Calculate your chances...negative...negative...negative!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Review: Q: The Winged Serpent

Larry Cohen makes films that are awesome examples of why I love so called B movies. His films all have a unique vision, are slightly off center and unafraid to be different. The low-budget, almost guerilla way in which they are made seem to work in their favor and give them a look and feel that major studio releases can't replicate if they try, and believe me they have.

Don't get me wrong. Q also has many of the short comings typical of B movies. Even if one cast aside the absurdity of a giant half reptile and half bird Aztec god coming to life in modern (circa 1982) New York, you're going to find it hard to believe that only one guy, a spazmotic petty thief named Quinn (played by Michael Moriarty,) stumbles across the thing. The special effects are cheesy, the story gets a little convoluted and a little slow.

But there's no denying this is a very entertaining film. The cast (which, in addition to Moriarty includes David Carradine and Richard Roundtree) is great and plays with appropriate amounts of tongue in cheek. Really, it's the characters that drive this film and while the story has the usual Cohen mixture of horror, supernatural and religion, Quetzlcoatl almost becomes second to just watching the characters interact.

Of course, I also love watching the way Cohen stitches together scenes. There's a lot of subtle little touches that are clever and add to the humor of the film. It's also great to watch the way he nearly turns New York into a character in the film. Considering it was the architecture of the city (and specifically the Chrysler Building) that inspired the film's story, it's only appropriate you see so much of the city in the film.

The only thing that's kind of a bummer about Q is knowing they just don't make films like this anymore. Movies like these that don't try to bowl you over with effects or star power, and aren't afraid to laugh without going over into self-conscious parody or gross out humor just don't seem to come along too often anymore.


Anonymous said...

Did they not have the budget to use the full name Quetzlcoatl? :)

Rob G. said...


Well, yeah, they called her Quetzlcoatl in the film, though it's a running joke that no one can pronounce it. According to the commentary, that's why it was knocked down to just Q for the title. Or, in true B movie fashion, you may have seen this one as just The Winged Serpent. Or Q, The Winged Serpent.

Did I mention I love B movies? :D