Have you seen… ‘Dinosaurus!’ (1960)


Tiger Media Network

In the 1950s, the science fiction genre was in a golden age, and as such, movies featuring Dinosaurs running amok were very popular. You had stuff like “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” or “The Beast of Hollow Mountain.” I suppose that one could count Japanese imports like “Godzilla” and “Rodan” as a part of this movement. Today’s film was a part of this whole thing. The film in question is 1960’s “Dinosaurus!” You have to love a movie with an exclamation point as part of the title. Viewed today, it doesn’t have much merit, but it definitely has its moments.

Produced and directed by “Blob” alums Irvin Yeaworth and Jack H. Harris, “Dinosaurus!” stars a cast of nobody. I’m not joking. If you go on Wikipedia, only one actor who starred in this has a Wikipedia page (Paul Lukather). Steve McQueen (who had starred in “The Blob” in 1958) was supposed to be in the film, but he ultimately chose “The Great Escape” and “The Magnificent Seven” over this. There’s not much else to say about the production side (except for the effects, but we’ll get to those), so on to the movie itself.

The plot is as follows…

On a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea, an excavation company is working on a beach to uncover something that is never made clear. They soon discover that buried underneath the beach are the frozen remains of a Brontosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus, and a Caveman. Now, you might be wondering how those three beings ended up in the Caribbean as they never coexisted together, let alone the fact that these dinosaurs never lived in that area, but I’d say you’re thinking about it too hard. Anyway, that night, there is a lightning storm which resurrects the three. They begin to rampage across the island, and you get your money’s worth.

The plot itself isn’t really anything to write home about. It’s fun in a comic book sort of way, but it’s nothing really special. The characters that we follow are mostly bland and stock. The actors themselves do a decent enough job portraying them, but that’s about it. The only character and actor that is actually memorable is the Caveman. He pretty much plays the stereotypical caveman type, but he’s at least different from the rest of the cast and occasionally funny.

The special effects are the real highlight of the film. We have stop-motion Dinosaurs in the film, which is always a highlight. As I said in my review of “Planet of the Dinosaurs,” there are times when the effects are the best part of the movie, and that’s the case here. And while the stop motion is not up to the standards of Willis O’Brien (who worked on “King Kong”) or Ray Harryhausen (who is the GOAT of stop motion), they get the job done fine. Speaking of King Kong, Marcel Delgado (who created the original stop-motion puppets for “King Kong”) created these puppets.

Overall, “Dinosaurus!” certainly does have merits. It’s not great, but if you’re looking to kill 85 minutes and love some Dinosaur killing action, you’ll find enjoyment here. If I were to give it a rating, I’d give it a 6 out of 10.

If you are interested in a more detailed review and discussion of this movie, check out episode 3 of “It Came From The DVD Collection,” a new podcast featuring John Billinger and Connor Keating reviewing monster movies. Only on Tiger Media Network.