Q –THE WINGED SERPENT aka AMERICAN MONSTER (1982)
The Q stands for Quetzacoatl, a winged serpent from Aztec mythology.
Directed by Larry Cohen
with David Carradine
and Michael Moriarty
Well, for some reason this movie spooked around in my head for the last two days.
I saw this on Television first, but I also remember the posters of it in the cinema displays at a bus station in the district I grew up in. They had at least two movies displayed there, maybe more. I saw Bambi next to some Zombie movie(guess what I stared at the most) and stuff like that. I remember fondly the discussion we had about Dawn of the Dead, without having seen a single frame of the movie itself.
I am not sure how old I was watching it on Television, but it stayed with me to this day. It includes stuff easy to remember, like the Empire State Building and of course the creature itself. Looking at it now, the creature effects don`t come close to what we are used to now. Of course not. But it was good enough for a 12-year old, or how old I might have been seeing it on TV. These kind of effects have a charm of their own, I rather see that kind of FX over cheap CGI any day. Looking at the uncut version now, I´m sure the TV version was cut, as it does have some pretty decent gore. Heads get bitten off, gnawed off skeletons and severed limbs on display.
Detective Shepard gets on a case of a window cleaner, who lost his head on the job, and a fully skinned guy in a hotel room, maybe suggestion something as weird as human sacrifice. Meanwhile, the ex-con, ex-junkie(Michael Moriarty) Jimmy Qinn is working with some italian gangsters , aiding them in a raid on a jewelry store. His job is to transport the stolen goods to safety. But he loses the bag when he runs into a car. He panics and tries to meet with his laywer in the Empire State Building. Door is closed, and somehow he triggers a security alarm. He hides from the security guard all the way up, under the rooftop. There he discovers not only a few human skeletons, but also a huge egg. He gets back home, telling his girlfriend everything, about the robbery and the egg. His accomplices come looking for him, and he lures them to the nest under the rooftop, supposedly having the diamonds hidden up there. They eventually get eaten by the Serpent, Jimmy escapes.(Maybe a weak scene, he couldn`t have known about the big monster being there ).But coming home, police is waiting for him already. Meanwhile, a cult goes on killing people, this beeing tied to the serpent.( I really dunno why they keep killing people , when the serpent is already out there, happily feeding on humans).
Reports of a giant flying lizard over New York amuse the police department, until more and more people go missing from rooftops.Jimmy listens to the detectives talking about the serpent sightings and missing people. He sees a chance to profit off his knowledge about the nest and ends up making a deal with the police. Now the police goes after the nest, killing „little“ baby-bird. That of course angers the big one, and a full-on battle ensues….will they be able to kill the monster and end the cult`s killing spree?
David Carradine is not the focus in this film, it`s rather Moriarty, who steals the show in this one.I really liked watching him. Richard Roundtree as Powell is ok, but only one of many.
As a whole, I really enjoyed it, it`s not a masterpiece, but keeps you entertained throughout.