This may very well be the most insanely cool movie *never* made.
In the wake of Jurassic World‘s massive box office success back in 2015, my one big hope was that the film would lead to a Hollywood studio acquiring and giving the green light to a movie I’ve been waiting my whole life for: a feature film adaptation of the Topps trading card line, Dinosaurs Attack!.
It still hasn’t happened yet. But I’m not giving up hope.
Created by Gary Gerani and released in 1988, Dinosaurs Attack! was inspired by the Mars Attacks! line of the early ’60s – somewhat ironically, Tim Burton was planning on making a Dinosaurs Attack! movie back in the ’90s, but ultimately left it behind to make Mars Attacks! instead. But I digress.
Throughout 55 base cards and 11 stickers, the line told the story of dinosaurs transported through time to the present day, all thanks to a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong. Each card told part of the story, tracking the prehistoric beasts’ path of destruction across literally the entire world.
The most notable thing about the Dinosaurs Attack! cards, and what made them so awesome to me as a kid, was that they were INCREDIBLY violent, pulling absolutely no punches in the gore department. On one card, a grandma blasts the eyeball of a giant reptile clean off with a shotgun, while another depicts an open-mouthed T-Rex devouring the human passengers on a roller coaster.
Blood, guts, and pure insanity was the name of the game here.
The final cards saw the remaining dinosaurs ripped apart as the time travel effect is reversed after the lead scientist sacrifices himself to the six-eyed ‘Supreme Monstrosity’ – a massive, Devil-like dinosaur that fans often refer to as ‘Dinosaur Satan.’
From there, survivors of the brutal attacks begin to rebuild the world, left in a state of post-apocalyptic ruin.
Looking back on the cards, one thing is immediately clear: the Dinosaurs Attack! line was, and still is, just BEGGING to be turned into a movie. As Gerani himself once noted, “The scenario was designed for a movie, with strong main characters, juicy set pieces, a mystery structure, and an apocalyptic finale. The card images are like storyboards. [Scientist] Elias Thorne is a great role for an actor, and the dinosaurs can be outrageous and literally larger-than-life, given the anomalies of time-warping.”
“I recently reminded Topps that, with the astonishing success of Jurassic World, the time is right to set this project up,” Gerani noted on social media back in 2015. “I submitted a proposal and treatment for the big movie version, which they are now shopping around. Are you listening, Warner Bros?“
With giant monster movies on the rise – Kong: Skull Island smashed up the big screen this year, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Rampage, Pacific Rim Uprising and Godzilla: King of the Monsters all on the horizon – now would seem to be the perfect time for a Dinosaurs Attack! movie, which would also tap into the nostalgia that’s currently driving people into their local theaters perhaps more than ever before. It’d require a big budget and a big risk from a major studio, but a gory, “R” rated giant monster movie may be precisely the escapism we need right now.
For now, the exceedingly (and wonderfully) cruel Pterosaur attack scene from Jurassic World gives us the best idea of what a Dinosaurs Attack! film could be like. The scene, the most terrifying in the entire movie, pretty well captured the pure insanity of Gerani’s cards, even if it was nowhere near as visually graphic as that ’80s artwork was.
Now just imagine that scene… with blood, guts and 100x the mayhem!