A scene from PLANET OF DINOSAURS, directed by James K. Shea for Cineworld Pictures.

Planet of Dinosaurs (1977, James K. Shea)

Where does one even start with Planet of Dinosaurs? The only good thing about the film is some of the scenery… and maybe some of the music from Kelly Lammers and John O’Verlin. Most of the music is quite bad, but the film’s “theme” is this electronic piece and it adds both a sense of danger and the future. It fits the film exactly, which is sort of amazing.

As for the filming locations, not all of them are good, but there’s a lot in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park outside LA and it does look like an alien world. In those scenes, Henning Schellerup’s photography helps. In the rest of the film, it tends to hinder. There’s an incredible about of day for night shots in Dinosaurs and it’s a mix of jarring and daring. It never works, but it feels like Schellerup and director Shea are going to keep trying no matter what….

The film’s story is a mix of Planet of the Apes and Ten Little… um, you know, And Then There Were None. Trapped on an alien world (full of dinosaurs), the survivors of a spaceship crash get picked off one by one… who will survive? And who will they pair up with?!?

All of the acting is terrible. It’s not even worth determining who’s worst.

Ralph Lucas’s script has lots of bewildering expository dialogue.

The earnest (but bad) stop motion special effects don’t improve the film.

Dinosaurs’s amusing to laugh at, but nothing else.



Produced and directed by James K. Shea; screenplay by Ralph Lucas, based on a story by Jim Aupperle; director of photography, Henning Schellerup; edited by Stan Gilman and Maria Lease; music by Kelly Lammers and John O’Verlin; released by Cineworld Pictures.

Starring Mary Appleseth (Cindy), Harvey Shain (Harvey Baylor), Derna Wylde (Derna Lee), Max Thayer (Mike), Chuck Pennington (Chuck), Charlotte Speer (Charlotte), Louie Lawless (Capt. Lee Norsythe), Pamela Bottaro (Nyla) and James Whitworth (Jim).


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