Film (1983; vt The Winged Serpent; vt Q: The Winged Serpent). Larco. Produced and directed by Larry Cohen. Written by Cohen. Cast includes David Carradine, Candy Clark and Michael Moriarty. 92 minutes. Colour.
In this witty Monster Movie – which subverts our expectations about how both society and B-movies work in almost the same breath – "Q" represents on the one hand Quetzalcoatl, a giant winged serpent (thus sf) and Aztec god (thus not sf) that terrorizes New York, possibly called up by the City's violence, and on the other hand Quinn (Moriarty), a small-time jewel thief and opportunist who discovers the monster's lair atop the Chrysler Building (where there is, naturally enough, an Aztec pyramid). The likeable human monster Quinn metaphorically coalesces with the literal monster. But Quinn plays Judas to the incarnated god, thus laying himself open to retribution from a ritual mutilator, one of Q's disciples. He is saved by cool policeman Shepard (Carradine), to whom Monsters are just one more story in the Naked City. Moriarty is superb and, in its confident mounting, its sophistication, and its higher-than-average (for Cohen) production values, Q may be its director's best film.
The destruction of the Winged Serpent in a hail of bullets is followed by a final scene in which its egg is seen hatching, tantalizingly suggesting a never-made sequel. A previous and risibly poor Cinema utilization of Quetzalcoatl was The Flying Serpent (1946; vt Killer with Wings) directed by Sam Newfield. [PN/DRL]
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