[Review] The Blood of the Dinosaurs: Joe Badon’s Latest Leap into Lunacy Hits the Surreal Jackpot Once Again

When reviewing a Joe Badon film, words such as “ersatz,” “systematically,” and “avuncular” will never work. Nor will attempting diatribes or didacticism. His films are like surreal gossamer coated with Dadaist treacle. His newest work is the short film The Blood of the Dinosaurs, a prologue to his upcoming feature film The Wheel of Heaven, and it is as mind-blowing as his features The God Inside My Ear and Sister Tempest.

In the first two minutes alone, we are treated to a microbudget cataclysm — to be clear, I’m referring to what happens in the short, not the short itself. “Safe and sane” fireworks crackle and hiss as a meteor crashes into the Earth, bringing an end to the reign of dinosaurs, portrayed here by toys, puppets, and some throwback CG animation. Soon after that, we are treated to the broadcast of a children’s Christmas television show featuring the disturbed and disturbing host Uncle Bobbo (Vincent Stalba) and his young cast member Purity (Stella Creel). And there is more, much more, but who am I to spoil all the fun of this dream-logic dark comedy?

But what about horror? Fear not, The Blood of the Dinosaurs features plenty of it, from giallo references to psychotic breaks to body horror to the existential horror of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, and beyond. And humor? Well, humor is subjective, but I laughed out loud several times and I hope you will too, dear reader. Badon would welcome that, I’m sure. 

Badon cowrote both the screenplay and the score with Jason Kruppa, and each is as mad as the other — the screenplay and the score, that is. I’m guessing that Badon and Kruppa are highly imaginative but not actually mad, though the short may have you wondering about that at times. 

The set decoration, especially on the TV set — I mean the set for Uncle Bobbo’s TV program, to clear up any confusion, because there is a portable television set that has a decoration on top of it, too — by Derec Donovan and Miles Hendler is outstanding, and Joseph Estrade’s frenetic editing adds extra oomph to the short. Daniel Waghorne’s cinematography captures the proceedings superbly, often bringing us closer to the lunacy than what we might be comfortable with.

High strangeness, hallucinatory images, horrific predicaments, and hilarious consequences — The Blood of the Dinosaurs has all of this and more. Badon consistently shows creativity, imagination, flair, elan, and chutzpah on miniscule budgets. I can’t even fathom what his first larger-budget work will be like because I am a mere average human, but I can’t wait to see the result, because his previous works and this insane short are all face meltingly, mind bogglingly wonderful.

The Blood of the Dinosaurs is currently on the film festival circuit.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.