WILDERNESS FAMILY director Stewart Raffill was a child-friendly filmmaker long before it was commercially and socially fashionable. Then all Hollywood began pandering heavily to kiddie markets in the '90s. Could it have been sheer contrariety that led Raffill to devise this bizarre and
unwholesome riff on JURASSIC PARK?
Tammy (Denise Richards) is a nymphet cheerleader whose heavy petting with high school football player Michael (Paul Walker) is violently interrupted by her psycho ex-boyfriend Billy (George Pilgrim) and his punk gang. Their assault leaves Michael in an intensive care ward, where he's an unwilling
subject for crazed Dr. Wachenstein (Terry Kiser) and his scheme to mass-market immortality by wiring human brains into powerful cybernetic bodies. For no clear reason, the prototype is a full-sized robot Tyrannosaurus Rex. When Michael's mind revives in the reptilian replica, he/it rages through
town, slaughtering Billy and his cohorts. Eventually the monster communicates his predicament--through charades--to Tammy and a swishy gay schoolmate, Byron (Theo Forsett). The odd threesome retrieve Michael's discarded corpse only to find it revoltingly rotted and useless. Meanwhile Wachenstein
plans to lobotomize Michael and get his creation back to display for investors. The T-Rex doesn't like the deal and devours the doctor. Police mow the dinosaur down in a hail of gunfire, but Tammy takes home her lover's brain and keeps it happy in a liquor solution. As they wait for a suitable
body to turn up, she dances a striptease before Michael's eager video-camera eye.
"A prehysterical comedy for the whole family," went the blurb for TAMMY AND THE T-REX, but the biggest joke is on trusting parents suckered into renting the cassette. With its leering sex gags, bloody violence, rampant bad taste, and a boom microphone visible overhead in at least one sequence,
this could have been a Roger Corman flick ("Carnosaur 3," anyone?) or Troma cult wannabe (suggested title: "I Was a Teenaged Tyrannosaurus Erection"). Writer-director Raffill previously brought a scintilla of wit and manic energy to movies that didn't deserve it (MANNEQUIN 2, MAC AND ME), and
there's some spark here, particularly a sick-humored bit with Tammy and Byron sorting through a morgue in search of a new host for Michael's gray matter. But the main reason one keeps watching is sheer incredulity--this will all turn out to be dream, right? The fancy animatronic T-Rex puppet
surpasses expectations given the low budget; only in a few shots do special effects look outrageously fake. (Violence, substance abuse, sex, mild profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: WILDERNESS FAMILY director Stewart Raffill was a child-friendly filmmaker long before it was commercially and socially fashionable. Then all Hollywood began pandering heavily to kiddie markets in the '90s. Could it have been sheer contrariety that led Raff… (more)