TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: TAMMY AND THE T-REX (1994)

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TAMMY AND THE T-REX (1994): THE UNCUT VERSION

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Tammy and the T-Rex is a ludicrous 1994 comedy that had some very explicit gore cut from it to earn a PG-13 rating for it’s initial release. Now 25 years later, those gore scenes have been restored and it’s up to the viewer as to whether that was a good idea or not.

Ridiculous story finds high school cheerleader Tammy (Denise Richards) falling for a new boyfriend, football player Michael (Paul Walker). Tammy’s delinquent ex, Billy (George Pilgrim) doesn’t take too kindly to her new beau and, in a plot worthy of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil, kidnaps him and drops him off at a wild animal preserve. Savaged by a lion, Michael finds himself in the hospital and in critical condition. Opportunistic mad scientist Dr. Wachenstein (Terry Kizer) has the youth declared dead and puts Michael’s brian in an animatronic T-Rex as part of his experiments to create the perfect robot. The T-Rex/Michael escapes captivity and takes bloody revenge on Billy and his gang before trying to resume his relationship with Tammy. Obviously, thinking there is a monster on the loose, the inept town law enforcement closes in forcing Tammy and the T-Rex to go on the lam. Yes, this is an actual movie!

This cheesy, goofy and gory flick is directed by Stewart Raffill from a nonsensical script by he and Gary Brockette. The tone of the film, especially with the gore restored, is wildly uneven with slapstick comedy one minute and slasher style violence the next. The love story angle of it is even more absurd, with scenes of Tammy gleefully riding her boyfriend/T-Rex with the cops in hot pursuit. One wonders if the removal of the gore wasn’t actually a good idea, as in this case, at least the film would have been more consistent as a straight-up comedy. The cast are all over-acting and the over-the-top performances fit in with the premise far more than the viscera and limbs. The animatronic T-Rex is impressive, though the FX in some long shots of it walking are pathetically poor. Thankfully those shots are few and far between. Still, there is something very entertaining about it, though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what. Maybe it’s the filmmakers just taking the ball and running with it that makes it appealing, or, perhaps, it’s presenting this tale of love and robot dinosaurs proudly without restraint that makes it amusing. More than likely it’s simply because it hits the right notes at being an enjoyable ‘so bad it’s good’ oddity and that’s what gives us the giggles.

Whatever the reasons one can sit through this with a smile of disbelieve and amusement on their face, this is a ridiculous movie that has the audacity to parade it’s nonsensical story out there proudly. There is goofball comedy one minute and hardcore gore the next, as a mechanical T-rex with a human brian tries to find love and revenge in a small suburban California town. It’s an original premise, you have to give it that! Tammy and the T-Rex is current available uncut on blu-ray from the great folks at Vinegar Syndrome… https://vinegarsyndrome.com/collections/vinegar-syndrome/products/tammy-and-the-t-rex

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) T-Rexs for it’s sheer audacity and unrestrained goofiness.

 

 

 

 

 

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: BODY BAGS (1993)

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BODY BAGS (1993)

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Body Bags is a made for TV anthology the was produced, partially directed, and hosted by the great John Carpenter for Showtime in 1993. It’s an anthology of three unrelated stories linked by a morgue set framing segment with a creepy attendant (John Carpenter) relating the stories behind his latest corpses.

The first story is directed by Carpenter and is the best. The Gas Station is set in Haddonefield and finds a pretty night shift gas station attendant (Alex Datcher) on her first night of duty with a serial killer on the loose. It’s a spooky and suspenseful segment with Robert Carradine and David Naughton also starring and fun cameo appearances by the likes of Wes Craven and Sam Raimi along with Carpenter regulars┬áBuck Flower and Peter Jason.

Second story is also directed by Carpenter and is sadly the weakest. The satirical Hair tells the story of vain middle aged Richard (Stacy Keach), who is frantic over his thinning hair. His sexy girlfriend Megan (Sheena Easton) doesn’t mind, but Richard is desperate. He turns to a TV pitchman, Dr. Lock (David Warner) who claims he can regrow lost hair with a revolutionary new process. Richard goes for it, but to his horror finds out you must be careful what you wish for, as his new hair seems to have a life of it’s own. Segment is well done, but more humorous and silly than scary. The segment also stars legendary singer Deborah Harry as a sexy nurse.

Third and final segment rebounds a bit with Tobe Hooper’s Eye. This segment finds minor league baseball player and expectant father Brent (Mark Hamill) loosing one of his eyes in a car accident. His career potentially over, he turns to a Dr. Lang (John Agar) who claims he has a new eye transplanting procedure that he’d like to try on Brent. His sight is restored, but while on recovery he starts to have strange visions and his behavior begins to change. Soon he finds out that his eye belonged to a serial killer and that killer might still somehow be possessing his eyes new owner. It has some very effective moments, a good performance by Hamill and some decent gore. Segment also stars singer/actress Twiggy as Brent’s wife and the legendary Roger Corman as Brent’s original doctor.

The three stories and wraparound were written by Billy Brown and Dan Angel and they could have used a bit more inventiveness, especially with the story similarities within the last two tales. Nonetheless they are all entertaining and with such guidance as Hooper and Carpenter, make for an entertaining enough 90 minutes. Carpenter seems to be having a blast playing the morgue attendant and his first segment shows he still has that magic. Originally this was intended to be a series, but for whatever reasons, it never happened beyond this initial flick.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 body bags.

 

 

 

 

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