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Saturday, April 19, 2014

King Dinosaur (1955)

Kulats in space!  What else is a proper lady to wear on an unexplored planet?  So begins the campy journey that is King Dinosaur.  The movies begins with a fake newsreel that is delivered with deadpan seriousness.  During this newsreel the audience learns that a new planet has moved into orbit around the sun. [Just go with it!]  Conveniently this planet is right next to Earth so the good old USA designs a rocket ship to propel four scientists to explore this new world.

What do they find?  How about a planet that looks exactly like earth!  Surprised?  Throw in an alligator attack, a space romance, hysterically screaming female scientists, a giant ant and…..wait for it…an enormous killer iguana [I kid you not!] and you have a recipe for unintentional laughter.  Wow, this is a terrible move, but you have to love it’s exuberance.  I consider it to be one of those so-bad-it’s-good films.

Director Bert I. Gordon [Attack of the Puppet People, Empire of the Ants] produced, directed and wrote more than 25 Sci-Fi/Horror films over his career.  He was nicknamed “Mr. Big” because of all the giant creatures he loved to use in his films.  To his credit, Gordon knows how to put these kind of films together.  I doubt he meant them to be serious dramas and am fairly certain he was in on the joke every step of the way.  He also gets decent performances out of his actors.

So, how are the effects?  The giant ant is god-awful.  Look to the Sci-Fi classic Them! (1954) to show you how to do this well. The killer iguana is much better, especially in its epic battle with an alligator.  Gordon uses an actual iguana which he enlarges to epic proportions.  It’s one of his favorite tricks which he employs in most of his films.

In one of the King Dinosaur’s most ridiculous moments, one of the scientists says the killer iguana is strikingly similar to earth’s T-Rex of the dinosaur age.  What biology class did he attend?  So, just have fun with King Dinosaur.  It is what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

RATING: Bad. [So-bad-it’s-good]

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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