Jurassic Park (1993)
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a horror film in the strictest sense. However, the meme asks for a monster movie, and Jurassic Park is on Wikipedia’s list of monster movies, and therefore it totally counts. Because as we all know, if it’s on Wikipedia it must be true. Also, you can’t deny that the film has moments of terror. Maybe it’s just because it came out when I was very young, and impressionable, but I have to say that there are parts that still scare me to this day. I can’t watch when the lawyer gets eaten by the T-Rex. People being eaten is one of my biggest squicks. And then there’s those fucking ‘raptors.
I think the main reason I’m so fond of the film is because I was obsessed with dinosaurs when I was little. Obsessed. I had shelves of model dinosaurs, and a fossil collection. My mum still complains about how I made her read the dame dinosaur book to me every night for a year when I was 5. I knew how to spell palaeontology before I could spell my own last name. You get the idea. So when Jurassic Park was released, I was infatuated, even though parts made me openly weep with fear.
Watching it today, it amazes me how well the special effects still stand up almost two decades later. I think that a lot of that had to do with the fact that the film doesn’t rely too heavily on CGI. All the close-ups of the dinosaurs were done using animatronics. They even built a giant T-Rex for the thunderstorm scene, and the latex covering the puppet got so weighed down with water that lackeys had to spend hours blow-drying it so that the dinosaur was operable. Now that’s dedication.
When I was little, I remember seriously disliking Alan Grant for his habit of traumatising children wherever he went, but now I have a lot more sympathy for the guy. The fact is that for the most part, children in horror or action movies are fucking annoying. Think about the most frustrating parts of Jurassic Park that had you screaming at the TV. Odds are they will have something to do with those bloody kids. How about when Timmy refused to jump of the electric fence when we all knew it was about to go live? Or, even worse, Lex waving a torch around when the T-Rex turned up?
However, I adore Ellie, who is a BAMF throughout, and will always have my affection for her relentless trolling of Alan by palming the kids off on him all the time. And then there’s Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, who is having far too much fun in the face of imminent disaster. And what about Muldoon, the Jurassic Park gamekeeper? As far as badasses go, he was a total disappointment. You think he’ll be the one to save the day, with his rugged Australian charm, and his dinosaur expertise, but then he goes down like the weakest gazelle in the herd. And of course there’s poor old John Hammond. I feel for him. He’s such a kindly, Father Christmas-like figure; all he wants is to do something amazing with his riches and bring a little wonder back into the world. He wants to share his creation with everyone, and he has such good intentions that he’s completely blinded to the fact that you just shouldn’t fuck around with nature.
But we all know who the real hero of the piece is, don’t we.
Sure the T-Rex was scary, but I can’t help but feel that she was also the good guy in the whole big scheme of things. I mean, no one really liked that lawyer anyway. The guy was a bag of dicks. And sure it was scary when she attacked the car with the kids in, but as I’ve already stated, they totally had that coming for being morons. Also, I feel like the T-Rex is my kind of dinosaur. Sure, she wants to eat all the time, but not if it requires any real effort. Car’s driving away just a little too fast? Meh. Forget it. I feel you, T-Rex. And let’s not forget that it’s the good old Tyrannosaurus who ultimately saves the day by munching on the velociraptors while the humans escape.
Ah yes, the velociraptors. Thank you for that childhood trauma. If the T-Rex is the hero, the raptors are definitely the villains. I think there was nothing that freaked me out more in the whole film that when the raptor opened the door. And that creepy barking they did to communicate. And the fact that they worked in packs and sneaked up behind their prey, and their shifty eyes, and the fact that they would kill you slowly… Yikes. It took me years to stop being paranoid of random raptor attacks.
I think the scariest thing about the film is how close to reality it actually is. Okay, so no dinosaur theme parks are opening up any time soon, but genetic experiments are all too real, and have been causing controversy for years. How far should we go in the name of science? What monstrosities are we capable of creating with all the best intentions? How far should we take our attempts to hold dominion over nature before nature starts to fight back?