Direct-to-VHS movies were a huge backbone of the film industry in the 1980s and 1990s and also some of the cheapest, schlockiest, and most ridiculous movies around. So many now-iconic actors and actresses owe their careers to their appearances in some of these movies, which most of them now likely wish had never been captured on film.
1994’s Tammy and the T-Rex is an incredible mess of a film, one that’s so spectacularly weird you wouldn’t believe it exists unless you saw it with your own eyes. The film starred actors like Denise Richards (Tomorrow Never Dies), Terry Kiser (Weekend at Bernie’s), and Paul Walker of Fast and the Furious fame.
In simplest terms, the plot follows a mad, classically B-movie scientist (Terry Kiser) who is obsessed with dinosaurs, much like any 5-year-old boy. He’s so obsessed that he wants to put a human brain inside a (robotic) dinosaur, because what could go wrong? The answer is Tammy and the T-Rex.
High school sweethearts Michael Brock (Paul Walker) and the titular Tammy (Denise Richards) are a classic ’90s couple. He’s a gridiron player, she’s a cheerleader⏤the most American couple you can possibly imagine. Unfortunately, Tammy’s ex-boyfriend Billy is a bit of a douche and gets violent with Michael, multiple times.
This culminates in Michael getting beaten up by Billy and his gang and thrown to the lions. Not metaphorical lions⏤literal ones. Michael is mauled and goes into a coma before being brought into a hospital.
He is “mistakenly” declared dead by mad scientist and suitably evil-sounding Dr. Gunter Wachenstein and brought into the doctor’s lab. From there, his brain is sensibly transferred into a robotic, life-sized Tyrannosaurus rex. After becoming a dinosaur, Michael terrorises Billy and his motley crew and does a fair bit of murdering.
Tammy soon discovers that the T-Rex is her boyfriend and attempts to find a new body for him. Famously, all high school students are capable of just finding new bodies and also finding a way of transferring the brain.
Michael ends up in a shootout with police and is shot “dead” by the cops, but Tammy is able to save his brain. The film ends with Tammy giving an erotic dance to Michael’s brain, which is hooked up to a webcam, and it’s so good that Michael ejaculates electricity. I wish I was making this up. Words cannot describe how positively absurd this is.
It’s astonishing that this movie even happened, considering director Stewart Raffill had only a few years prior made one of the most notoriously bad movies of all time: Mac and Me, a film that’s described as “a thinly-veiled feature length commercial for McDonalds and Coca-Cola.” Baffling, too, is that on Rotten Tomatoes, Raffill’s three highest-rated movies all sit at 50%, including Tammy and the T-Rex.
The most baffling thing of all is that Paul Walker’s rise to fame in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious might have been the result of his starring in this weird, god-awful film. Tammy and the T-Rex was only his third acting credit, after all, and Denise Richards continued having a strong career afterwards as well in films like Starship Troopers, Wild Things, and in the 1999 Pierce Brosnan Bond film The World Is Not Enough. Wonders never cease.
Tammy and the T-Rex has assembled a bit of a cult following on the internet in the last decade thanks to it being featured on YouTube shows like Best of the Worst, Dead Meat, and Double Toasted.
Have you seen Tammy and the T-Rex before? Are you interested in seeing it now? Know about any other incredibly weird early acting credits for major Hollywood actors? Tell us below in the comments.