Carnosaur [1993]

Call it Jurassic Apocalypse. King of B movies Roger Corman beat Steven Spielberg's dinosaur monster mash to the theater by weeks with this nasty preemptive knock-off. Diane Ladd (yes, the mother of the star of Jurassic Park) plays a chilly genetics scientist who gives up a career in biological warfare to build a better chicken and emerges with a giant meat-eating lizard bred from ancient DNA and poultry embryos. Think of her as a misanthropic Earth mother, spreading her genetic virus across the country through supermarket chicken eggs, and hatching her scaly brood in unsuspecting women (the birth scenes echo the earlier Corman sleaze classic Humanoids from the Deep). Director Adam Simon, who adapts John Brosnan's novel, bounces between self-consciously serious scenes of scientists and government officials huddled in impossibly dark control rooms and hilariously phony foam-rubber monsters hunting the high desert for food on the hoof. The highlight is a veritable meat market of human flesh featuring protesting hippie environmentalists chained to construction equipment ("Greetings, green brother." Chomp!). Behind the buckets of blood and gore is a sinister, cynical "end of the world" thriller with sharp references to Dr. Strangelove and Night of the Living Dead. It's far more subversive and sinister than your average rampaging dinosaur movie, and, in its own perverse way, more fun than Spielberg's infinitely more polished classic. --Sean Axmaker

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