriends the Brontosaurus, knowing he is a herbivore. The T. Rex is soon on the hunt putting Julio in jeopardy but Julio is saved by the caveman. The caveman falls in love with Betty. Later in the film Julio, Bart and Betty, are stuck in a cave as the T. Rex tries to gain entry. As the walls collapse, the caveman saves Julio again, along with Bart and Betty. The climax of the film has the foreman fighting the T. Rex in a steam shovel from the construction site. Filmed partly on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, the film is campy entertainment for all ages.
B-movie fans will also be entertained by the trivia and correlations to other films:
Marcel Delgado (maker of King Kong) had only 2 weeks to design the dinosaur models used for the film.
During filming, the special effects crew also filmed a sequence for The Twilight Zone using the miniature set and the Brontosaurus. The footage can be seen in the TZ episode “The Odyssey of Flight 33.”
The steam shovel vs. T.Rex climax is reminiscent to Ripley fighting the Alien in the ‘pay-loader machine’ in the film Alien. It is also clearly ‘hijacked’ for the scene at the end of Carnosaur (1993).
In one scene, a bus full of tourists is confronted by the T. Rex who bends down low and peers into the bus windows at the screaming people. (see photo above) He then bangs the bus with the side of his head and eventually crushes the bus. The similarities between this scene and the scene in 1993’s Jurassic Park with the ‘tour jeeps’ are more than a coincidence and thought to be Spielberg’s homage to the earlier film.
By now most of you know, there was no actual Brontosaurus that ever walked the earth. The Brontosaurus was a mistake of having the wrong head on the body of an Apatosaurus. Through the 1980’s, most museums began removing the ‘Brontosaurus’ heads from their skeleton displays and replacing them with the proper, smaller heads. And naturally, millions of years passed between the time that Dinosaurs lived and Cavemen arrived on earth.