In 1994, a little romantic comedy about a mad scientist (Terry Kiser) taking a teenager’s brain (Paul Walker) and implanting it into an animatronic T-Rex was released. When the now teenage T-Rex realizes what he is, he not only tries to find the scientist that did this to him but searches for his girlfriend (Denise Richards). Yes, this is a real movie, called TAMMY AND THE T-REX, and it was directed by Stewart Raffill, the man who brought you the cult classic McDonalds’ loving, Coke drinking alien Mac & Me. His credits also include: Mannequin: On The Move, Passenger 57, and The Ice Pirates. This was supposed to be the directors’ next big-screen project. Originally rated R, producers, unfortunately, got in the way and took it from him. This resulted in them recuting the movie to make it a direct to video PG-13 family-friendly movie. No one has ever seen the R rated gore cut …Until now! 

25 years later, April 25th, 2019 inside the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, I was one of the lucky audience members who got a glimpse of a 35mm print of the original R rated cut. We were the ones that would be checking out the print to see if was good enough for a brand new 4K restoration. After the screening, we were floored by how insane this movie was and we all agreed: “This needs to be seen!”. Months later, the brand new 4K DCP restoration had its west coast premiere at Beyond Fest but this time in the big theater at the Egyptian Theatre. 

So now, having seen it twice this year, I can attest that it’s a wacky film with over the top performances from the whole cast. Trust me, that’s not a bad thing at all. Watching a very young Paul Walker and Denise Richards having a blast shooting their first feature film together is very sweet. Evil mad scientist Dr. Wachenstein, played by Terry Kiser, of Weekend at Bernie’s fame, chews the scenery every moment he’s on-screen. So much that his accent goes in and out throughout the entire movie. Now, I’m sure you are wondering what is R rated about this new cut? Plenty! First, it’s the obvious gore added back in and even though it’s bloody, it’s pretty cartoony. I mean, in one scene the T-Rex steps on someone and he’s completely flat like a damn pancake. Also, there are a few F-bombs here and there but nothing to cry over. Let me talk about the effects for a quick second, As you’d expect it’s goofy. There is a moment where the T-Rex’s arms get magically longer to reach a payphone and as he does so, he brushes Denise Richards hair and flips off the mad scientist.. I don’t want to give too much away but the ending of this film is electrifying! 

All in all, It’s an insane hour & a half film that’ll always play great with an audience. It played like gangbusters at my screening during Beyond Fest. I’m glad this movie is getting a second chance and will also get a brand spanking new Blu Ray release from the good folks at Vinegar Syndrome (I already pre-ordered my copy). Just remember to turn off your brain and enjoy the hell out of TAMMY AND THE T-REX!

Denise Richards in TAMMY AND THE T-REX | Image courtesy of IMDB.
John Duarte
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