Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

Posted: 07/11/2016 in Trash movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As I had already stated in my previous review (It’s Alive), we broke our promise given to ourselves that we wouldn’t watch any other movie directed by Larry Cohen. Well, this movie made us to spit on our promise. And to lick it afterwards. Really, it is not surprise, When you consider that we are suckers for trailers for 1980s trash movies, low budget giant monsters and David Carradine.

oh-i-just-cleaned-itOh I just cleaned this

The first minutes of the movie reveal to us that director was not intending to hide anything. We see a window cleaner hanging out from the Empire State Building, doing his work and stalking some woman inside. Suddenly, a huge bird shows up from nowhere and rips his head off, leaving the rest of the body spraying blood on freshly cleaned window. At the bottom detectives Shepard (played by David Carradine) and Powell (played by Richard Roundtree) is trying to resolve a mystery of missing head. He doesn’t seem very much interested in it so movie takes us to a hotel room where police finds out a body of skinned man laying in bed. They conclude it was some sort of ritual in question. Or perhaps prices of hotel room are skinning people alive. Anyway, we get to see
dramatization of skinning after which scene jumps to a big slice of pork in restaurant. Or is it a pork? Obvious mobsters are holding a meeting in there. A nervous looking wheel-man Jimmy (played by Michael Moriarty) is trying to strike a deal with mobsters for their next robbery. Meanwhile the bird has been putting the snatch on various people from New York’s rooftops. One of them is hot young chick who were getting her tan completely naked in the moment when the bird snatched her. Blood starts dripping from the sky on unsuspecting passengers and mass panic breaks out.


The robbery went wrong and now Jimmy is running around trying to escape the mobsters who want to knock him off. He climbs into the decrepit tower atop the Chrysler Building, stands shivering in the wind, and chuckles proudly to himself, “Hah. I’m almost afraid of almost everything but I’m not afraid of heights.” Then he stumbles on the nest and the cadavers strewn around it, a nightmarish sight. When he hobbles back to his trashy apartment his girlfriend mentions something about making bacon and eggs. “No eggs,” moans Jimmy, “I don’t ever want to see another egg ever.” Meanwhile, the bird snatches another victim. This time it was a construction worker who was trying to find his stolen lunch. Well, his days of eating are over. The only thing left of poor man is his leg which fell down on the street causing a mass panic to break out again.

someone-pass-me-a-baconSomeone please pass me a bacon

Shepard is investigating the skinning job in local museum. The curator (played by Larkin Ford) explains to him that it is sacrificing ritual of ancient Aztecs to their God which is some kind of flying serpent named Quetzalcoatl. So Shepard takes some books, puts two and two together, figures out what’s up and shows his boss a sketch of the beast. The boss says something like, “A fifty-foot wingspan! Wow. With wings like that you could fly in from New Jersey. Everybody knows New York’s a good place to eat.” (All of this is played perfectly straight) Meanwhile, at the other side of city, the mobsters finally trap Moriarty and he promises to lead them to the money they’re after. He takes them to the Chrysler Building and sends them up into the dome where they are gobbled down by Quetzalcoatl. “HAH!”, Moriarty shrieks as he scurries away — “EAT ‘EM! EAT ‘EM!”. But couple of mobsters weren’t enough to satiate beast’s hunger. It feels munches for it’s favorite food – a naked idiots who are swimming on rooftops. So it went to the nearest building and grabbed couple of them for a road.

is-it-a-birdIs it a bird? A snake?

Jimmy marches into the police station and says he knows where the bird has it’s digs. All he is asking in return is immunity from prosecuting, exclusive rights on all photographs of the bird and, of course, one million dollars. That’s a spicy meatball!  detective suggests they go into his office because there are too many reporters around. “Bring ’em in,” says Moriarty. “Bring in the cameras and the newspapers! Bring RUPERT down here!” I must say again that Moriarty does a beautiful job of creating this character. He acts stupid, with his gaping mouth, but he has a seedy kind of intelligence too, the sort of intelligence a frightened but greedy child might have. After bit of negotiating and attempted police brutality city agrees to Jimmy’s terms so he leads the cops to the secret nest where Shepard shoots the egg full of holes. And everything is filmed by movies camera. There follows an argument over whether Jimmy should get his reward. He claims he’s showed them the location, which is what he promised to do, but the police argue that just getting the egg isn’t the same as getting the bird. Seriously, where is the bird?


The bird is soaring magnificently over the city picking up on it’s next meal. Meanwhile, Cops are following the real culprit – Curator. He is ready to sacrifice himself for Q (since the blood for sacrificing must be given willingly). Powell interrupts ritual and chases cultists to the top of the building (where, for some reason, is located Statue of Liberty). That was a big mistake since the moment Powell stepped onto rooftop he got grabbed by Q and dropped down to street in hilariously animated scene. Needing another sacrificial lamb. Shepard saw entire encounter and gathered the squad who managed to shoot down the bird but not without casualties, in a scene which resembles the final scene from King Kong. Also, you should check up onto this masterpiece of animation and stop-motion in the video below.


Needing another sacrificial lamb summoner of the Q (who’s name I don’t know; he just appeared from nowhere at the end of the movie) breaks into Jimmy’s apartment trying to convince him to give willingly his body, soul and blood for the glory of Quetzalcoatl. Shepard busts in and kills the villain in a manner of the worst movie death we all know from one Turkish movie Karate Girl. It took 5 shots to kill the villain and he died 3 times. It seemed that the all loose ends were wrapped but final scene reveals to us that one egg…SURVIVED! Now we know where producers of Godzilla got their idea from.


Conclusion: The movie refuses to take itself seriously. I think sometimes the script tries to get solemn but it can’t help chuckling at itself. After all it’s about this big bird or reptile, an Aztec God, who has built a nest and laid an egg in the dome of New York’s Chrysler Building. One of the producers was being interviewed and the reporter remarked that the movie was nothing but schlock with a perfect method performance by Moriarty right in the middle of it. The producer beamed and said proudly “The schlock was my idea.” The less said about effects the better. Apart of Michael Moriarty no other character was even close to convincing. If you’re carrying around inside your head a schema of Michael Moriarty as Ben Stone, assistant DA on “Law and Order,” the grim, determined, rigidly moral prosecutor, this movie will shake you up. I won’t go on with badmouthing. After all, it gave us fair amount of fun and laughter. So, my humble opinion is that you should watch this movie if you want some cheap pass time.

  1. e-razmus says:

    Its beautiful


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