Saurians (1994)

Directed by Mark Polonia
Polonia Bros. Entertainment VHS

Who needs a Harryhausen when you have a Polonia?

In 1987, Mark and John Polonia were twin brothers and twin nerds. But they were nerds in the best sense of the word. Ambitious and passionate about making movies in their backyard that no one cared about, the Polonias could be seen as role models for misunderstood teenagers. They weren’t self-conscious about their ill-fitting glasses, awkward facial hair, or tube socks. Instead, they channeled that energy to make heavy shit happen. Heavy shit like Splatter Farm.

Like Black Devil Doll From Hell and 555 before it, Splatter Farm was a shot-on-video cesspool of button-pushing mayhem. But unlike those movies, it was not made by adults. It was made the Polonias, who were seventeen. Splatter Farm had gay rape, vagina mutilation, and grandmother incest. If the brothers stopped making movies after this, their status as young gods of perversion would have been secured forever. But the Polonias would go on to create a kingdom of no-budget, D.I.Y. horror movies with titles like Hellspawn, Bad Magic, and Gorilla Warfare: Battle of the Apes. They did it to please no one but themselves. Their legacy could only be stopped by John’s sudden passing in 2009.

Now let’s talk about dinosaur fights.

Written, produced, directed, and edited by Mark Polonia, Saurians is nothing like Splatter Farm, or any other movie that has the Polonia name attached to it. It’s the only movie in the Polonia filmography that doesn’t feature both Polonias. It’s also the only movie in their filmography that feels like it was made by a stoned sixth grader who lost interest in building a volcano for the science fair because Land Of The Lost was on TV. Shot on washed-out Super 8 and featuring a cast of five, Saurians is a portrait of teenage innocence, Amiga computer graphics, and un-stop-motion dinosaur puppets. It’s incredible.

This movie is mostly just Mark Polonia, starring as a researcher who “graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in science,” walking through a forest with his girlfriend and their pal. While they talk about sunsets, waterfalls, and geysers, we see freeze frame video stills of sunsets, waterfalls, and geysers. Mark talks to his friend about relationships. Mark’s girlfriend complains about the weather. Then a dinosaur bites the head off of a construction worker. The dinosaur looks like several sofa cushions that were sewn together by a person with no arms. More dinosaurs appear. They look like either Microsoft Paint line-drawings or toys from Big Lots. Or Mark Polonia in a dinosaur suit that is only made of dinosaur feet. A mercenary kidnaps Mark and his girlfriend, but only after a long shower scene with Mark’s girlfriend that no one needed to see.

Then two dinosaurs fight.

Then two dinosaurs invade a picnic.

Then two dinosaurs dump body parts into a tiny swimming pool.

I don’t want this to end.

Saurians is not an exciting movie. It’s repetitive and the pacing stinks. But that doesn’t matter. The entertainment comes in the form of Mark Polonia’s audacity. The dubbing is dead-pan and lifeless, delivered in that Polonia drawl that sounds like Ben Stein after a forty-eight hour whiskey binge. Establishing shots of city streets hold for minutes on end. The soundtrack by “Horizontal Waves” sounds like a third-generation bootleg of music that you’d hear in the lobby of a Hampton Inn — and it NEVER stops. There are inserts of dinosaurs sitting down and sudden spurts of gore. The entire movie could be disassembled, then reassembled at random, and no one would know the difference. But through it all, Polonia’s dedication keeps us amazed by the nonsense that we’re seeing. Saurians is so hilariously unbelievable that we can’t help but feel impressed. And happy.