Several weeks before Jurassic Park premiered, in 1993, Carnosaur hit video stores and a limited theater release. Loosely based on the novel of the same title by John Brosnan (a.k.a. Harry Adam Knight), the film stars Diane Ladd as Dr. Jane Tiptree, a Mad Scientist who has been fiddling around with the DNA of chickens, thus causing them to lay dinosaur eggs. When one of the egg hatches into a
cheap hand puppet deinonychus, it escapes and starts tearing up the local countryside. The attacks lead local security guard Doc (Raphael Sbarge) and hippie Thrush (Jennifer Runyon) to Jane's hideout, where they find out she is planning to wipe out humanity by unleashing a virus that will make all women in the world become fatally pregnant with dinosaurs, whereupon they will take over the earth.
Gene Siskel gave the film the thumbs up. Make of that what you will.
Carnosaur 2, released in 1995, takes place a little after the events in the first movie. A special team is sent to investigate an underground laboratory that has apparently shut down. When they arrive, they discover that the crew has been reduced to nothing but bloody limbs; obviously eaten. Then after finding a young boy who survived the carnage, they begin getting taken out one by one by the remaining Carnosaurs that were being held down there. The dinosaur effects in this one are improved since the first one, but it is nowhere near as interesting. The end Carnosaur Vs. Bulldozer scene is basically a rehash of the Carnosaur Vs. Forklift scene from the first movie. Not the best but decent. By the way, plotwise, it's a shameless rip-off, erm, that is, somewhat inspired by the second Alien movie. Watch the two back-to-back and you'll understand.
Carnosaur 3: Primal Species, released in 1996, has a team of terrorists hijack a top-secret military convoy, thinking they have captured weapons-grade plutonium. Instead, the convoy was carrying dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs attack and kill the squad of terrorists. A military recovery team learns the convoy is stopped in a warehouse on the local waterfront, and immediately goes out to retrieve it. The dinosaurs attack the squad, leaving only three soldiers. Back at their headquaters, their captain refuses to go back unless they kill the dinos, but the scientist in charge of the operation orders them to merely capture the dinos. Heading back out to the warehouse, the team gets additional help with a Marine Task Force. Together, they still can't control the dinosaurs. They finally find a way to get them under control: luring them out to a ship, sailing them out to sea and blowing the ship up.
Composed largely out of stock footage from the previous three films, Raptor, released in 2001, features Sheriff Jim Tanner and his assistant Barbara trace a series of unexplained vicious animal attacks striking his community back to a Dr. Hyde, a former military researcher whose government funding for a dinosaur cloning project was cut. When the Pentagon discovers Hyde obtained foreign backing to continue his experiments, they send in a strike team to save Tanner and Barbara and stop Hyde.
In 2007, the series received a new installment, The Eden Formula (Tyrannosaur Wrecks in Australia), also a Syfy Channel Original Movie. Jeff Fahey stars as Dr. Harrison Parker, a scientist who invented the titular formula, which is capable of resurrecting any corpses it comes into contact with. The Calgorin Industries tests the formula by reviving a T-rex, much to the chagrin of Parker. Then, James Radcliffe (Tony Todd) and his henchmen raids Calgorin trying to get their hands on the formula and accidentally releases the now revived T-rex, which escapes and runs amok at the (empty) streets of Los Angeles. Parker, joined by Calgorin's exec, Rhonda Shapton (Dee Wallace) attempts to stop the dinosaur while escaping from Radcliffe's men. The movie is perhaps notable for featuring a leaping T-rex.
Curiously, despite being meant for Syfy, the film has yet to debut on the channel, at least in the US.
These films provide examples of:
- Actionized Sequel: Carnosaur 3.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: One of the few scenes lifted from the novel into the first film was the Deinonychus attacking two teenagers inside a car. In the book, it makes sense as it happens at night and involves a man-sized, fully grown dinosaur. In the film it's in broad daylight with a juvenile who's barely bigger than a schnauzer, making the teen look like idiots for just standing there as what looks like a demented Kermit T. Frog rips into them.
- Adaptation Species Change: The Tarbosaurus from the book is now a Tyrannosaurus rex.
- Agony of the Feet: One of Thrush's hippie friends who's chained herself to some machinery and apparently Does Not Like Shoes starts kicking away frantically when the Deinonychus approaches her. Guess which of her body parts get chewed on first.
- An Arm and a Leg: At least one character per movie in the first three has either an arm or a leg brutally torn off before dying. It gets taken Up to Eleven in the fourth film due to Stock Footage.
- Artistic License Military: The American military uniforms in Carnosaur 3 are absolutely nowhere near accurate. Perhaps the most egregious example is the convoy soldiers at the beginning of the movie, with the T-shirts, M1 helmets, etc.
- Artistic License Paleontology: Featuring an upright T.rex with a weirdly skinny tail, alongside "velociraptors" and deinonychus who are really closer to Lizard Folk than anything found in the fossil record.
- B-Movie: Par for the course from Roger Corman.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted in the first movie- the sheriff is the last character to die before Doc and Thrush. Played straight(er) in 2 and 3 where the black characters aren't the first to die but don't exactly make it past the first act either.
- Bloodless Carnage: In the ambush scene in Carnosaur 3, no one bleeds at all. A rather interesting example, since the rest of the film is soaked with blood.
- Chest Burster: Women impregnated with dinosaurs are killed because the dino babies, rather than wait to be born, try to tear their way out through the abdomen as if it were an egg.
- Cliffhanger: The third movie's ending reveals that not all of the dinosaurs were on the ship; the sole surviving terrorist gets killed by a raptor.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The raptor that kills Rawlins in Carnosaur 2 must have been taking notes from Dr. Grant's lecture on its species' killing methods. Particularly the part about its victims still being alive when it starts to eat them.
- Clueless Aesop: The first movie tries to preach a Green Aesop about the dangers of man destroying nature with machines and that nature belongs to the animals but it is undermined by being a movie about killer dinosaurs and Dr. Tiptree's solution of eradicating the human race through artificial means.
- Composite Character: Jane Tiptree is a loose composite of Darren and Jane Penward from the book, sharing the latter's first name and the former's desire to destroy humanity and repopulate the world with dinosaurs.
- Danger Takes A Back Seat: In Carnosaur 2, by means of Offscreen Teleportation, no less.
- Disney Villain Death: The T. rex in 2 dies when it falls down on an elevator shaft.
- The T. Rex in Raptor dies the same way, via Stock Footage
- Downer Ending: The first film ends with Doc and Thrush getting shot and burned, because the Government Conspiracy had decided that wiping out women via Tiptree's virus and replacing them with Uterine Replicators was superior to just curing the disease.
- Dumb Dinos: Played straight, unlike the book - the dinosaurs are dumb, murderous monsters.
- Every Helicopter Is a Huey
- Film of the Book: The first film.
- Forklift Fu: The first film.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Of the Gaia's avenger variety.
- Gendercide: Jane's plan involves having all women die so that men cannot mate and humans go extinct.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Jane Tiptree is infected with her own "Death by Childbirth to dinosaur" virus and killed when her "child", the most physically developed infant dinosaur seen in the film, tears its way out of her guts.
- Irony: Out of the three dinosaurs used in the film, none are carnosaurs, at least by the modern definition. The book is slightly better in this regard, in that it has one (Altispinax).
- Kick the Dog: Before being killed, the raptor in the first film kills and eats an adorable dog that was in a pet shop window; though the killing takes place off-screen, we still see the gory aftermath.
- Kill 'Em All: The first film. None of the characters who matter anything to the plot survive.
- Large Ham: Radcliffe in The Eden Formula. Tony Todd was clearly having fun with his role.
- Laser Hallway: Not so much a hallway as a laser grid cage used to contain the T-rex in the first film. A guy that Jane feeds to it also loses some fingers to it before Jane turns them off.
- Lighter and Softer: Every subsequent sequel after the first film, which was fairly dark. That said, the second movie in particular isn't a cake walk. A female member of the team has her arm torn off and is brutally eviscerated on-screen.
- Hellish Copter: The crashing helicopter in Carnosaur 2.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Heavily averted in the first three films, two of which have absolutely no female survivors. In fact, it's flat out inverted in the first film, with the main human antagonist wanting to wipe out the human female population. Number four gets it as well but this is thanks to Stock Footage from those first three films.
- Misanthrope Supreme: Jane, who hates humanity so much she wants to engineer a virus that will simultaneously wipe out humanity and repopulate the earth with dinosaurs
- The Mockbuster: One of the earliest deliberate examples. The first film and the fourth coincided with the release of the first and third Jurassic Park films while the third film was released not much earlier (roughly two months) before The Lost World: Jurassic Park hit theaters.
- Near-Villain Victory: The antidote for the quickly spreading virus was destroyed in the first film's Downer Ending, so it would seem Jane's plan was a success.... but the fact that there was a sequel meant it was averted somehow.
- Police Are Useless: The police are no match to the T-rex in Carnosaur 3 and The Eden Formula.
- Subverted in the first one. A policeman is able to kill the Deinonychus, albeit at the cost of his life. This accomplishment is made a moot point by the aforementioned downer ending
- Product Placement: The first film features inexplicable Product Placement for Coca-Cola.
- Raptor Attack: The raptors in these films aren't remotely realistic.
- Recycled In Space/Whole Plot Reference: Carnosaur 2 is Aliens WITH DINOSAURS! And it's blatant enough to almost cross the line into direct rip-off (researchers killed by hostile lifeforms with only one kid survivor? Check. Backup is called in to investigate and nearly get killed on their first trip into the facility? check. Their pilot is disabled by hostile lifeform just as they are about to takeoff? check. Survivors hole up in the command center and set traps to keep lifeforms out? check. Facility will blow up soon? check! Lifeforms attack the command center and Heroes escape through the air vents, where two of their own are left behind to suicide bomb the lifeforms?? One member of the group is left behind and the hero has to go back into the facility to get them? Final showdown between the hero and a giant hostile, using construction equipment? Check check check!!!!)
- Semper Fi: Averted terribly. The marine task force from Carnosaur 3 got killed off along with the remainder of the spec ops team save Rance.
- Sliding Scale Of Adaptation Faithfulness: a clear level 1. The only way this could have less to do with the book is if it wasn't about dinosaurs at all.
- Stock Dinosaurs: The first film features a deinonychus (essentially a velociraptor) and a T-rex. All of the later films renamed the deinonychus into "velociraptors" and The Eden Formula only has a T-rex.
- Stock Footage: Used throughout the first two sequels and The Eden Formula. Raptor is almost completely made up of it, making it a borderline Clip Show.
- Stupid Evil: For no particular reason that can be discerned, in the first film, a Government Conspiracy backed by the military industrial complex decides it would be preferable to encourage Tiptree's virus to spread and wipe out women, envisioning a male-dominated future and police state enforced by strict violence and propagated by artificial wombs, creating a new world order under their control.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Subverted in Carnosaur 2, where Rawlins outlives the more feminine Galloway only to get horribly mauled to death near the end of the movie. Played straight in Carnosaur 3, with soldiers Coolidge and Proudfoot getting killed while scientist Hodges becomes the first woman to survive a Carnosaur movie.
- Western Terrorists: The terrorists in the third film, also Radcliffe and his men in The Eden Formula.
- Jane Tiptree arguable counts, although her means are a tad more batshit.