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Film / Tyranno's Claw

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Tyranno's Claw (also known as Claw of Tirano or Tirano's Claw or, for a really creative title, Dinosaurs vs. Cavemen) is a 1994 South Korean dinosaur film directed by Shim Hyung-rae (who plays one of the sidekicks) and set in prehistoric times.

In prehistoric-era Korea (approximately around the Jeulmun pottery period) exists a Dark Tribe of cavemen who worships their god, a fearsome, man-eating Tyrannosaurus rex, which they regularly sacrifice prisoners to as food for appeasement. When a young cave maiden managed to escape with a tribal warrior who went rogue, they manage to befriend a second, far more benevolent nomadic tribe, but the Dark tribe starts coming after the main characters.

Besides cavemen hacking people to bits, there's also dinosaurs of assorted varieties from the above-mentioned T. rex, to a nest of pterosaurs and a friendly mother Triceratops, all of them portrayed by animatronics that 1994 Korea can afford. Yeah, imagine Jurassic Park (in fact this movie was released a year after the first Jurassic Park film, and back then was accused as a cash-in) made with a fraction of the budget. And somehow, it's still entertaining, though in a cheesier way than intended.

It's worth noting that the entire movie runs on a Nameless Narrative (after all, it's presumably set in a time before names are invented) and doesn't have any actual dialogue, unless you count the cavemen grunting and yelling that is.

The movie can be seen in entirety on YouTube. No subtitles are provided, but then again you won't need any.

This film contain examples of:

  • Bad with the Bone: While being attacked by a pair of hostile monkey-men in a cave full of bones, the bumbling caveman managed to knock out one of his attackers by grabbing a nearby skull and use it as an improvised hammer.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The mother Triceratops, a Gentle Giant who is content with playing with the humans until the Dark Tribe minions kills the young cave-boy and tries threatening the baby Triceratops. Cue the mother Triceratops going on a rampage and graphically mauling more than one human enemy to death, with bloody results.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The bumbling caveman (played by the director, Shim Hyung-rae) who's introduced as the movie's Fat Comic Relief, stumbles everywhere he goes, and a massive Butt-Monkey subjected to most of the movie's slapstick moments, including getting captured alive by the Dark Tribe, is the one character who kills the Dark Tribe's shaman, putting an end to their threat. He then rallies the Dark Tribe's remnants to fight against the T. rex, before defeating the dinosaur himself.
  • Big Bad: The Dark Tribe's shaman and leader who orders his minions to abduct prisoners for sacrificial rituals. The main dinosaur, a T. rex, might also count, although it spends most of the film confined within it's cave.
  • Buried Alive: The unconscious female lead nearly suffers this fate late into the film, if not for the bumbling caveman — after learning how to use a bow and arrow — ambushing the Dark Tribe minions about to pile dirt on her.
  • Censored Child Death: The cave-boy, a child from the nomad tribe who's the only prominent human child character gets knocked unconscious by minions of the Dark Tribe. Last time audiences see him, he's being stuffed into a hut filled with straw which is then set alight, with the scene cutting away without showing his fate onscreen.
  • Covers Always Lie: Despite what the poster above implies, at no point do you see any Brontosauruses in this film.
  • David Versus Goliath: The bumbling caveman fights the T. rex, alone. And wins.
  • Death of a Child: Besides the cave-boy mentioned above, the main characters gets menaced by a pterosaur who tries feeding them to her young. They managed to kill the pterasaur, and afterwards the bumbling caveman beats the baby pterosaurs to their deaths.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Audiences are led to believe the Dark Tribe warrior who defected from his clan is the main character, but as the film goes on an increasing amount of focus is given to the nomad tribe's sidekick, the bumbling caveman. In fact, the supposed "hero" of the film is absent in the final act — it's the bumbling sidekick who saves the day by killing the Big Bad.
  • Disney Villain Death: The T. rex is defeated when the bumbling caveman hurls a burning torch down it's throat, and as it thrashes around the dinosaur falls off a cliff. Subverted in the final scene when the "dead" T. rex opens its eyes.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The benevolent nomad tribe usually feasts on insects, with their introduction scene showing them grabbing cockroaches off the floor and stuffing their mouths with them.
  • Eye Awaken: The T. rex is introduced as a gigantic opening eye, staring at the sacrifice the Dark Tribe is offering him (and by extension, the audience). In the film's final scene, another comes from the T. rex's "corpse", indicating that the monster is Not Quite Dead.
  • Famous Ancestor: The bumbling caveman is supposedly an ancestor to Yeung-Koo, an accident-prone comic character from 1990s Korean cinema (Yes, really...) It helps that they're played by the same actor.
  • Frazetta Man: A tribe of hostile, human-eating ape-men appear as minor antagonists.
  • Gorn: No details were spared for depicting onscreen gore, given the setting. You get cavemen getting mauled by dinosaurs, graphic stabbings and impalements, and even bloodied dinosaur corpses from being killed by humans (by inserting copious amounts of red sauce in their animatronics).
  • Hollywood Prehistory: Played straight, in case you couldn't tell. It's a film about dinosaurs co-existing with stereotypically-portrayed cavepeople.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Dark Tribe indulges in these activities, feeding captives and prisoners to the T. rex living in a cave within their territory where they see as their "god".
  • Living Dinosaurs: There are dinosaurs still alive and around despite the presence of human characters, even though in real life dinosaurs would be long extinct when the first humans comes into existence.
  • Hated by All: The Dark Tribe shaman, despite his authority among his subjects, turns out to be despised by all his underlings. After the bumbling caveman kills the shaman, his tribe promptly cheers, and some of them even take turns kicking his body for good measure!
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: The only benevolent animals who doesn't attack everything on sight in this film are the Pachycephalosaurus (which attacks cavemen in self-defense, its sole onscreen kill being an Accidental Murder) and the Triceratops with her baby, who eats grass out the hand of the female lead.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: The bumbling and skinny caveman found some leftover meat and starts gorging themselves silly, only for the skinny caveman to find out where the meat is from... a nearby, severed human arm. Turns out they're in the territory of some hostile monkey-men. Cue both cavemen quickly digging their throats to throw up... because while the cavemen can feast on bugs, cannibalism is a no-no.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: While it's not said aloud (given the film's absence of dialogue), after kiling the Dark Tribe shaman, the bumbling caveman then shows the rest of the Dark Tribe, who've been living in fear of the T. rex most of their lives and worshipping it as an angry god, there's no need to fear it because the T. rex is afraid of fire, by hurling a flaming torch onto said dinosaur. The Dark Tribe then retaliates and fights back using torches of their own.
  • Nubile Savage: The female lead, and most extras portraying younger female cave-people, are really attractive to look at.
  • Peekaboo Corpse: When the escaped warrior and the maiden hides in a cave, they're spooked by a decomposing human corpse tucked in a corner. And realize there are several other bodies nearby. Turns out they're in the lair of a giant prehistoric rodent.
  • People in Rubber Suits: How the giant prehistoric rodent and members of the monkey-men tribe are depicted. Averted by the dinosaurs, which are animatronics.
  • Quicksand Sucks: The skinny caveman accidentally lands into a quicksand pit while being menaced by the pterosaur. His partner, the bumbling caveman, tries searching for him by sticking both hands onto the quicksand pit, fumbling around, and managed to grab hold of something... only to pull out a human skull. However his second attempt at locating his friend is more successful.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: A giant, man-sized prehistoric rodent menaces the main characters at one point after they stumble into it's lair.
  • Shout-Out: A rather blatant one to Jurassic Park released just a year earlier. Like Grant luring the T. rex to come towards him using a flare, the bumbling caveman uses a burning torch with similar results. Although instead of luring the T. rex into a corner, this one has the T. rex being lured near a cliff.
  • Shown Their Work: The pterosaur has rather noticeable pycnofibres, which is surprising since it otherwise follows standard Terror-dactyl stereotypes to the letter.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: The Dark Tribe shaman wears a helmet made from cattle skull, seemingly as a sign of authority. He removes it before his Duel to the Death with the bumbling caveman.
  • Temper-Ceratops: Subverted with the mother Triceratops, who mauls several Dark Tribe mooks to death because they killed an innocent young boy and tried threatening her baby. Even then she doesn't really put up much of a fight, a few spears thrust into her side from the Dark Tribe is enough to kill her.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Worshipping a T. rex as their "god" drives the Dark Tribe to abduct prisoners for its sacrificial rituals. Late into the film the same T. rex goes on a destructive rampage and tries to devour all the main characters.
  • Terror-dactyl: A pterosaur appears as one of the film's major threats, including kidnapping the female lead from the skies and later trying to feed the main characters to her nest of baby pterosaurs.
  • Those Two Guys: The bumbling caveman and his skinny sidekick, forming a Fat and Skinny dynamic during the film's runtime.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The bumbling caveman, who goes from a silly Fat Comic Relief to learning how to use a bow and arrow, fighting the hostile Dark Tribe, killing the Dark Tribe shaman and taking down the T. rex.
  • Use Your Head: A Pachycephalosaurus shows up in this film, and as per classical depictions of said dinosaur, it headbutts everything it sees. It even kills a caveman by headbutting too hard.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Dark Tribe's shaman is ready to sacrifice the film's female lead to the T. rex. And in another scene, a nameless, unrelated female captive caught escaping is sentenced to Unwilling Suspension by the wrists, and the shaman gleefully beats and flogs the tied-up, helpless woman himself until she passes out presumably to death.