Q The Winged Serpent

( 1 )

Overview

Genre pioneer Larry Cohen, who broke new horror ground with the killer-baby hit It's Alive!, takes a stab at the giant-monster scenario with this enjoyable low-budget exercise. The title refers to the winged Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, represented here as a dragon-like flying lizard thanks to some quaint but amusing stop-motion animation from David Allen, who decides to take up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, taking frequent jaunts in the midday sun to nip the heads off various hapless New ...
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Overview

Genre pioneer Larry Cohen, who broke new horror ground with the killer-baby hit It's Alive!, takes a stab at the giant-monster scenario with this enjoyable low-budget exercise. The title refers to the winged Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, represented here as a dragon-like flying lizard thanks to some quaint but amusing stop-motion animation from David Allen, who decides to take up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, taking frequent jaunts in the midday sun to nip the heads off various hapless New Yorkers. The resulting bloody mess confounds detectives Shepard David Carradine and Powell Richard Roundtree, who are already scratching their heads over a series of bizarre ritual murders linked to a secret Aztec cult. Into the picture comes the film's protagonist -- neurotic, sweaty, paranoid crook Jimmy Quinn Michael Moriarty, in a tour-de-force performance, a two-bit wheel-man with aspirations of becoming a jazz pianist. After a botched diamond heist leads Quinn to Q's lair, his attempts to go straight take a side-turn as he decides to extort from the city an enormous sum in exchange for directions to the monster's nest. A few sneaky deals later, the location falls into Shepard's hands, and he leads a paramilitary assault on the Chrysler Building, where the creature's humongous egg is about to hatch. Rude, edgy, fast-paced, and peppered with witty dialogue most of which can't be repeated here, Cohen's script retains the spirit of classic monster movies like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, injecting it with tough, gangster-movie moxie. Moriarty's unbelievable performance -- one of three collaborations with Cohen -- finds him chewing acres of scenery as a contemptible, loud-mouthed goon who's too funny to hate; Moriarty also composed and performed two schizophrenic piano numbers for the film.
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Special Features

Audio commentary with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen; Theatrical Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Larry Cohen's typically odd and witty entry in the world of the creature feature isn't the straight-faced monster mash one might imagine. Instead, it is actually an offbeat character study with a few horror movie trappings thrown in for a bit of B-movie spice. The story might be anchored by the police investigation that leads to the creature mentioned in the title, but its true heart is the strange tale of Jimmy Quinn. This unusual story structure works thanks to an extraordinary performance from Michael Moriarty, whose Method-actor fireworks transform Quinn into a character that is pathetic and poignant all at once. Whether he is bargaining with the mayor's representatives for a "Nixon-type pardon" or refusing to bow to demands, he steals every scene he's in. David Carradine and Richard Roundtree also contribute some inspired work as the two detectives on the case, managing to avoid the usual clich├ęs of such characters by tackling them in a low-key, witty style. On the downside, writer/director Larry Cohen's fast and quick style results in some noticeable rough edges to his work. The fascinating subplot about the modern-day Aztec cult that revives the monster gets lost in the headlong rush to wrap up the story and the hastily assembled effects used to bring the serpent god to life are a hit-and-miss affair. Despite these problems, Q: The Winged Serpent remains an entertaining affair because its take on the genre is genuinely inspired and it is truly difficult for the viewer to guess what intriguingly strange thing will happen next. As a result, Q: The Winged Serpent is an ideal pick for horror fans who can appreciate a new variation on an old genre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/27/2013
  • UPC: 826663142297
  • Original Release: 1982
  • Rating:

  • Source: Shout Factory
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 18,911

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Moriarty Jimmy Quinn
Candy Clark Joan
David Carradine Detective Shepard
Richard Roundtree Sgt. Powell
Lee Louis Banyon
Malachy McCourt Police Commissioner
John Capodice Doyle
Bruce Carradine Victim
Shelly Desai Kahea
James Dixon Lt. Murray
Richard Duggan Construction Worker
Larkin Ford Curator
Jennifer Howard Newscaster
Ed Jones Watchman
Fred Morsell
Tony Page Webb
Larry Pine Professor
Fred J. Scollay Capt. Fletcher
Nancy Stafford Eyewitness
Ed Kovens Robbers
Bobbi Burns Sunbather
Ron Cey Detective Hoberman
Peter Hock Detective Clifford
Mary Louise Weller Mrs. Pauley
Technical Credits
Larry Cohen Director, Producer, Screenwriter
David Allen Special Effects
Randall William Cook Special Effects
Randy Cook Special Effects
Tim D'Arcy Costumes/Costume Designer
Dennis Eger Makeup
Peter Kuran Special Effects
Paul Kurta Producer
Armand Lebawitz Editor
Armond Leibowitz Editor
Fred Murphy Cinematographer
Steve Neill Special Effects
Robert O. Ragland Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

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