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Tammy and the T-Rex (1993) - Blu-ray Review

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Tammy and the T-Rex

Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom!  

During the late 1980s and the early 1990s there was a boom in Dinosaur-themed entertainment.  Thanks to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, these massive beasts were stomping into sitcoms (ABC’s Dinosaurs) and cartoons as well as children’s educational programs.  They were all massive hits.  From The Land Before Time to Barney and Friends, there was no escaping the fact that many a boy and a girl wanted to hug a dinosaur.  

"Tammy and the T-Rex is every single bit of the ridiculousness that it sounds like it has to be"


Even as the images of the dinosaurs were changing, they still factored into our entertainment, so it makes sense that, about the time Steven Speilberg’s adaptation of Crichton’s novel hits the big screen, B-movie writer and director Stewart Raffill (known for the cult classic The Ice Pirates and Mac & Me) would give audiences a horror-comedy that featured a teenager's brain trapped inside the body of a T-Rex.

Sound ridiculous?  Just wait. 

In one early scene of Tammy and T-Rex, the newly aware animatronic dinosaur - now equipped with the brain of a very young Paul Walker (from The Fast & The Furious) nestled inside his dome - scares off an old woman from a payphone (remember those?!) and then uses it to call Denise Richards (Wild Things, Starship Troopers, Tomorrow Never Dies), who plays Tammy, in an effort to get her to help him.  She doesn't know her dead boyfriend lives again!

The hilarious sequence, complete with the life-size dinosaur using puppet hands to reach and dial the payphone and then grunt and growl into the receiver, is so bad that it entertains, later maxing its cheese percentage as the dinosaur cries at his own funeral while hiding in some bushes just behind his funeral plot.

Tammy and the T-Rex is every single bit of the ridiculousness that it sounds like it has to be.  And, genuinely enough, Raffill delivers on every beat, every laugh, and creates a wacky movie that works at every turn.  This is a champion of B-movies and, with this 4K release, Vinegar Syndrome acknowledges that fact.

Even the beginning, filmed at Newberry Park High School, in which Richards is at cheerleading practice and her old boyfriend, Billy, a very purposely awful George Pilgrim, shows up with his greasy entourage to fight her new boyfriend, Michael (Walker), doesn’t take itself seriously.  Hell, the fight that begins winds up being a ball-clenching contest that has to be broken up by the local police.    

The genius in this B-movie marvel extends to its casting.  We have a cast that includes Weekend at Bernie’s Terry Kiser chewing scenery as the mad scientist who transplants the murdered Michael’s brain into the body of an animatronic T-Rex, his sex-crazed assistant Helga (Ellen Dubin), Theo Forsett as Tammy's gay friend, Byron Black (doing his best "Hollywood Montrose" impression), Children of the Corn’s John Franklin, George “Buck” Flower, and Napolean Dynamite’s Efren Ramirez as a pizza delivery boy scared off by the dinosaur. Tammy and the T-Rex

It is B-movie material through and through as a dinosaur with a teenager’s brain is whisked to and from parts of southern California while running from the law.  Whether he is smashing through a drunken teenage party and spilling innards of those who aim to stop him from reuniting with his love, waiting in a truck while being shown different cadavers to house his brain in, or just hiding out in a barn and sleeping in some hay next to his gal pal, Michael’s love for Tammy will not be denied.  It’s a love story, you know, with a really big twist!  And it’s his tail!

Written and filmed in about three weeks (and it shows!!!), Tammy and the T-Rex was edited, hilariously enough, by the original studio releasing the film into the public to show as a family film.  That is the cut I saw decades ago.  Thankfully, Vinegar Syndrome has restored the "guts and grime" footage to the previously released cut and remastered it in 4K for this much celebrated R-Rated release on blu-ray. 

Complete with a law enforcement troupe that makes the badge-carrying force in Hazzard County look like national heroes, Tammy and the T-Rex is ready to roar again!  For some male audiences, it might not go far enough in its end of the film striptease from Richards, but in its collective absurdity, oh yeah, this cheesy feature is all about having a damn good and goofy time.

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk Tammy's dinosaur!

5/5 stars

Tammy and the T-Rex

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- January 28, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The teeth! The roar! The wet dreams!  Vinegar Syndrome delivers on their newly restored and scanned transfer of Tammy and the T-Rex.  The colors are bold and the black levels never waiver.  The gore, too, is fantastically ridiculous and loaded with cheesy reasons to keep your eyes glued to the screen.  This title definitely does not disappoint.

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative, Tammy and the T-Rex looks as fleshy as it is going to ever get.  Lots of love went into the restoration and it shows.  The region free Blu-ray/DVD combo looks incredible.  There is also an Ultra 4K edition for the more ravenous fans to feast over.  Black levels are consistent and so, too, are the colors which pop with crisp details in orange orchards and other parts of rural LA County.  The new 1080p transfer is crisp with defined edges. Colors are vivid and fine details are noticeable. Skin tones are warm. Occasionally, the red tones overcompensate in some areas, but a sharp-looking release nonetheless. 

Audio

The faithful English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo track is an incredible accompaniment to the feature as it features hilariously awful dinosaur-themed hard rock songs aimed at the grungiest of the flannel-wearing grungers out there.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a newly recorded commentary with director Stewart Raffill and producer Diane Kirman.

Special Features:

Fans of this title get the R-rated cut and the heavily edited PG-13 version that is sourced from the best available print.  It is the R-rated version that is the focus here, thanks to its 4K treatment and its gloriously ridiculous heaping of blood and guts.  There is a lot of meaty supplemental materials, detailed below, to sink your teeth into as an added bonus.

  • “Blood, Brains and a Teenage T-Rex” - an interview with director Stewart Raffill
  • “A Blast from the Past” - an interview with actress Denise Richards
  • “Having the Guts” - an interview with actor Sean Whalen
  • “A Testicular Stand-Off” - an interview with actor George Pilgrim
  • Full length PG-13 cut of Tammy and the T-Rex (sourced from video)

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

Tammy and the T-Rex

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
82 mins
Director
: Stewart Raffill
Writer:
Stewart Raffill, Gary Brockette
Cast:
Denise Richards, Theo Forsett, Paul Walker
Genre
: Comedy | Sci-fi
Tagline:
He's The Coolest Pet In Town!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Is that really you in there? Oh Michael, what have they done to you!"
Distributor:
Imperial Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 21, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 28, 2020.
Synopsis: Tammy is a popular high school cheerleader whose new boyfriend, Michael, might be the love of her life. But Tammy’s jealous ex, Billy, won’t stand for anyone coming between him and ‘his’ girl, so he and his friends kidnap Michael, leaving him to be mauled by a lion in a local wildlife reserve. Comatose and at death’s door, Michael’s body is stolen from the hospital by mad scientist Dr. Wachenstein, who extracts his brain and implants it into a giant robotic T-Rex. Horrified by his predicament and new dinosaur body, he escapes from the doctor’s lab and begins brutally killing his former bullies. Meanwhile Tammy and her best friend Byron start searching for a suitable human corpse in which to re-transplant Michael's brain....

Tammy and the T-Rex

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