Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Horrors of October - Q - The Winged Serpent (#28)

Q - The Winged Serpent (1982)

The mythical Azteca god Quetzalcoatl is rampaging the rooftops and skyline of NYC, that is when people actually come into contact with it or able to spot the giant flying lizard. The superbeast may have to do with some human sacrifice-like murders that are being investigated by two cops (David Carradine, Richard Roundtree), but the only one who can truly save the city is a money-hungry wiseguy (Michael Moriarty). Cult film director Larry Cohen definitely knows how to make a cheeky low-budget monster movie and keep the action going. The movie instantly starts off with a window-washer getting a fly-by decapitation and goes full blown gonzo from there, producing a gruesome flailed corpse and even a precursor scene of RESERVOIR DOGS. The movie has an absolute breezy tone to it, often juxtapositioning the monster's terror with random New Yorkers shooting the shit or being mildly inconvenienced by the creature. The innate humor can even be easily seen by gleaming the title; knowing that many potential viewers would have a hard time pronouncing the bird's name at the ticket booth, and shown with Carradine's own struggle to say it and still be seen as a serious detective, Cohen simplified it to just a letter (the subtitle was added later to further help identification) and tied it with a clever tagline. Of course, there are times where the lightness of the plot doesn't generate much momentum or suspense, such as when the authorities locate the serial killer, and the special effects are very outdated and crudely made. But you can forgive those shortcomings, especially with the witty rapport among the actors. The only actor capable of being as deliciously showy as the stop-motion lizard is Moriarty, who does a great job layering his character with different dimensions, making you laugh at him one minute, annoy you the next, and then either break your heart or go absolutely cold. Give this enjoyably absurd film about an absurdly named diety a watch.


No comments:

Post a Comment