Written and directed by Joe Badon, co-written by Jason Kruppa, an Adult Swim style surrealist Kids’ Show for deranged adults and follows a lonely Children’s Show host, Uncle Bobbo, as he teaches children where oil comes from. Starring: Vincent Stalba, Stella Creel, Holly Bonney, Tiffany Christy, Kyle Clements, John Davis, Jeff Pearson, Kali Russell, Miles Hendler and Dan Wilder.
The fact that Joe Badon chooses to open The Blood of the Dinosaurs with a cheeky throw to the difficulty in describing what this film is, tells you exactly what you’re in for. It’s such a simple yet devilishly clever choice, a reminder to audiences to keep an open mind and expect and the unexpected, and it works. If you went into this looking for a straight-forward story, then you’d probably end up highly confused. It is unquestionably odd and throws a lot of different elements together, beginning with playing upon the concept of how old children’s television shows now come across inherently creepy. It’s a quirky mix of carnage, chaos and an abridged version of creation.
It holds an intentionally messy style which will work for you or it won’t, and it does so unapologetically because does it make complete sense? No, but does it need to? Also no. There are a few different types to its visual style, firstly there’s the 1950s television studio which is superbly put together. It’s enhanced by the cinematography from Daniel Waghorne, which embraces that classic colour palette and deepens the intentional discomfort to its atmosphere. There’s then the use of archive footage which is always helpful in pushing a dubious or ominous energy. Lastly, there’s the use of effects which feels the weaker of the three, leaning the heaviest into its surreal nature but also pulling away from the tangible threads holding the rest together.
Vincent Stalba takes the lead, alongside Stella Creel, and the two of them provide a perfect blend of unnatural, creepy and uncomfortable. They take that initial layer of condescension and wide-eyed, misplaced enthusiasm which comes from the style of children’s television, then Stalba adds an extra edge to it. As time goes on, he leans into the darkness and creates a more unhinged persona which is fun to watch and would actually make a great short on its own, to let him follow that path.
The Blood of the Dinosaurs is chaotic and creepy, blending horror, comedy and surrealism in one messy but fun package. It uses discomfort and confusion to its advantage, it doesn’t want to give itself time to settle in, unless it’s going to make you uncomfortable in the process. There’s a variety of different styles thrown at you but you can most keenly see Joe Badon’s skills in the 1950s television scenes. They’re very well put together to create an increasingly dark transition which is satisfying to watch and supported by a well-executed performance from Vincent Stalba.