They Grow ‘Em Big in Texas

Jurassic Park started it… you know, the whole commercial development of prehistoric throwbacks scenario. Thanks to a lower budget, lowered ambition and B-film legend Roger Corman as executive producer, Carnosaur (1993) got in first and for all that it could never be considered a challenge to Spielberg’s amusement park dinosaurs, it did have primeval beasties with attitude and an inclination toward the gory side of life.

Currently in post-production is a new dino pic, Raptor Ranch, this one set on a ranch in Texas:

They’re not just raising cattle in Texas.
They’re raising 70 million years of prehistoric terror.

Raptor Ranch pic

So far there’s been little given away regarding the plot, but the least we can say is that a bunch of folk, led by the attractive singer/actress Jana as a “west Texan native” who has spirit, toughness and a hi-tech bow, fight to survive an onslaught of prehistoric raptors on a cattle ranch. Where the dinosaurs came from, and whether they represent the accidental by-product of some entrepreneur’s greedy ambitions, is yet to be revealed.

Raptor Ranch pic 2

Chances are Raptor Ranch won’t offer much of a challenge to Jurassic Park‘s exulted position as leader in the dinosaurs-loose-in-the-modern-world genre, but the indications are looking good that its combination of animatronics by Larry Billings and CGI by Michael Napodano (see below) — driven by the creative impetus of Dan Bishop (experienced production designer, most impressively — to me — of assorted episodes of brilliant HBO series Carnivàle, and art director of Twister) — may provide a decent level of excitement and prehistoric thrills. I’m guessing that it’s leaning more toward Carnosaur than Jurassic Park in terms of general ambiance.

conceptual art for Raptor Ranch
Storyboard art by Howard Kelley

Raptor Ranch pic 3
One of the animatronic beasties

CGI imaging for Raptor Ranch
CGI work underway

The film’ publicity needs a little work — with crucial information missing from the official website and the film’s IMDb entry (for example, it’s unclear who the actual director is, Bishop being referred to as producer/creator and Clint Childers as “technical director and DP”, plus there is a lack of coordination between website info and IMDb listings). But on the website you’ll find more pictures of the Texan locations where the film was shot, the animatronic raptors, the cast and crew and the like, so mosey on over for a gander.

Raptor Ranch pic 4

According to DreadCentral, the film is destined for the SciFi Channel, so those of us outside the States will have to wait for the DVD release to really get to know these colourful chaps.

Finally, I have no idea if this tubby non-raptor below is in the movie, but he’s a rather impressive piece of work and I wouldn’t mind having him decorating my loungeroom:

Raptor Ranch pic 5

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10 Responses to They Grow ‘Em Big in Texas

  1. Avery says:

    Nice!! I’m extremely glad to see that they’re using a combination of animatronics and CG instead of just CGI for the effects. I’m also loving the bright colored dinos. I can’t recall ever seeing any like these eating people in movies before. I definitely look forward to more on this beauty!!

  2. Jake says:

    This does look badass.

  3. Looks like a very cool and very ambitious movie,for it should be very successful on both its DVd release and its Sci-Fi Channel airplay.

  4. Abby says:

    That ‘tubby’ dino is our life size t-rex that helped rip appart our locations with wonderful results! All of the dinos were created by Larry Billings ^_^ Very life like, and very real when all said and done.

    Oh and the director/writer is Danny Bishop.

    *production photos can be found on my gallery here:

  5. Backbrain says:

    Thanks for coming on, Abby, and providing that information. The animatronic dinos look terrific.

    Good luck with what looks to b an exciting project — and feel free to keep us informed!

  6. Abby says:

    I’m really just so happy that the film’s getting a buzz on the net. We’ve been pushing for this thing to get edited since early on in ’07. So keep spreading the word!

    I’ve seen the rough edit (before CGI and all that) and I was impressed! I think everyone that’s a fan of the classic and Campy gore comedy scene will have all their expectations met. Thanks so much for posting all these pictures and the info!

    If I hear anything from Danny or the DP, or the other actors, I’ll post it here first!

  7. Backbrain says:

    Thanks, Abby. I think all dinosaur-film fans (of which there are plenty) will be looking forward to this.

  8. brontorex says:

    Whatever happened to this film? I have an inexplicable urge to see it. It wasn’t scrapped was it?

  9. Ronnie says:

    I can tell you 15,000 + Jana Mashonee Facebook fans can’t wait for this to come out!

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