Tammy and the T-Rex – Blu-Ray Review

Tammy and the T-Rex is one of the dumbest movies ever made, but it’s also one of the few films that knows it’s dumb and yet retains a level of sincerity that helps it get through some of the issues it has. It’s one of the most ‘’90s” movies you’ll ever see. Oh, and it’s incredibly funny and entertaining.

Demise Richards, in one of her very first roles, plays Tammy, a high-school girl-next-door type who has a bad-boy ex-boyfriend but really likes Michael (Paul Walker). There’s also these evil scientists who need a brain for their animatronic T-Rex. They snatch Michael while he’s in the hospital, and transplant his brain into their creation. Then, of course, the robot beast creates havoc because it wants to be with its girlfriend…

Director Stewart Raffill, who also did the infamous E.T. rip-off Mac and Me, got involved with the project when he was approached by a man who owned cinemas in South America and also had an animatronic T-Rex. Do you want it for a movie? Apparently the pitch worked, because here we are. They had about a month to come up with a script and a plan, got some young actors who happened to become well-known later on, and threw in a bunch of stock high-school characters, including that short-lived ‘90s trope, “the sassy gay Black friend” (who here is like almost the third lead, played by Theo Forsett.) The result is a batshit movie with a plot that’s all over the place. The cast are all really game for it, taking it quite seriously at times—that’s what turns Tammy and the T-Rex from absolute crap into a cult classic.

When the film was released, the director and producer thought it would go to cinemas. However, to cash in on the lucrative kids’ home-video market at the time, a cut was made that knocked out all the gore and bad language instead. There were a few cult-movie festival screenings, plus rumours of a “blood and guts” version for years. In 2007, a 35mm print turned up under the original title, which was Tammy and the Teenage T-Rex. Then Vinegar Syndrome got its hands on it, and organised a limited theatrical release and then a Blu-Ray. Now it’s coming out here in the UK. It’s a crazy ‘90s horror-comedy that’s full of insanity, plus it has a truly bonkers ending. One of the film’s other most memorable moments is a testicular stand-off—this might be a first. Definitely a film that deserves to be here on Psychotronic Cinema!

The disc offers both cuts, although obviously the one to see is the blood-and-guts version. Extras include commentary from Raffill and producer Diane Kirman, interviews with Raffill,Denise Richards, George Pilgrim, and Sean Whalen, who at the time was described as “Stan Laurel meets Sid Vicious,”and whose main claim to fame was being in one of those “Got Milk?” adverts. Sadly Walker passed away quite tragically in 2013, which is shame because I’m sure he would have had some funny stories about making this film. There is also a booklet with essays on the film by Liam Hathaway and Barry Forshaw.

★★★

Ian Schultz

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