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Film / Tammy and the T-Rex

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Tammy and the T-Rex goes like this; so an evil scientist implants the brain of Michael, a murdered high school student, in an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. He escapes, wreaks vengeance on his high school tormentors and is reunited with his sweetheart Tammy. Together, the couple try to elude the mad scientist and the police and find a more appropriate vessel for Michael's brain.

This 1994 sci-fi/comedy film is notable for its early appearances of Denise Richards and the late Paul Walker as the main characters. Terry Kiser, better known as Bernie, appears as Dr. Wachenstein.

Tammy and the T-Rex provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Tammy's father does absolutely nothing to stop Billy busting into his house to attack Michael, despite Tammy having a restraining order against him.
    • Michael's uncle is a drunk and so is easy for Dr. Wachenstein and Helga to bypass when they kidnap Michael.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The plot should have failed entirely the moment Dr. Wachenstein took Michael's brain out of his body.
    • Michael's body shouldn't be that decomposed (that is, halfway through skeletonization) after 24 hours at most. Skeletonization takes about three weeks in temperate climates.
  • Asshole Victim: Billy is the one who started everyone's problems by kidnapping Michael, beating him, and leaving him to be mauled by lions. He gets one of the more brutal deaths by getting his head ripped off.
  • A-Team Firing: Zigzagged; when the cops open fire on T-Rex Michael, the barn doorframe clearly takes the brunt of the shots as shown with the squibs going off, but enough shots strike true and down the T-Rex.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: T-Rex Michael stands in the background behind the trees at his funeral service. Apparently nobody sees him.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Dr. Wachenstein's three underlings: Helga is the Ms. Fanservice assistant/Wachenstein's lover (Beauty), Bobby is the engineer of the T-Rex animatronic (Brains) and Karl is a strongman hired as muscle (Brawn).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Michael looks surprisingly intact after being mauled by lions.
  • Big "NO!": Tammy and Byron do this when the cops open fire on T-Rex Michael.
  • Bound and Gagged: After Michael's body is found too decomposed to use, Tammy and Byron tie up Dr. Wachenstein and Helga, intending to force them to transplant Michael's brain into a new body. Unfortunately they escape since neither Tammy nor Byron thought to guard them.
  • Brain in a Jar: Michael after being removed from the animatronic T-Rex. And that's how he is at the end of the film.
  • Car Chase: Happens relatively late in the film when Tammy, Byron, and T-Rex Michael are chased by Norville and Neville after a failed attempt to find a body at the morgue.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Billy, Tammy's ex-boyfriend who beats up Michael for hanging out with her, barges into her house when he suspects Michael is sneaking into there, and leaves him at the zoo to be mauled by lions.
  • Cyborg: What Michael becomes when his brain is put inside a robot dinosaur.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tammy and Byron leave Dr. Wachenstein and Helga unguarded at the morgue when they go to find Michael a new body, which allows the Mad Scientist and his assistant to escape and find the cops, forcing Tammy and Byron to go on the run again with T-Rex Michael.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film takes place over about four days:
    • It opens during the afternoon of one day, Michael is beaten and mauled at night.
    • Michael's body stolen from the hospital during the day and his brain implanted into T-Rex animatronic, T-Rex Michael escapes during the night and rampages through the party.
    • Michael shows up at Tammy's house in the early morning, kidnaps her, and reveals himself. Michael's (badly decomposed) body is dug up in the late morning after his burial. Tammy and Byron go to the morgue to find a new body. The police chase Tammy, Michael, and Byron, with the former two taking refuge in a barn.
    • Next morning: The police follow Byron to Tammy and Michael's hiding place. Confrontation with Dr. Wachenstein, the T-Rex is destroyed. It's still daylight when Tammy returns home with Michael's brain.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Apparently none of the mourners at Michael's funeral notice the T-Rex standing amongst the bushes.
  • Faint in Shock: When Tammy sees the T-Rex outside her window, she screams and faints.
  • Genre-Busting: It starts out as a Romantic Comedy, then slides into Sci-Fi Horror (of the Unwilling Roboticisation type) and a side helping of Black Comedy (Tammy and Byron going to the morgue and showing T-Rex Michael various corpses to see if he likes them), without dropping any of the love story.
    • Also an inversion of traditional teen love story tropes, as the outcast (Billy) is clearly a violent antagonist with a gang instead of a brooding loner, while the football star (Michael) is of the Lovable Jock variety.
  • Groin Attack: During their fight at the beginning of the film, Michael and Billy grab each other's balls. One of the deputies refers to the fight as a "testicular standoff".
  • Gutted Like a Fish: The fate of Weasel, the first person killed at the party when T-Rex!Michael cuts him open with his foot. And later Dr. Wachenstein.
  • Hypocrite: Despite claiming that Tammy is his, Billy has no problem sleeping with other girls.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Wachenstein.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: There's no explanation as to why Dr. Wachenstein even has an animatronic T-Rex in the first place and there's no good reason given for putting a human brain in it when it can clearly think and move on its own.
    • Really, the entire movie.
  • Man in the Machine: Michael's brain is removed from his body and hooked up to a T-Rex robot.
  • Mind Screw: Good luck making any sense of this thing.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: Despite her main expertise being an assistant and possible lover for Dr. Wachenstein, Helga can throw a good punch or two, as she does a One-Hit KO on Michael when he wakes up while being moved.
  • Mood Whiplash: All over the place.
    • After gruesomely murdering a henchman and scaring off an old lady, T-Rex!Michael goes to a pay phone and tries to call Tammy about his situation, comically checking the coin return for change with his little dino-arm.
    • During his rampage at the party Tammy was at, T-Rex!Michael picks up Byron and comically dusts him off before putting him down and continuing his rampage.
    • Right after Tammy mourns the destruction of Michael's T-Rex body, there's a scene which involves Tammy giving Michael's brain an alcoholic drink and a striptease.
  • No Kill like Overkill: The T-Rex robot is destroyed when the cops empty their guns into it.
  • Off with His Head!: Michael bites off Bobby and Billy's heads.
  • Pet the Dog: After killing Billy and his gang, Michael (in the T-Rex body) comes across Bryon and puts his claws on his shoulders as a sort of comforting gesture. The encounter ends up helping Tammy to convince Bryon that Michael's brain is in the dinosaur.
  • Punk in the Trunk: After getting beaten with bats by Billy's gang, Michael is put into their car and dropped off in a wild animal enclosure to be mauled by the lions.
  • Punny Name: Doctor Wachenstein sounds a lot like "Doctor Wankstain".
  • Recycled Premise: The part of the plot where they have to find a new human body for Michael is very reminiscent of Heaven Can Wait (1978). Unlike that movie, however, a new body isn't yet found by movie's end.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why exactly does Dr. Wachenstein have a T-Rex animatronic?
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Michael kills two henchmen and the bullies that put him in a coma after becoming a cyborg.
  • Rule of Cool: One of the possible reasons on why Wachenstein thought it was a good idea to put a teenage boy's brain into a fucking robot dinosaur.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Wachenstein's assistant Helga proves to be much smarter than her boss by running away from a pissed-off T-Rex!Michael at the end, escaping unharmed (her skirt didn't quite make it, though).
  • Sex Signals Death: Billy goes off to have sex with a chick named Wendy in his car after failing to score with Tammy, only for the Michael controlled T-Rex to come over and attack Wendy by pulling her out from under Billy, then chase Billy and rip his head off in from of some partygoers.
  • Smart Ball: Tammy somehow comes up with the idea of putting Michael's brain in a cadaver without much foreshadowing.
  • Sole Survivor: Helga is the only surviving member of Dr. Wachenstein's crew as Bobby and Karl are killed in T-Rex Michael's escape, while Dr. Wachenstein is killed at the climax of the film.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Helga makes fun of Karl's Squashed Flat corpse.
  • Squashed Flat: Karl and some bullies get stepped on by T-Rex Michael, completely flattening them.
    Helga [after finding Karl flattened next morning] You looking a little flat, Karl?
  • Testes Test: Tammy and Byron go to look for a new body for Michael's brain after it was put into the body of a robot T-Rex and his original body is starting to decompose. They go to the morgue to look for a fresh body and comically take down sheets to waist level. Obscurus Lupa comments in her review, "Yes folks, our heroes are judging a dead man's penis."
    Tammy: No way.
    Byron: Oh, c'mon, he's perfect!
    Tammy: Not to me he isn't.
  • Those Two Guys: Norville and Neville, Sheriff Black's two main deputies. Sheriff Black even confuses one for the other when he says to Neville that he wants everyone at the party tested for drugs, confusing him for Norville. Neville has to set him straight.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Byron, Tammy's black effeminate friend.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Michael was killed to make Dr. Wachenstein's cyborg dinosaur.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Downplayed, but Dr. Wachenstein is apparently well-regarded enough that he can bribe his way into the hospital ward by just giving his name.
  • Voodoo Shark: It seems fairly clear that at one point in the production, the animatronic prop was supposed to be an actual T-Rex before they realized that it was clearly not up to the task and changed it to be so that Dr. Wachenstein owns an actual In-Universe animatronic prop. Fair enough, at least that explains why the dinosaur looks so goofy. It does not, however, explain why Dr. Wachenstein owns an animatronic T-rex in the first place.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Michael asks Byron this very question about Tammy and Billy's former relationship.