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Shaun vs. Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

q1Directed by Larry Cohen

Starring David Carradine, Michael Moriarty and Richard Roundtree

New York City is in the grips of not just a serial killer who murders in a ritualistic fashion and may be the cause of a gigantic flying creature that has also been seen gnawing on the natives.  Can Shaft, Kung Fu and…uh, Michael Moriarty stop the terror?


 


 

It’s name is Quetzacoatl, but you can call it Q, that’s all the time you’ll have to say before it tears you apart!

The film stars Michael Moriarty as Jimmy Quinn, an ex-con who takes a job as a wheel man for a jewellery store robbery in order to make some easy money for him and his girlfriend.  He loses the briefcase with the merchandise in an unfortunate accident and winds up on the run from the cops and his mob associates.  He decides to hide in the tallest building he can find and comes across a huge nest with a gigantic egg in it as well as several decomposed bodies around the nest.

q2

Don’t mind me, I’m just a plot device.

Meanwhile, the NYPD is on the look out, not just for some jewellery thieves, but a serial killer who is on the loose and killing people in a specific, ritualistic fashion.  On the case are Richard Roundtree and David Carradine whose investigation gets incredibly strange when a gigantic, flying creature appears and munches on the unlucky folks who live or work high above the city streets.  Carradine’s side of the investigation leads him to believe, unbelievable as it may be, that the creature could be the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, resurrected due to the sacrificial killings.  Unable to figure out where the creature is, Jimmy comes out of hiding looking to cash in big time with his vital information.

q3

Gobbledy Gooker: The Movie

In all honesty, I never thought in a million years I would like Q, but here we are.  It’s a better than average monster movie and I was surprised at the decent plot involved and thanks to the talents of Moriarty, Carradine and Candy Clarke, it’s a well acted film too.  Due to budget constraints, the monster doesn’t look terribly great in our days of fantastic CGI but the filmmakers chose the less is more approach with only brief glimpses of the creature and some really good creature point-of-view tricks like in Jaws.  It’s not until later we see Q in it’s full, slightly hilarious, glory.  The film is a bit more violent than your usual giant monster film, as the flying creature swoops in and bites people’s heads off at times or squeezing them between the sharp talons.  Also, don’t forget, there’s a serial killer on the loose and he has a nasty habit of skinning his victims when he’s done with them.

q4

I’m just gonna nibble on your legs, alright?

I know older monster movies are not everyone’s taste, but if you ever grew up watching old monster movies, seeing a less-than-realistic flying god creature will be the least of your worries when you push play.  Check it out!

TL;DR

Story: 7 – A ritualistic serial killer may have brought back an ancient Aztec god that now flies over New York City making dinner of the population.

Blood: 6 – Much bloodier than you would expect going in.

Nudity: 6 – There’s a nice, long scene of a topless woman sunbathing to enjoy until she gets turned into bird food.

Overall: 7 – It’s pretty good, surprisingly so, for a monster movie just because there’s more to the film than just the monster itself and I enjoyed it for what it was.

Trivia

-The film was conceived after director Larry Cohen was fired from a movie he was working on.  He came up with a shooting script in just six days, finished pre-production in one week and filmed for just three weeks.

-The jewellery store that is robbed in the early part of the film is called “Neil Diamonds.”

-David Carradine arrived on the first day of shooting without having read the script.  He may have ad-libbed the whole movie.

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