Above: In a movie full of goofy cartoon performances, Denise Richards does her best to convince you she’s a teenager deeply in love with a boy’s brain in an animatronic body.

Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)

🦖🦖🦖🦖 A mad scientist shoves Tammy’s boyfriend’s brain into a robot dinosaur. Can this relationship be saved?

Directed by

Starring

Content Warning

  • Gore
  • Language

Main Tropes

File under

  • Movies That Shouldn’t Be This Good

Director Stewart Raffill says this movie was inspired by a producer with a reasonable amount of cash and two weeks of access to a dinosaur animatronic. The resulting script, both written and shot in a dead rush, is better than it has any right to be. Butchered on its initial release by a producer who was thinking more “Disney” and less “Full Moon,” Vinegar Syndrome just released this restored director’s cut in both HD and 4K(!!) releases. This twenty-six-year old movie looks fantastic and gloriously low-budget.

Tammy’s seeing Michael, but she’s trying to keep him under wraps and out of the eyes of her abusive ex. When bully Billy buttonholes her beaux, though, he takes things a little too far and Michael ends up in the hospital. From there he’s kidnapped by a mad scientist and his assistant (who are less Frankenstein and Igor and much more Boris and Natasha). They pop out his brain and shove it into a robot dinosaur.

At this point the movie has two options. Michael could realize that he’s a monster, terrifying to his loved ones and a danger to everyone, then spend the rest of the movie moping about his horrible condition until Tammy comes to the rescue. Fortunately for us that’s not what happens. Michael realizes he’s become a monster and immediately exacts revenge on Billy and his goons. Although they are no great loss, Tammy and her Gay Best Friend Byron still have to intercede with law enforcement to save Michael from the wrath of the unsympathetic masses.

Written and shot in a hurry, the director and the producer were apparently never on the same page about what this movie was supposed to be. Fortunately, the recent Vinegar Syndrome release restores the violence cut in the process of trying to turn this into a family movie.

Occasionally accused of trying to capitalize on the Blockbuster Jurassic Park crowd, Tammy and the T-Rex has a distinct Heathers vibe instead. Of course, in this Heathers everyone is popular and gorgeous and there are no outcasts taking on an abusive system. There’s some great character acting here, the plot moves at a good clip, and while the evil-doers are clearly picturing themselves in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Richards and Walker do their level best to sell a ludicrous concept. If you know me personally I will force you to watch this.

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