Prehistoric Beast is a ten-minute long experimental animated film created by Phil Tippett and released in 1984. It is notable for being the first film by the Tippett Studio. Set in Mesozoic times, it tells the story of a Monoclonius as it is hunted by a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Made with the go motion animation technique, scenes from Prehistoric Beast were included in the 1985 full length documentary Dinosaur! (1985), first aired on CBS in the United States on November 5, 1985. The film was originally released only for animation festivals, but can now be watched full online in Tippett's official YouTube channel. Available here.
It contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anachronism Stew: Tyrannosaurus and Monoclonius did not live at the same time in the Cretaceous period. One wonders why they couldn't have just used the iconic Triceratops instead as the lead ceratopsian.
- Animals Not to Scale: The Monoclonius in the film is around the size of the larger Triceratops.
- The Bad Guy Wins: After chasing and stalking the Monoclonius for a while, the T. rex is ultimately able to corner, kill and eat it successfully. However, the T. rex isn't truly evil; it just wants to feed and survive, like any other predators want to.
- Canada, Eh?: The story is set in Alberta, Canada, 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous.
- Daylight Horror: The whole story takes place in broad daylight.
- Downer Ending: The Monoclonius ends up killed and eaten by the T. rex.
- Eat the Camera: Twice, with the Tyrannosaurus. That second and last one cuts to black, as it's the killing blow.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
- Gory Discretion Shot: When the T. rex delivers the fatal blow to the Monoclonius, the scene cuts to black and then to the Monoclonius calling for their missing (and now-deceased) member.
- Light Is Not Good: See Daylight Horror above.
- Scenery Porn: The Cretaceous landscape is truly gorgeous.
- Seldom-Seen Species: In place of the popular Triceratops, the lead ceratopsian role here is taken by a Monoclonius, a smaller and earlier relative of Trike itself.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Played straight with the Tyrannosaurus. The dead dinosaur seen at the beginning being eaten by the Tyrannosaurus appears to be an Edmontosaurus.
- Stock Footage: As mentioned above, stock footage of this film was shown in the documentary Dinosaur!, on which Tippett worked too. Other documentaries that stock footage of this film appears in include the dinosaur-related episodes of Really Wild Animals and Eyewitness. Given the subject matter, it has no doubt been featured in more documentaries.
- Stop Motion: The whole film is animated this way.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: The main predator of the film, naturally.