Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Ganjasaurus Rex


Notes: RhinoVideo / Prehistoric Productions and Reel People Media. 100 minutes.
Frank: Paul Bassis
Cloud: Dave Fresh
Honey: Rosie Jones
Moss: Howard Phun
E. Edwin Cromwell: Rich Abernathy
Sheriff Drew Firth: John Ivar
Professor Sprog: Andy Barnett
Arlene Arden: Alex
Fenwick: Stephen Brown
Cassandra Sprog: Diana Hahn

Produced: Rob Seares, Paul Bassis
Directed: Ursi Reynolds
Story: Rob Seares.

Summary: On the “Lost Coast of California,” brothers Frank andCloud discuss plans to grow marijuana. Cloud has gotten onlyone seed from the “genetic genius” Honey, but promisesa tree-sized plant. He also gets “heavy vibrations”from a rock on which he meditates and near which he plants theseed.

Honey and husband Moss fret about governmentconfiscation of homes in the “war on drugs.” She hasproduced coconut-sized “cannabis sequoia” seeds, thinkingthat the plants will be so big, no one will see them really. Moss hopes not to have to go back to work at the drive-in, forhe is tired of Japanese monster movies. They camoflage themselvesto go planting.

Beneath the American flag, C.A.M.P. (CampaignAgainst Marijuana Planting) organizes its mission. Sheriff DrewFirth cedes authority to E. Edwin Cromwell III, a Washington D.C.weasel who speaks to his “fellow Republicans” aboutthe “war on drugs” and “freedom fighters.” Drugs are “keeping people off the production line wherethey belong.” Those who object are “intellectual mutantsleft over from the ’60s.” We see footage of police raidsaccompanied by the song “Living in a Police State.” But a large clay lizard snatches a bundle of weed during a helicopterlift.

Professor Sprog has only one student, his assistantFenwick, but lectures on Tyrannosaurus Herbivorous GanjasaurusRex, G-Rex, who fed on plants. He refers to an egg left overand hatched off the coast of Japan some years ago, and describesthe spurning of Godzilla. Cromwell listens in and proposes dinnerfor the three of them and the Professor’s daughter/secretary Cassandra. The others order soy burgers and carrot juice; Cromwell wantsa Ramboburger and Folgers with Sweet-n-Low. He promises moneybut need the Professor’s expertise regarding the G-Rex which hasbeen sighted.

The C.A.M.P. hotline–1-800-MONSTER–receivescalls from locals but pilots are chickening out, so Cromwell ispissy: “Don’t they know this is Nancy’s pet project?” He threatens the Sheriff that he’ll call the Reverend Jerry topit religious fundamentalists against the locals. Or he’ll usethe “ultimate weapon to keep the peace,” a nuclear bomb.

Frank, Cloud, Honey, and Moss eat their lentildinner and watch tv. “What’re you watching? A Japanesemonster movie?” “No, it’s the news.” Cloud andFrank check their plant and realize it wasn’t a rock that Cloudwas in touch with, it was the dormant G-Rex, now on the loose.

Cromwell explains anti-grower strategies infootball terms. “We gotta win one for the Gipper.” He has recognized the tree-sized plants and burns Honey and Moss’strees. The two go to the burn site and sneak close to the flamesto become “intoxicated by the fumes.” Arlene, Cromwell’srepressed assistant, is also giddy. The G-Rex is attracted bythe smell and the town panics. The Professor rushes out withhis equipment to try to record the G-Rex and use the tapes asa lure. G-Rex arrives at the burn site, cries, and wanders off.

“Cromwell is talking about nuking Rex!” Cloud runs off to communicate with the creature. Frank grabsan ax and shows up next in the Sheriff’s office with a giganticmarijuana bud. “This bud’s for you,” to try to lureRex. The Professor is delighted by this extinct specimen andCromwell first want to arrest Frank but goes along with the plan.

We decide Cloud has been squished and jointhe military operation in which the bud lure doesn’t work. Cromwellwants to nuke the creature. They try the Professor’s “vocalizations”but this doesn’t lure the creature out to sea either. Cromwellwants to nuke it. Cassandra makes the Professor realize the G-Rexis female; he adjusts the “vocalizations” and savesthe day.

At a town (cast) party afterwards, Sprog danceswith his blow-up Godzilla, we learn that Honey saved some branchesfrom Frank’s tree, Cromwell gets drunk on Nyquil, and a Japaneseguy says he’s from Washington making sure no Godzilla copyrightinfringements are taking place. Cloud returns, credits roll,and the last screen shows, ironically, the standard FBI copyrightwarning.

Commentary: For somebody’s Super-8 summer project, this isn’t that bad. The summer ’85 raid footage is undramatic in content but effectivelygrisly technique. Moss is a hippie and all the good guys seemvegetarian–and ultimately these matters are not vindictivelynor dismissively mocked. The goofiness can grow irksome and the”dinosaur” is negligible, but the film is well-intentionedand, for dinosaur films, uncharacteristically anti-Reagan in politicsand sentiment.