Director(s) – Albert Band (Dracula’s Dog, Ghoulies II) and Charles Band (Parasite, Trancers)
Starring – Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider, Joker), Colleen Morris (Death Becomes Her, Cheers!), and Austin O’Brien (Last action Hero, My Girl 2)
Release Date – 1993
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “They’re not just fossils anymore”
When I was a kid I wasn’t a horror fan. Movies were movies and I would often rent kids movies from the local ma and pop video store, Dewey’s Video. I’m not going to lie to you and act like I was always a horror fan like most people in the horror community does. I wasn’t watching Hellraiser when I was 5 and I didn’t cut my teeth while the Guinea Pig series was playing. I grew up watching movies like Space Jam, Heavyweights, The Big Green, Last Action Hero, Adventures in Dinosaur City, and Moonbeam Entertainment’s Prehysteria trilogy. Those movies I previously mentioned are titles I would often rent until I was able to secure a copy for myself.
As I grew up and started having children of my own I started buying movies of my youth to someday show them. Prehysteria was not available in the US but I was able to get all three films on DVD from Germany. Not long after I made the purchase I received a review copy of the new U.S. release of the first film on blu. Talk about horrible timing. I want to thank Full Moon for giving this film a proper release here in the states!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Frank and his two children who are struggling financially on their farm after Frank’s wife passes away. Now they supplement their income by digging up fossils from their farm and selling them to the local museum. The owner is an unpleasant man who recently went to South America where he stole some peculiar eggs that the locals worshipped. However, a recent mishap finds the eggs in the custody of Frank and his two children. The eggs miraculously hatch revealing pint sized dinosaurs that the kids fall in love with. Now they are forced to protect them from the museum owner and his group of thugs who want to exploit the creatures. **Spoiler Alert**
I, like most children including my own son, loved dinosaurs growing up. Jurassic Park jump started this love along with Land Before Time, Adventures in Dinosaur City, both Land of the Lost television series, and this film here. I fucking loved these movies and their campiness really contributed to the type of films that I enjoy now. Prehysteria is one of those films I wanted to show my kids but I was worried it didn’t age well. I loved it as a child but a lot of those movies I grew up loving just didn’t age that well. I was wrong. I had just as much fun now as I did as a kid.
The acting in this one is cheesy as fuck but it fits the movie perfectly. I love the tone that Moonbeam took with their family friendly films and the cast does a fantastic job with their roles. The characters are all fun, though cliched, but they still make the film flow very smoothly.
The story for this one is fun, silly, and works for a film catered to children. It’s far from perfect but the simplicity, mixed with dinosaurs, works for a cheap straight to video release. The flaws are so minor you can look over them and the pacing is so steady you never bore of the film. It’s also worth noting that Band was able to accomplish a story so simple and effective that he was able to pull it off in house with a very small budget. It’s shows but it doesn’t take away from the finished product.
Finally, this one is a showcase of old school effects. No blood and gore for the horror fans reading this but we do get some camera trickery, The puppets looked fantastic and mixed with the old school camera tricks really works especially for an early 90s children flick. Overall, Phreysteria! is a movie that I highly suggest for people that grew up during the video store age or any fans of early 90s Full Moon. This Moonbeam label had the look and style of their Full Moon counterparts but with a family friendly environment. Lots of fun and the blu looks fucking fantastic. Way better than the German DVD I previously purchased. The special features are somewhat lacking but it was awesome to see the original Video Zone. Be sure to add this one to your collection!