What happens when you try to make an R-rated movie about a girl who falls in love with a mechanical dinosaur but have to cut the gore for a more family friendly PG-13 rating? Chances are, you end up with a film that will never find its audience. And on initial release, that’s exactly the fate Tammy and the T-Rex suffered. Nearly no one saw it and the flick was quickly discarded as vapid and forgettable.
Fortunately, Tammy and the T-Rex has been restored to its original, uncensored, gory glory for it’s Blu-ray debut. Decapitations, disembowelments, and arterial spray abound in the never-before-seen ‘gore cut’ as the uncensored version of the film is being dubbed. The folks at Vinegar Syndrome have graciously saved the picture from obscurity and given it a fully restored and totally uncensored Blu-ray transfer. Moreover, AMC’s Shudder has made the uncut version available for subscribers to stream (as of this publication). So, with a variety of ways to watch, there’s really no reason for fans of the ridiculous and bizarre not to seek this one out.
Director and cowriter Stewart Raffill (helmer of such cinematic greats as Mannequin Two: On the Move and Mac and Me) clearly had no disillusions about the kind of movie he was making when he conceived Tammy and the T-Rex. In fact, he leaned into it with aplomb. The more bizarre, the better. A T-Rex using a payphone? Of course. A dinosaur crashing a party and revenge-eating teenagers? Definitely. Raffill embraces the ridiculous and the film is better for it.
Don’t trouble yourself trying to make too much sense of this bizarre mixture of sci-fi, teen comedy, and splatter flick. The premise is more than a little ridiculous: The film follows a young woman (Denise Richards) whose boyfriend’s (Paul Walker) brain is removed from his skull and transferred into the body of an animatronic dinosaur. But the preposterous nature is half the fun. Stewart Raffill set out to make a movie for connoisseurs of bad movies and that’s precisely what this is. Sometimes, one simply has the inexplicable urge to see a bystander being disemboweled by a mechanical T-Rex with a human brain.
Some of what makes Tammy and the T-Rex so enjoyable (aside from the animatronic dinosaur) is the constant scenery chewing. It’s hard to tell if Denise Richards is being sincere or intentionally over-the-top. But it doesn’t really matter. Whether her performance is the result of a total inability to act or an intentional sendup to B-grade cinema, it works perfectly with the subject matter.
The late Paul Walker’s showing as Tammy’s boyfriend isn’t much better. But, if you’re watching a movie about an animatronic dinosaur with a human brain, it’s safe to assume you aren’t looking for Oscar-caliber performances.
Shortcomings aside, one thing is for sure: Tammy and the T-Rex knows its audience. And it panders to that audience with panache. It provides viewers with a fun, gory, ridiculous good time. And on that level, it succeeds masterfully.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Director(s): Stewart Raffill
Writer(s): Stewart Raffill and Gary Brockette
Stars: Denise Richards, Paul Walker, and Theo Forsett
Year: Blu-ray Release: January 28, 2020
Studio/ Production Co: Vinegar Syndrome
Length: 88-Minutes (R-rated Cut)
Sub-Genre: Monster Movies