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Film / Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds

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A series of major earthquake shatter the world. A new ice age seems to be beginning. The world is approaching its final crisis...Around Mount Fuji in Japan, summer spins rapidly into sudden autumn. The mountain peak is capped with snow—-remarkably early. Things happening in the five lakes which had formed around Fuji during its last eruption, eleven centuries ago. There are strange developments in the huge impenetrable forest of Aoki-gahara, enjoined to the lakes by the vast lava field. Bats gather during daylight hours. Centipedes increase in numbers. The temperature of the Lake Sai waters is suddenly extraordinarily high. Eels appear in people's beds. A couple out on the lake in a pedal boat simply disappear; one body only is recovered—-the face stricken with abject terror. On a lonely, dark road, a horse runs crazily past a girl on a bicycle. Then, in the blackness ahead, she hears a thud. The girl find the animal dead—-decapitated. And the grassy area around the odious sight is trampled flat. In a nearby village, an old crone recounts ancient legends about the dragons of yore...Only one young geologist seems to appreciate what is happening. The recent shuddering changes in the earth's crust about the Fuji volcanic zone match—-exactly—-the prediction of his long-dead biologist father. That such cataclysmic conditions would unearth, reawaken the dinosaurs in and around Lake Sai...and bring about hell on earth!—- Tony Crawley, House of Hammer, April 1978


A geologist snoops around a remote area where, it is said, dinosaurs once roamed. There have been reports of late that the huge lizards are still alive. Wonder of wonders, they are.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

This story provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Geology: At one point a scientist character says "If a dinosaur does appear, we'll also have magnitude 5 earthquakes." Yes, you heard that right, a dinosaur appearing will cause massive earthquakes.
  • Behemoth Battle: The Plesiosaurus and the Rhamphorhynchus get into one at the film's climax.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: A scientist tells the protagonist that if two dinosaurs appear, chances are that Mount Fuji will eventually erupt. This is exactly what happens during their fight at the climax.
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  • Eye Scream: The Rhamphorhynchus stabs out one of the Plesiosaurus's eyes with its beak.
  • Human Popsicle: The eggs of the Plesiosaurus and Rhamphorhynchus were both frozen in an ice cave before they thaw and hatch.
  • Kaiju: Both reptiles are scaled up from their real-life counterparts, especially the "monster bird." The real Rhamphorhynchus only had a wingspan of up to 6 feet.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Neither the Plesiosaurus nor the Rhamphorhynchus are (technically speaking) dinosaurs, let alone birds. Also there is only one Rhamphorhynchus in the movie.
  • Pinball Protagonist: The human characters wander around looking for "dinosaurs," find them by accident, and the the dinosaurs are killed by other dinosaurs or a natural disaster without any contribution from the humans. The story would have ended the same, except for a lower body count, if they'd just evacuated the area after the first attacks and come back a week later.
  • Prehistoric Monster: The Plesiosaurus and Rhamphorynchus are pretty much mindlessly aggressive.
  • Ptero Soarer: The real Rhamphorhynchus wasn't nearly as gigantic as the one in the movie.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: This film is pretty much what if Jaws was made in Japan and had a giant Plesiosaurus instead of a shark and a very funky soundtrack.
  • Ominous Fog
  • Signs of the End Times: While subtle, the explanation for the reemergence of the prehistoric creatures is apparently caused by this. Earthquakes and heat waves and all of nature being out of wack. It is apparently either the end of an age, or the end of the world.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance The movie's score is almost entirely disco, and what isn't is equally dissonant lounge music or pop songs. Watching people getting devoured horribly by prehistoric monsters has never sounded this funky.
  • Tail Slap: Both the Plesiosaurus and the Rhamphporynchus keep their pimp tails strong, the former when it first reveals itself by whacking a man out of a boat, and the latter during its reveal attack on the beach by smacking several people during a fly-by.